A day and a half after the election, to say that I was still dazed would be an understatement. I was in a state of denial. Not only had former Secretary/Senator/FLOTUS Hillary Clinton lost, but a man who ran on bigotry, xenophobia and sexism had won. (Yes, this is going to be that kind of article.)
As I sought refuge for my sorrows, two other white women came in to sit down at the bar. These women — perfectly reasonable and friendly people — then began recounting the Entire. Election. Night.
They recounted how they stayed up until the turn toward Trump, but, as more states closed their polls and more numbers came through, they lost interest and fell asleep. They told of how they woke up in the middle of the night, reached for their phones with anticipation and, suddenly, cheers! Donald J. Trump was the new president-elect!
Oh how their night differed from my own.
Instead of cheers, my anticipation turned to dread and finally defeat. My Facebook newsfeed was filled with disbelief and hope until it all turned to fear. How could this have happened? How could all of my worst fears about the kind of man America could elect for her highest office have come true?
The next day, the exit-polling results were back: I was betrayed by my own demographic. White women voted for Trump. Well, white people in general, but I’m more worried about the cognitive dissonance needed to vote someone into office who so clearly sees you as an object to take and to own.
This isn’t the only time that white women have placed their race as foremost in their belief structures. Even within feminism, a branch commonly referred to as white feminism continues to bleed the movement dry, obviously with vicious, cat-like claws.
As white people (in America specifically/Western society more broadly/the world in general) we benefit from white supremacy and white normalcy. We will never be oppressed, because the structures-that-be are geared toward the continued progress of white people on the backs of black and brown people. Because we will always hear the stories of white people as normal. Because we continue to erase or steal the history of black and brown folks.
Even within the much-lauded suffragette movement, racism abounded. Showcased in Sojourner Truth’s famous (and impromptu) Ain’t I a Woman? speech, the suffragette movement was already espousing white-supremacist values even at its earliest inception. With a split in the movement over the 15th Amendment, both sides, especially Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the NWSA, wrote articles belittling the new amendment. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, most known for her coverage and pamphlets of lynchings, was also a great supporter of women’s suffrage; however, when she and other community leaders tried to join the 1913 Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C., they were asked to join the back of the parade. Just another instance of white supremacy winning over the “sisterhood” that feminism claims.
Clinton’s feminism weak at best
Hillary Clinton is the white feminist status quo. She refuses to acknowledge that she’s made mistakes in the past. She silences the voices of black women, yet she continues to claim she fights for all women. And she does … to an extent. Her policies are indeed based on “women’s issues,” but only if you’re white and straight and cissexual. She can do better.
And that was really the biggest difference between these two candidates: One was a white supremacist demagogue, and the other was a career politician with experience and constantly evolving views as well as 30 years of sexist spin-machine propaganda against her.
Of course America elected the fascist.
Intersectional feminism can help us work together
However, there is hope! And it doesn’t come from looking toward your black and brown sisters!
The time has come to dry your white woman’s tears and look inside yourself. Become a race traitor. Become someone who stands up for the rights of ALL WOMEN. Start practicing intersectional feminism. Understand that the kyriarchy is conspiring to not only keep you poor and unhealthy and angry, but that it’s also had a long history of keeping the working class separated. Because when we all work together for the common good and the rights of everyone, through fear and hate and anger, we all win.
Trump’s victory illustrates how we failed to work together. It was a betrayal of anyone who is disenfranchised within America today, including the “white working class,” but I don’t show up for you unless you show up for me.
So yeah, you betrayed me, but not only that, you betrayed us all.