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African American Slavery and Racism

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1. How does Harriet Jacobs resist being sexually harassed and stalked by Dr. Flint?

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This solution discusses how an African American women, Harriet Jacobs, resists being sexually harassed and stalked by Dr. Flint.

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1. How does Harriet Jacobs resist being sexually harassed and stalked by Dr. Flint?

As Margaret Washington (2004) points out, one has to imagine what it was like for a young woman like this, living in an enslaved situation, no protector, and being pursued by the man who had absolute authority over her.

What is amazing is, Harriot Jones takes the position of asserting herself. And rather than give in to this master, she decides that she's going to make a choice that if she has to be in a situation where she's going to be either raped or take up with a man, then she's going to choose the man. So she chooses a young, handsome, white lawyer, and has a relationship with him, which angers her master. In the process of this relationship, she has two children with this man.

According to Washington (2004), one could probably condemn Harriet Jacobs for that, because many enslaved women were actually raped -- fought off white men; and yet here she is in a situation where she gives herself to one. Jacobs says later on, as she's trying to explain in her book to especially women in America, why she would do that: that there is something akin to power by taking your own life in your hands and making a decision of who it is that you want to be with. And Mr. Sands, the lawyer, was very nice to her. ...

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