Uncovering History: Was Susan B. Anthony Racist Or Frederick Douglass Sexist?

Uncovering History: Was Susan B. Anthony Racist Or Frederick Douglass Sexist?

Not quite — but this 19th century debate is still relevant today.
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Everyone knows about Susan B. Anthony’s lifelong work as a suffragist of the women’s rights movement and Frederick Douglass’ escape from slavery before becoming a leading abolitionist. But have you heard their lesser-known story of friendship, betrayal, and reconciliation? Trust me, this is not a soap opera, but some really great history that is still relevant today.

Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass met in Rochester through the abolitionist community. Pioneers of equal rights, they quickly became friends, united in the anti-slavery and pro-suffrage movements. Many of Anthony’s early speeches condemned slavery and any sort of racial prejudice; she even postponed her suffrage work mid-Civil War to focus on abolition, which was a more pressing issue. Douglass was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights, once remarking that “there was no foundation in reason or justice for woman’s exclusion.” He was also the only African American at the Seneca Falls Convention, the first woman's rights convention at the beginning of the suffrage movement — a convention which, ironically, Anthony did not attend.

So how did such a strong friendship revert to disagreements and accusations of racism or sexism? One major cause was to blame: the Fifteenth Amendment. When slavery was abolished in 1865, former slaves became another group of disenfranchised people who also did not have the vote. Thus the Fifteenth Amendment gave African Americans the right to vote--but only African American men. Douglass and other abolitionists dubbed this time period the “Negro’s hour,” claiming that any suffrage progress was better than none at all, and if black men got the vote first, so be it. Anthony was furious. She wanted universal suffrage for everyone, regardless of race or sex. If women, both black and white, were excluded, she did not want the amendment passed.

Their disagreements came to a head at an 1869 meeting of the American Equal Rights Association, where Anthony and Douglass got into a heated debate about the Fifteenth Amendment. They each argued how the lack of suffrage placed them in danger in different ways--African Americans because they were persecuted for their race and women because they were male property, and were controlled financially and politically. After the argument, still conflicted over the amendment yet determined to achieve women’s suffrage, Anthony and her supporters walked out of the meeting and formed a new organization called the National Woman Suffrage Association.

So Susan was racist for not wanting black men to get the right to vote, and Frederick was sexist for wanting women to sit back and wait their turn for suffrage? Well, not quite. There are two problems with this assumption. First, Anthony never stopped advocating for racial justice. Even after the 15th Amendment passed and only black men were given the right to vote, she delivered countless speeches about eradicating racist prejudices throughout the country (which of course did not disappear with the granting of suffrage). She condemned everything from lynchings in the South, to Northern women who claimed they were not prejudiced but really had racist viewpoints or savior complexes in daily life, to the plight of black women who faced the double-edged sword of race and sex. And Douglass did not stop advocating for women’s rights; he supported women’s suffrage until his death. Anthony and Douglass remained friends for years to come, and she even delivered the eulogy at his funeral.

At the crux of the matter, they both had the same principles and goals regarding equal rights. They cannot be faulted when the system was against them and government and society did not recognize either group as complete citizens. They were debating a question with no right answer — whose humanity should be recognized first?

The second problem with these accusations is that it is dangerous to impose a modern lens on history. We cannot use our current knowledge and foresight to impose labels or project agendas on historical figures. This kind of hindsight bias ignores the state of the nation when Anthony and Douglass were debating the Fifteenth Amendment, a time during which neither had equal rights and the words “racist” and “sexist” were not even used. The nineteenth century also lacked an understanding of intersectionality, the idea that oppressions intersect in different ways depending on race, gender, and class. Of course, just because the terminology did not exist does not make it right, but we cannot impose all of our hindsight bias on them.

Looking at the present day, there is no way around it — Anthony and Douglass’ debate is still relevant now. Instead of looking back, we should look forward and consider how their work still resonates today. While all citizens may have suffrage, that does not mean everyone is treated equally or that racial prejudice has been eradicated. Nothing could be farther from the truth. However, we now have tools at our disposal--an understanding of intersectionality, a wealth of sources and perspectives accessible online, and the ability to connect with others worldwide. Anthony and Douglass had an excuse. What is ours?

