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On the Trump presidency and why I’m conflicted about the Women’s March on Washington

Why I’ve been relatively quiet about Trump and Women’s March on Washington.

Truth be told, I’ve been mostly silent in the run up to the U.S. election and the aftermath.

In the beginning, I didn’t think there was a flying chance in hell that “The Donald”, purveyor of verbal diarrhea and questionable values, could ever really become President of the United States. The mere thought was laughable and scoff-worthy, as ridiculous as his hairstyle. 

So implausible was the notion that this caricature was a viable candidate for the presidency that he occupied little space in my life or conversations.  At most he was accorded a wisecrack, a snicker, or a share of derogatory meme in his honour in my Facebook timeline.

And then…. he was elected.

And, suddenly, swiftly, sharply, the joke was on people like me.

That someone who lies (or, erm, presents “alternative facts”), continually spews hateendorses violence (especially against women), rallies against the First Amendment, and even lacks knowledge about the workings of the American political system, can be elected as President of the United States is appalling.

I’ve been shocked into silence, and three plus months post election I’m still in disbelief. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

What I wanted to address, rather, are the various Women’s Marches that took place around the world this past weekend. A campaign of protest directed toward Trump and his allies’ rhetoric of misogyny saw the assembly of women in public spaces worldwide this Saturday, the largest group taking up residence in America’s capital.

The Women’s March on Washington, 2017. Source

The Women’s March on Washington reportedly drew crowds of over half a million people, the vast majority of them purported feminists. Similar, smaller marches from Mexico City to Sydney brought the total number of participants up to over two million.

It was an incredible show of solidarity, sure.

But the truth is that I am conflicted, for a couple of reasons.

For, while feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes, mainstream feminism has long been devoid of intersectionality. Instead, it prioritizes the needs of women who are White, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgender, educated and able-bodied.

This narrow brand of feminism by and large doesn’t cater to or include the vast majority of women of colour (WOC), and while the Women’s March on Washington purports to fight for racial equality, immigration reform, and LGBTQIA and disability rights, I can’t still help but think that after all the fanfare of the march dies down, the legacy of White feminism will continue to prosper (and would have in fact been bolstered by WOCs support and participation).

What’s more, 52 percent of White women who voted cast their ballot for Trump, while only 4% of Black women and 25% of Latinx women voted for him. To be frank, we’re in this position because of White women (and White men– 62% of voters in this demographic voted Trump). 

 

So it feels weird and wrong to march alongside women who often fail to consider (or simply don’t give a hoot about) issues that affect people like myself on a daily basis.

I mean, how can I be expected to forward an agenda that I’m not really a part of? It feels hard to fight someone else’s fight, and I’m not alone in this feeling. WOC writer and editor Jamilah Lemieux penned an excellent piece on why she skipped the Women’s March on Washington and I found myself nodding along in agreement as I inhaled her poetry. 

Furthermore, it feels even weirder and “wrong-er” to march alongside women who are willing to protest with strangers, but are unwilling to have much-needed conversations with their family members.

Because, while on a macro level these marches create an impact, positive change simply won’t be sustainable if those difficult conversations with the Trumpers and other bigots among us (especially the ones we sleep beside or sit across the kitchen table from) aren’t being had. (But let me ask before I assume– are these conversations being had?)

In my mind, to be silent in the face of hate, injustice, and inequality is to be complicit. Even if the offender is a partner, friend, or family member. Even if that is not your (or their) intention.

I also worry about the bandwagoners for whom the march/renewed interest in women’s issues is a fad, novelty, or simply fodder for a social media status or share.  Creating awareness is important, sure.  Participating is important also. But, again, sustainable, long term change requires more than parading around the National Mall in a cute pink pussy hat or posting woeful statuses on Facebook or Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the impetus behind the marches around the world is heartwarming and well-intentioned.  I also think that big displays and large scale protests are important.  They spark much-needed dialogue and provide a visual reminder of solidarity against a common ill or scourge.

But for long term change to occur, efforts on a smaller scale are not only necessary, but critical.

Unsure of how to mobilize now that the marches are over? I came across this practical, yet eloquently written post by Brittany T. Oliver on how to proceed.

According to her, the question we should be asking ourselves now is: “What will you commit to doing after the marches?” 

It’s one that I will continue to ponder as I try to balance my desire to affect real change with my need to prioritize self-care.

