In The Help, what are some ways the characters fought against racism, other than helping to write the book?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There were no instances of the maids staging elaborate protests against racism or delivering speeches as part of a March on Selma or Washington. However, it is clear that in the way the maids begin to look at their world and one another, a direct challenge to racism is issued.  Outside of the book being written, the maids begin to recognize that racism is something that must be confronted. Minnie and Aibileen no longer live a life of silence and "quiet desperation." Rather, they are able to forge solidarity with one another and speak out against the conditions of prejudice that they have been made to live with for so long.  This results in a transformation of how Aibileen, Minnie, and all women of color view the dominant society's use of racism.  Women of color are shown to challenge racism, as opposed to being intimidated by it. Aibileen confronts Hilly.  Minnie and Celia become friends.  These are ways in which the characters fight against racism.  They challenge the preconceptions of the people around them.  In the process of transforming relationships with white people, women like Minnie and Aibileen challenge racism.  Naturally, the writing of the book was a part of this.  However, it is clear that the novel suggests that racism can be challenged when it is confronted with changing paradigms that reevaluate the individual and their place in the world.

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