If you could I'd like a quote from the book to accompany the answer.
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The quote by Hilly in which she says that "they" carry different diseases is an exact example of a Jim Crow belief. The Jim Crow laws were basically centered around the belief that Negroes were deficient morally, intellectually, and physically. Interaction with them consisted of separating them in a restaurant setting, having different restrooms and fountains for Negroes, and making sure that they always acted respectfully in the presence of white men and standoffish in the presence of white women. They were never to interact with any white person in a familiar way.