Original image: JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0
When I was in high school, I took economics and political science. Those classes taught me that people behave in a logical fashion according to their wants and needs, and that they choose candidates whose values and opinions most closely resemble their own. Then I took those same classes in college and learned “lolololol the fuck they do.”
The fact that has been hardest to accept about Trump’s presidency (besides, you know, its existence) is the fact that 53% of white women voted for him. Then the Roy Moore election happened, and thank God went the right way, but still had 63% of white women voting for Moore. I have been trying for over a year to wrap my head around that first fact, and for a week to wrap my head around the second. And I just can’t.
53% of white women voters heard Trump’s racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic trash, and went “yeah, that’s my guy.” 53% of white women heard him bragging about grabbing women by the pussy, heard about him barging in on the dressing room of Miss Teen USA, heard the accusations of various women who accused him of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and thought “this is the man that will reflect my interests.”
63% of white women voters in Alabama heard that Roy Moore molested teens, that he raped a young girl, and that he managed to get kicked out of a mall for being a general creeper, and went “Sure, this is the best.”
This defies logic on so base a level it actually hurts me. I literally have a headache as I am typing this.
There are a lot of reasons that white women may have lost their senses entirely, and at a point in the future I will talk about those reasons, how to counter those reasons, and how to ask white women, in the gentlest terms possible of course, “What the fuck are you doing, and why won’t you wake the hell up?” Aren’t you all impressed by my tact?
But I have been talking about depressing things on this blog for two weeks in a row, and if I continue this trend then friends and loved ones may actually become concerned about me. So instead of focusing on The People That Did/Nearly Fucked It All Up For the Rest of Us, I wanna focus on The People That Nearly Rescued/That Did Rescue The Day: voters of color, and specifically, female voters of color. 97% of black female voters cast their vote for Doug Jones. That is not just a majority, that is a literally A+ showing.
Now, before I continue, please know that I’m being fairly facetious in my discussion of “rescue.” Voters of color did not cast their votes in order to “rescue” confused white folks. They voted for themselves, and for their own interests, and because the candidates that white women cannot seem to stop stanning for are the same candidates that are most likely to do immeasurable harm to communities of color and women of color in particular.
That doesn’t mean, however, that these recent elections don’t follow a trend, and one that honestly sucks: progressives expect voters of color to support them unwaveringly, and often count on their support while not actually doing much to gain their votes or reward them for their dedication. Time after time, voters of color, and women of color in particular, have been called upon to support progressive white candidates. Then, when the time comes that people of color run for office or otherwise seek power, white voters respond with, “new phone, who this?”
And that, to put it in advanced political science terms, is bullshit.
Women of color did not sign up to be our superheroes, or our punching bags. They are not here to save us from our fellow white people, and they are not a continually renewing resource that we can exploit without supporting. So, setting aside for now the “how to make white women be less awful” conversation, here are a few things that we can do to show our support and appreciation to the voting bloc that has continually supported progressive causes.
- Bustle has a list of 11 political causes run by black women that would be fantastic to support
- Hello Giggles has another excellent list that includes additional suggestions such as investing in businesses owned by black women, and simply believing black women and their stories. Tarana Burke’s #metoo movement didn’t get a lot of traction until a famous white woman picked it up. We should have been paying attention long before then.
- Teen Vogue also has a list of similar suggestions.
And these are all just places to start. We have to do a lot of work, resulting in systemic change, to make sure that women of color are not just thanked every couple of election cycles when they save white people from themselves, but are given respect and attention consistently, and are included in all levels of economic and political power.
Elle Irise is a regular contributor to This Week In Tomorrow. When she’s not trying to find something we could all do to stop this garbage from happening, she studies gender in popular culture.
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