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The American Election: White Women as Decoys

 American punditry and the public intellectual industry, which includes columnists, commentators, are monopolized by White males, whether they be of the Right, Left or Middle. This is unfortunate because no group, whether the brightest and the best, is omniscient and so those who are concerned about the political direction of the country are deprived of points-of-view that might view events differently.

The consensus among commentators of the Right and Left was that the Democrats lost because they’d neglected members of the White male working class, who have been “left behind.” Of course, the net worth of White families is many times that of Blacks and Hispanics, but according to a Pew Poll, while Trump supporters see the country heading in the wrong direction and blame the president, even though the president rescued the country from a near depression, Blacks and Hispanics are optimistic about the country’s future. Moreover, so as not to alienate those who buy their advertisers’ products and to earn profits for their stockholders, the networks, which provided the Trump entertainment with billions in free advertising, have cast the motives of his followers as pure. They’re upset by trade deficits, or the income gap, etc. Yet, Hillary Clinton was correct when she cast half of Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables.” In fact, she was being conservative. Most of Trump’s followers doubted the president’s American birth, and his Christian religion.

His spouse, the First lady, was the subject of cruel cartoons and comments, and a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch even showed the president as a murdered chimp. During the campaign, the president-elect threatened his opponent, Hillary Clinton, with assassination and invited a foreign power to hack her emails.

When Trump won the New York primary, he posed with Carl Paladino, a former candidate for Governor of New York. As a way of amusing his friends, Paladino sent out emails depicting the President as a pimp and his wife, as a prostitute. More troubling is the president-elect’s installing a group of Neo-Nazis a few doors from the Oval Office.

This idea that the Clinton campaign lost because of alienated White male workers collapses when you understand that he also won the votes of White women, working class as well as White college educated women, while Clinton won the overwhelming support of Black and Latino women, regardless of class.

During television debates, when Black and Latina women point this out, the White moderators, sometimes White women, nervously change the subject. Even radical feminist White women follow this pattern, although one blamed White women’s voting against the interests of women and for an admitted sexual harasser on the “inner misogyny” of White women. Former Weather Woman, Bernardine Dohrn, member of the radical Weather Underground, told Mitch Jeserich, host of the Pacifica radio station KPFA show, “Letters and Politics,” that it was because they chose race over gender and left it at that.

It’s been fifty years since the resurgence of the Women’s Liberation movement and women are still voting for men who would limit their choices? Not only is Donald Trump a misogynist, but he has feathered his cabinet with a nest of misogynists. They flaunt their misogyny and boast about it on TV. This group also flirts with anti-Semitism, which must alarm those Jewish commentators, who, over the decades, have tried to impress the establishment by denigrating Blacks.

One of those most addicted to misogyny was campaign advisor to Donald Trump, Roger Ailes,who had been fired from Fox news because of complaints of sexual harassment by women among the Fox personnel. He was welcomed to the Trump camp. Those who covered this appointment rarely mentioned that Ailes was one of the architects of the Willie Horton ad, which showed a Black rapist, Willie Horton, who, while on a furlough from prison, raped a White woman. The Republicans sent the victim on a tour where she described the rape in explicit details. According to Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, support for the first President Bush rose by 20% among White male southerners after the appearance of that ad.

The American media predicted that so upset with Trump’s misogyny were White suburban and college White women, that they would vote for Clinton. They were wrong. Given their support for Trump, one could say that Trump won the election when he called Mexican men rapists. Juan Horton. Since blondes are the image of White women that is considered the most valuable among advertisers, the Trump campaign used an ad about Francisco Sanchez, a Hispanic immigrant who murdered a blonde woman, Kathryn Steinle, to boost his support and scare White women into voting for him. Very few noticed that while White women are the safest group in the country, Native Americans are the least safe and those most likely to be murdered by the police.

Though her host prevented her from developing the point, a Black feminist noted that while President-elect Trump had made outrageous comments about Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and the disabled, it was only when a tape surfaced showing Trump making lewd remarks about a blonde, Arianne Zucker, that his candidacy was threatened. When the Access Hollywood tape was revealed, Rice Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman requested that he withdraw from the race.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been ridiculed and mocked by the corporate media, columnists and politicians. The new proposed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, an individual who is a throwback to the old Dixiecrats of the 1940s, has even threatened to investigate Black Lives Matter, an organization that arose as a result of the frequent shootings of Black men by the police. The Right has countered with All Lives Matter, but could you imagine what would happen to a policeman had he shot a blonde woman in the back while she was running away?

A little noticed study published in 1997 highlighted the subservience of even middle class White women to the White male patriarchy. It revealed a “horrific picture of lives saturated with serious domestic violence.” The study of White, working-class women in relatively stable families  revealed…lives saturated with serious domestic violence.” The study was conducted by Lois Weis, professor of education in the graduate program at SUNY Buffalo, and Michelle Fine, professor of social psychology in the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

“The researchers defined ‘serious domestic violence’ as battering intended to cause serious physical injury. Ninety-two percent of white female respondents said that such domestic violence was directed against them, their mothers and/or sisters, either in their birth households or in later relationships. By comparison, sixty percent of black female subjects reported similar levels of violence in their lives.”

Yet bourgeois feminists, who, according to socialist feminist Harriet Fraad, co-opted a movement that began as “integrated and working class,” are so beholden to White males for the furtherance of their careers, they  have scapegoated Black men as the chief misogynist actors, a direction that has earned investors billions from television, film, theater and books, etc.  Black critic, C. Liegh McInnis used the term “Black Bogeyman” to describe this industry.

Powerful network executives, whose misogyny is rarely examined by corporate feminists, have reaped the profits from the Black Bogeyman craze. When their male underlings, who often criticize Black men, were asked to criticize the behavior of Roger Ailes, they were quiet, equivocated or praised him. These men have the power define Black men, which results in the hazards that Black men face in everyday life. The producer, director and script writer for “The Color Purple,” which marked Black men as the world wide symbol of misogyny, were White men. A few Black women writers have become wealthy by catering to the “Black Bogeyman” market, however their product has been co-opted by Kathryn Stockett, a White writer, author of “The Help.” Her Black Bogeyman is named Leroy. A spousal abuser.

Using the threat to the safety of White women has given the White male patriarchy an excuse to steal land from Blacks and Native Americans. Thousands of Black men have been lynched as a result of rumors about their harm of, or association with, White women. In 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 300 Blacks were massacred as a result of a rumor about the rape of a White woman. The journalist Ida B. Wells was run out of Memphis because she dared to offer that many of the relationships between Black men and White women were consensual, which was the case in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But those who lynched two of her friends weren’t really concerned about that. Her friends were lynched because their businesses were competitive with those of Whites. The women were just being used as a decoy. They have also been used as a decoy to win elections.

Notes.

* http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/20/magazine/donald-trumps-america-pennsylvania-women.html?_r=0

**Patricia Donovan News Services Editor, “Domestic violence found in stable white families” Reporter, Vol.28, No.16, Jan.16.1997 State University of New York at Buffalo.

 

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Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.

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