Jezebel And Mammy Summary

Powerful Essays
Sexual abuse of all black women by wealthy white men was just as prevalent during emancipation as it was during slavery. The sexual abuse the enslaved black women received by their wealthy white male masters, was justified by white men and women due to the Jezebel myth they had created. Deborah Gray White defines the Jezebel myth in her reading, “Jezebel and Mammy”, when she states, "[The Jezebel] did not lead men and children to God; piety was foreign to her. She saw no advantage in prudery, indeed domesticity paled in importance before matters of the flesh” (Gray White 29). The thought of the black woman as hypersexual, allowed white men and women of all classes to sexually and racially oppress the black women, declaring them "unladylike”, not maternal figures and not sexually pure like the white women. The white men and women also…show more content…
Wealthy white men took advantage of this myth by raping their black female slaves in the antebellum era, taking away their sexual freedom. The actual reason that some black women willingly had sex with white men however, was due to the fact that they believed that sex with their wealthy white owners was the only way they were going to gain advantages in slavery. Estelle Freedman discusses in her text, “Contesting Rape of Black Women”, that the idea that all black women were hypersexual was still being used in the postbellum era by wealthy white men to continually justify the rape of these women. The wealthy white men felt intimidated that black women had begun to gain some freedom and wanted to tighten their control over them by continuing the Jezebel myth. Freedmen talks about this in her chapter when she explains how wealthy white men, "treated all black women as acceptable sexual outlets for what a northern journalist referred to as ‘the licentious passions of Southern white men.’ Rather than define their assaults as rape, these men presumed that black women either welcomed them or had no moral purity to defend” (Freedman
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