Cover Image Credit: Live Action Blog

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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The Critics Of Mac Miller's Relationship With Ariana Have It All Wrong

She isn't responsible for his death. You can't love away addiction.

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Ariana Grande and Mac Miller had a long and loving relationship of two years, but their breakup is not what's responsible for his death.

His Illness is what lead him to his, what some may say, tragic death.

Miller isn't the first celebrity to die of an overdose there was Kurt Cobain and even Michael Jackson. What happened to these icons of music, wasn't because they were lonely or they didn't have anyone. What happened to every single one of drug overdoses gone wrong was a result of the mental illness of addiction taking over their life. Placing any sort of blame on someone close to the ones who've passed isn't only morally wrong but its detrimental to their healing process.

The first thing I noticed is that as soon as something happened to Mac Miller everyone was insanely quick to hop in Ariana's mentions and DMs. Why is the first response to a celebrities death to blame their ex and/or current girlfriend for an immense tragedy?

Well, this viewpoint is not new to women, women are supposed to take care of their significant other and that's the societal expectation. For one, it never was Ariana's job to assist Mac Miller into sobriety. She is not his psychiatrist nor is she his Addiction Anonymous sponsor. She did not "Leave him at his lowest" as some phrased it.

She left a relationship that she explicitly said was toxic and unhealthy for the both of them. Was he probably well into his addictive habits? Probably.

But she has every right to leave a partner whenever she doesn't feel the happy and healthy love necessary for a successful relationship. This type of narrative is what convinces other women that they should stay in relationships to try to "save" their partner in hopes that their love will solve their deeprooted problems, that are their mental illness: addiction. This is very dangerous and can lead women into abusive and toxic relationships that can damage their own mental health.

To add to that, before Mac Miller's death he had a radio interview about Ariana Grande's engagement. In the interview with Apple Music, he was very positive and happy for her.

Miller says "We worked through good times, bad times, stress, and everything else and then it came to an end and we moved on". In that statement he sounded calm and collected, and unphased by her moving on with her life.

Confirming all of the positive energy from Mac Miller to Ariana, he takes it even further in the interview to say he's happy for her.

Miller says "It's all positive energy. I'm happy for her in moving forward with her life"

On another note, we're doing Mac Miller a HUGE injustice by degrading his illness to be the fault of only love and relationships. Mental Illness doesn't go away when you're in love. When you're in love you just have another person to try their hardest to support you.

Even in the best situation, no one can cure an addiction that ran as deep as Mac Miller's, no one could've fixed that unless you were a licensed psychiatrist and even then it's hard to cure. We as a society refuse to acknowledge that addiction is a disease that needs to be treated as such. Sure, no one forced Mac to go on several drug and alcohol-related benders. Even so, he did not control how much his body was craving these drugs and the way the toxins took over his body and life.

Here's an example to help you understand why he couldn't "just quit" doing drugs of any sort.

Say you're on birth control to manage your periods (a drug) and you've been taking it consistently for five years. Now if someone just says "I'm sorry, these pills are harming your body, you can't take them anymore" and flushes them down the toilet, what happens? Your period will not be managed anymore and it may even cause side effects depending on the drug. In a similar way, if Mac quit cold turkey, there would not only be massive withdrawal symptoms but it would also throw his body out of wack because his body had adjusted to ingesting those toxins for so long, even though they were still harming him.

Addiction can stem back to many psychological disorders, none of which could ever have the simple solution of just having a significant other.

It might make them happy, but it won't solve the psychological issue or the mental illness so to speak. In order to fix a problem like this, he would have to have been very dedicated to becoming healthier and seeking help with his mental illness. It's common for most people not to seek help or feel dedicated to this sort of thing because it has a stigma of not actually being an illness and assumes the issue lies in the hands of the user's decision to start.

So, stop talking about his relationship with Ariana Grande and how she could've prevented it. Stop blaming his death on others or him.

Do, check on your friends and encourage the ones suffering to get the type of help they need.

Most of all, blast his music in your car or at your frat party (you're probably going to one anyway). That's how a legacy lives on in every one of his fans, so make him proud.


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