Feminism still isn’t for black women
So Obama has been cleaning up in this week’s batch of primaries and caucuses and he seems to be set to go into the convention later this summer a real contender for the nomination. Which is great news if you want him to be President, but it pretty much guarantees an op-ed (or 20) that will wave the flag of racism while calling for women to stand together in sisterhood and support Hillary’s bid for President. Think I’m joking? There’s been this running patter from famous feminist authors as Obama collects delegates that essentially says that black women should be voting with their vaginas and not with their skin color. And while I’m personally voting for Obama I’m completely sick of hearing these calls for me to ignore the issues, ignore the reality of Hillary’s campaign tactics (Yes, I know she’s apologized for every “accidental” bit of race baiting that’s come out of her mouth or the mouths of her supporters, but at some point there’s no more room for the accident claim), and pretend that my gender should trump my race or my beliefs.
In fact if you really read the pieces by Gloria Steinem, Erica Jong, or even the one by Robin Morgan it seems that if you’re female you’re supposed to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s female, because you’re female, because it’s her turn, or because Obama has time, and even because there could be something besides the highest office in the land available to Obama if Hillary wins the election. According to Erica Jong “Possibly Hillary will appoint him to the Supreme Court where he can counter that embarrassing Clarence Thomas.” which I suppose is meant to be a sop to voters that would be unhappy if he didn’t make into office. Of course to me it reads like “Step aside for the white lady, you uppity darkie” but then I’ve never been good at pretending racism doesn’t exist in white women.
And just in case the examples from the last few months weren’t convincing enough? I finished this post and then I had to come back and edit it, because Erica Jong can’t stop spouting ignorance long enough to listen to any critcism of Hillary Clinton’s platform. In fact she goes so far as to claim Oprah is only supporting Obama because he’s black and it’s not like his platform is publicly accessible or like one could prefer his healthcare plan or think his desire to end the war is important. No, even though she loves Oprah there’s no possibility that this BLACK woman that has built a billion dollar empire can possibly be thinking for herself. How dare Oprah (and apparently every other woman that prefers Obama) not do what the older white women tell them to do? Just recently I saw something from a black Obama supporter about the last time a white woman wanted to tell her how to lead her life. Here it is, please pay attention to the time frame to which she is referring as she talks about a white woman determined to tell her how she should be behaving in public.
Apparently the possibility that we vote with our brains based on the issues hasn’t occurred to any of these writers. And I find it hilarious that the same women spouting racist clap trap then have the temerity to demand that black women stand in sisterhood with them. Perhaps it is time for a little history lesson on racism in the feminist movement because clearly I’m supposed to ignore that huge elephant in the middle of the room. Am I meant to think that possessing a vagina automatically means you’re not racist no matter what kinds of things you say? Is it supposed to go unnoticed (as Robin Morgan does ever so subtly in her piece and Erica Jong does directly) that the same voices decrying anyone calling black women race traitors for voting for Hillary are calling women who vote for Obama traitors to feminism? All I have to say (as has already been said by Melissa Harris Lacewell) is that the days of Mammy are over. There will be no more of this expectation that black women table their own self-interests to support the needs of white women that will not be returning the favor.
I’m a black woman. I’m a feminist that’s voting for Obama. I was on the verge of ceasing to call myself a feminist since it’s become quite obvious that many white feminists think I’m too stupid to notice them saying nigger under their breath after every call for sisterhood. But then it occurred to me that there’s no reason to let them be the face of the feminist movement. So if you want to vote for Hillary because her values align with yours? That’s great. But don’t you dare try to tell WOC how to vote while insinuating that they’re too stupid to think for themselves. And since I know there are young white feminists that can see the elephant in the room? Let me say that I don’t think a vote for Hillary is a vote for racism. But, I do think insisting that a black woman shouldn’t vote for a black man because he’s got a penis is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. If it’s admirable to vote for Hillary based on gender; what’s wrong with voting for Obama based on race? As for the young white women voting for Obama? Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to vote for a woman you disagree with in order to be a “true” feminist.