When Whiteness Trumps Womanhood

This year’s midterms were historic for women.

Many different states sent their first woman to Congress while many others were the first of their faith or ethnicity to land a seat in government.

With all of this girl power happening

Turns out that, surprise surprise, White Women gladly showed up and showed out, however it was for candidates who would willingly vote against their own interests.

Here are the stats from the Ted Cruz/ Beto O’Rourke race in Texas:

White Women overwhelmingly went up for Ted Cruz, a candidate who is “strongly anti-abortion” and “would allow the procedure only when a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.” He supports cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood. In January 2016, Cruz announced his “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition, chaired by Tony Perkins; co-chairs include Troy Newman, who has previously stated that the government has a responsibility to execute abortion doctors “in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.

The Houston Chronicle reported that “O’Rourke is a long-time supporter of abortion rights. In May, he signed on to a letter signed by other Democratic lawmakers opposing administration plans to restrict, “gag,” or otherwise defund family planning programs for low-income patients. “Federal health policy should be evidence-based and produced with the best interests of patients in mind,” the letter said. “It should not be the result of the political whims of a partisan campaign pledge.””

In the Georgia Governor race, we see the same thing:

White Women in the state of Georgia overwhelmingly went for Brian Kemp over Stacy Abrams. Kemp, unlike Cruz, has flip-flopped his position on Women’s Health, which is even more alarming than simply making a statement one way or another.

What is clear is Kemp’s support of Brett Kavanaugh, the newest Trump appointee to the Supreme Court and a man accused by multiple women such as Christine Ford for inappropriate and lewd behavior.

Also not flattering, Kemp was recently caught meddling in the voting process. According to Rolling Stone, “Kemp’s recent decision to suspend more than 53,000 voter applications, 70 percent of which were filed by black residents, for violating the state’s “exact match” verification standard has drawn attention to his penchant for restrictive voter laws and purging of voter rolls. American Public Media reported last week that Kemp purged an estimated 107,000 voters last year simply because they didn’t vote in the prior election. He is also being sued for leaving more than 6 million Georgia voting records open to hacking.”

Despite that in both these races, where both Cruz and Kemp have made very public stances against women (and one of them was a clear cheater in the race) White Women still overwhelmingly chose to vote for them.

Insert the blackest of facepalms…

This certainly is not the first time we have seen White Women vote against their own interests.

For every woman that is fuming right now at Sen. Susan Collins, you are not alone. I can confidently say without a doubt most women who have been paying attention to the Judge Kavanaugh hearings, who heard the painful accounts of Dr. Christine Ford, and who watched Kavanaugh’s following fall out (ie the sheer meltdown that should have disqualified Brett from SCOTUS alone, not to mention this man perjured himself NUMEROUS times, oh not to forget 4 different women were willing to undergo an FBI investigation, move homes and receive death threats to simply tell the truth about the man) would wonder why a reasonable woman senator would dare to endorse such a man.

Especially because, well, not too long ago, Sen. Collins had this to say…

Now how can she call out Al Franken for committing the same crimes of a SCOTUS candidate she is now endorsing? The betrayal to women of the U.S. runs deep. Social media and political discussion boards are lit with the laments of fellow women pleading with Susan to do the right thing, and when she failed to do so, the clarion call to vote her out has arisen.

But as a Black Woman, I am not surprised. We, as women of color, have seen this blind loyalty to whiteness over womanhood many a time, where White women would rather vote directly against their own interests as women to attempt to protect perceived privilege and power hidden within whiteness. We don’t have to look back too far.

The Alabama Senate race last year was a good example of what I mean. That race was a close call. Too close for comfort. It was a choice between a pretty average Democrat in Doug Jones vs. a proven bigot and accused pedophile (and interestingly enough YMCA and local mall shunned) Roy Moore.

The end result showed Doug Jones as the victor, and a state that had not gone blue in over 20 years now is represented by a Democrat. The deciding blows were dealt by cities like Montgomery and Selma, where Black people showed up en-mass and not dealing with the foolery. Once again, Black people saved the day.

But while everyone was high-fiving Black People (particularly Black Women) for saving the state of Alabama from being on the wrong side of history, another thought was rising from the masses; what the hell is wrong with White Women? After looking at the polls, I shared the following:

Seriously, y’all? 63% of White Women thought Roy Moore, a man who used the Bible to justify courting middle school girls when he was 30 years old and thinks America’s best times were when his people owned other people? That guy, ladies?

As you can see, the world was once again made right by Black Women, and my ladies didn’t disappoint, voting for decency, forward progress, and to protect White Girls all over the nation from pedophiles (something White Women and Men of Alabama should have done for themselves).

You’re f-ing welcome.

But no one is surprised because Black Women also voted in the last presidential election. A gentle reminder 94% of us voted against the Trump while 53% of White Women actually voted for him, despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Now, before you turn your “this is so antifeminist” or “this is divisive” speeches on me, remember 2 things:
1) Feminism doesn’t mean women sit in a circle and sing “KumByYa”and are nice to the point of uselessness to each other.

Feminism is the belief that men and women are equals. And we have to equally do the introspective work of analyzing ourselves. So save me the tears.

2) Instead of launching the above tired rhetoric on me, you might want to direct that energy towards your fellow White sisters. Maybe, instead of just elevating and praising Black Women for doing the right thing and not electing pedophiles, bigots, racists, and otherwise deplorable humans to the highest offices in the nation (y’all really do not deserve us), maybe you should do what we often do and look thoughtfully as a people and say “Hey Karen/Carol/Allison/Becky/Susan, why did you think it was ok to vote against your own self interest?” Or just stop hanging out with people who continually put the nation’s future in peril.

If you need further inspiration for this, look back to your Black sisters. We are good for revoking people’s “Black cards” when their allegiances to the culture look a little shaky with a Michelle Obama side-eye so sharp, it cuts through all the BS before anything is even spoken.

Let’s use Omarosa Manigault for an example. Her behind lost her Black card so long ago, even with the accuracy of Beyoncé’s concert ponytail, it might not be found. None of us were surprised to see Omarosa buddied up with the Donald Trump. None of us leapt to back her poor choice candidate for President. And now that she has been fired (yet again) by the Don, none of us dropped a single tear for her. None of us are buying her books. None of us are checking for her. You reap what you sow. And if you sow unfaithfulness to your own people, don’t expect to return from those you left us for and expect any kind of welcome. We will pull a Mariah Carey on her so fast.

That is what happens when you do something counter to the health and help of your people.

So, if you know your grandmother is racist, if you know your cousin has a confederate flag collection, if you know your friend actually owns and wears her MAGA hat, if you know a woman who continues this pattern of voting against her own self interests (and the interests of all vagina carriers), why would y’all continue to break bread with her? Why don’t you call her out? Why don’t you address the ridiculousness? Why is it up to other groups to do the hard introspection that you, as a group, as a “sisterhood” should to figure this out?

Let me tell you something that Black Women have known all along: There are no Knights in shining armor. No man will be coming to save you. And maybe, instead of relying on Black Woman to be your heroes, White Women, why don’t you become you own heroes? Stop waiting for someone to come rescue you and rescue your own selves.

You can start by weeding the Susan Collins’ of your crew out. We have space for them next to our Omarosa’s.

Whitney Alese is a writer, podcaster and cultural commentator. Featured in WIRED Magazine (September 2020). She is based in Philadelphia.

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