The element of the videos that we watched for Thursday’s class that left the greatest impression on me was the fact that in order to consolidate power and gain for followers, leaders of the women’s suffrage movement published horribly racist sentiments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were desperate to gain support from wealthy southern women in order to forward the women’s suffrage movement. In order to gain support from this audience, though, they wrote truly heinous things against African Americans. While this tactic proved to be effective in bringing more women together in the fight for the vote, was this sacrifice really worth it? It’s hard to say, given that the Nineteenth Amendment was eventually passed by Congress and women were granted the right to vote in America. The question is that would women have won the right to vote had these feminist leaders not resorted to racist sentiment in order to gain followers?
Since Stanton and Anthony have been immortalized in American history due to their efforts in the name of women’s rights, their words will live on forever. The fact that such racist sentiments are attached to their names leaves a deep scar on their legacies, in my opinion. How are we supposed to support a cause for equality between the sexes when they don’t support equality between races? The compromises that people make for the sake of their causes can seriously alter the way in which history views their story.
These ideas are still very relevant today. Donald Trump is constantly called xenophobic, homophobic, and racist by countless people and media outlets. These accusations do have some foundations, as the language that he uses in speeches, rallies, and tweets indicates that. However, there is no way for us to truly know what Trump’s real thoughts and feeling are on minorities in this country. While there is no way for us to certainly know if he believes that white people are a superior race, we do know that these campaign tactics were very effective in the 2016 election. Trump tapped into some of the darkest sentiments that exist in this country, and was able to harness those sentiments into votes in his favor. Again, a political figure used questionable tactics to further their cause.