White women lie


White women lie


Ida B Wells’ crusade against lynching succeeded for many reasons: her investigative rigor, her talent as a writer and speaker, her relentlessness. But her first, crucial insight was recognizing that white women were lying. Thread.

Until Ida published her exposés, most people - including African-Americans - believed that men who were lynched had done _something_ wrong. Allegations they had raped a white woman or child were assumed to contain a grain of truth, though the punishment was disproportionate.

When Ida B Wells’ close friend was lynched, she was struck by a lightning bolt - that moment we know what we’ve been told is a lie. She set out to prove the real circumstances of Thomas Moss’ murder and the murders of so many other lynching victims.

She documented that most of the accusations were invented out of whole cloth by white men. Others were cover-ups for consensual interracial relationships that white women were hiding, or both parties were terrified to reveal.

Catching #AmyCooper, the white woman in Central Park, lying in real time is both confirming and crushing. We see her untouched, unmenaced, breathlessly crying to 911, “I am being threatened!” I imagine Ida looking down, satisfied: “See, I told you white women lie.”

Crushing because even now, when white women are free to fuck whomever we want - when we can work and vote and run for office and marry whomever we choose - we are still so quick to exploit the power of racism when we don’t get our way.


Daily Suffragist







Daily Suffragist, “White women lie,” Daily Suffragist, accessed June 24, 2024, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/394.

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