Due to her life as a female black slave Dessa Rose is highly suspicious of the fairer race including both the white men and women. She is apprehensive of Adam Nehemiah as she sees him as a person who would reveal Dessa’s story through a historical yet traditionally ‘white’ perspective.
As a result she resists Nehemiah’s visit by getting into an oral contest with him. Ruth or Rufel is a white woman who wants to help Dessa Rose, however Dessa Rose is apprehensive as well as suspicious of Ruth as well. This is mainly because of the fact that Ruth is white and therefore belongs to a race that has been targeting Dessa Rose and her kin with slavery. Dessa Rose always sees Ruth with suspicion mostly due to the fact that Ruth assumes an automatic power that she can reside with over Dessa Rose despite the fact that both of them are females in similar situations and therefore possibly equal. This is basically what creates and maintains a rift between Dessa and Ruth. In one incident Dessa Rose even accuses Ruth of not knowing her Mammy’s name or her at all as she has never bothered to ask mammy about her identity.
Dessa Rose wants a voice for herself and her people particularly the black females who have been oppressed at the hands of their white enslavers. In order to get her story across and to get her rights she resorts to trickery, bribery and even cunning intelligence to help her out of tight fixes with the local government and the authorities in order to protect her son and his future