The Democratic “blue wave” may not have made as big of a splash as some would have hoped. But momentum was felt, nonetheless, as a record number of women were elected to seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As the #MeToo movement continues to expand its base of women and men working to extinguish a culture of gender and sexual violence in the United States, women in particular are bringing the movement to the legislative branch of government. And there is no one more thrilled about this than me, a black woman, who had just about lost faith in many white women voters.
I mean, seriously.
In 2016, 53 percent of white women voted for the presidential candidate who bragged about grabbing women by their genitalia. In 2017, 63 percent of white women in Alabama voted for alleged pedophile Roy Moore in the state’s senate race. And this year, 59 percent of white women in Texas voted for Senator Ted Cruz, helping him defeat Beto O’Rourke, a proponent of women’s health.
Let’s not forget about the white women who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, after allegations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — ahem, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
Not only has there been divisiveness between political parties, and between men and women, there’s been a growing divide between women of color and women who identify as white.
Historically speaking, white women have always remained closer to the men in power — i.e., white men. Whether consciously or not, white women are often the foot soldiers for white (patriarchal) supremacy, and this has proven evident throughout history.
Susan B. Anthony, for example, once said, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.” Many mostly white women put their “I voted” stickers on her tombstone this year.
Furthermore, in many viral news stories this year, it’s been white women who’ve called the police on the African American community for simply living while black.
For centuries, many white women have stood by their white men, deceived into believing that they would be provided for. But it’s all a sham: Patriarchy cares as little about white women as it does for women of color.
While white women still benefit more from the privileges afforded white America — privileges that were never intended for Native or black people during the days of our founding fathers — the fact is that white men have always made up the majority of folks in positions of power.
This is why women of color activists are adamant about playing a leading role in the women’s movement. Our experiences are much more challenging because of the extra melanin in our skin, which is why you often hear us protest that all lives will never matter until black lives matter.
During the midterms, however, many white women gave me some hope. The percentage of white women voting for the “grabber’s” supporters fell to 49 percent — under half, and we must continue to decrease this percentage. The rest voted for our daughters, and their daughters. You elected women who will fight for us all.
In a roaring decry of “Time’s Up!” you elected a diverse mix of us, with first time Native, Latina, Black, and Muslim American women winning districts in New Mexico, Texas, Massachusetts, and Michigan, respectively.
You did all right, white women. It’s possible that there’s hope for you after all.