And so, I’m examining 2017 and the long road of Trump’s presidency with a curious eye and a note of despondency.  But I’m trying to rally and stay positive. For, the only thing that is constant is change.  And only time will tell whether that change will be largely positive or negative.

What feelings do you have about the Trump administration and the recent women’s marches? If you are a active feminist, what will you do not that the marches are complete? And does anyone feel conflicted about the marches like I do?

Lead image photo credit: source

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51 Comments

  • Reply
    Ray
    January 23, 2017 at 3:39 am

    I wake up every day wondering if this Trump Presidency is some elaborate scheme by the Donald to tap into the Middle Class’ anger of being exploited and mistreated by the elite – both the academic and business leaders of America – and then end voter apathy across the country over the next four years in order to restore true democracy again. It’s inspired me to at least explore and visit more of the Rust Belt states over the next four years so I can try to understand why they feel so “left out” by Washington.

    As for the Women’s Marches and your line about how “white women are the reason Trump is President in the first place,” I have a bone to pick with you on that one. While you have gotten me to really think about how mainstream feminism seems to push the cause for white women mainly, to say white women are the reason why Trump is President is only a partial factor. You’ve completely left out the fact that fewer Democrats showed up to vote for Clinton then they did in 2012 for Obama. Why did so few Democrats turn up to vote in this election? And why aren’t we addressing that issue, as well?

    The Democrats are just as equally blameworthy for causing this situation by not only rigging the candidate selection process in favour of Clinton, but for also doing nothing to reach out to the Swing States. Why didn’t Clinton show up in person to some of these States? Why did she send representatives instead? We should really also be upset about this situation just as much as Trump being elected. We can’t have it both ways by blaming those who voted for Trump and then just letting the Democrats off the hook for putting together one of the worst Presidential campaigns in history. The next four years is going to be an interesting chapter in world history. That is the only thing for certain at this point.

    • Reply
      Daisy
      January 23, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Ray: I just want to respond to your point about low voter turnout in the Democratic party. I don’t know why fewer democrats voted in this election than in 2012. In my opinion there are too many personal reasons why people didn’t support Hilary and I believe we got in our own way. Yes, the Democratic leadership were unfair to the other campaigns. However, the democrats who sat this one out should’ve realized what was at stake, set their feelings aside and vote for the most qualified candidate. Now I also believe that the Republican party are mostly to blame here for staying silent throughout most of the campaign when Trump began spewing his hate speech. The republican party had 16 candidates, yet they let Trump take over in the media. Even worse, it wasn’t until the final quarter did Republican leaders start to come out and say that trump didn’t represent their party. They allowed Trump to taint the face of their party. Now he’s tainted what it means to be the leader of one of the greatest countries in the world.

      • Reply
        Curious@gmail.com
        January 23, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        I think it’s a little weird to say republicans “let” him take over the media. Quite frankly, the media isn’t controlled by political parties. Not in America anyway. It’s controlled by ratings. CNN was all trump all the time because it gave them higher ratings. Point blank. Saying the republicans should have tried to control the media (which is probably more Democrat friendly anyway) is like saying there shouldn’t be freedom of the press. Be careful what you ask for

        As for your other points oneika, I didn’t match with them because me and planned parenthood can’t be in the same room. I’m part of a group of pro life feminists and we’re often told we’re not “down with the cause” because of our beliefs. So yeah, that march doesn’t speak for me. Plus it didn’t sit right with me on the sexual assault points. The march would have been better off attacking both trump and the Clintons on that point. (Or didn’t you know Bill Clinton was accused of rape a number of times?) I don’t want a president or a first husband who assaults women.

        As for the belief that trump is racist, frankly I find him too ignorant to be racist. If that’s a thing. Some might lump them together, but there’s a fine line there. For example his remarks about Jewish accountants. Racist? No. Ignorant as heck? Yes. And if the man was truly a white supremacist there’s no way in heck he’d have a Jewish son in law as his senior advisor.
        And yes I’m black.

        • Reply
          Oneika
          January 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

          “CNN was all trump all the time because it gave them higher ratings. Point blank.” Preach!
          Trump may not be a racist per se but we can probably agree he’s a bigot!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Fair enough! I was going primarily by the stats of those who did vote.

    • Reply
      Patrice
      February 1, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      My sentiments exactly!

  • Reply
    Kenya
    January 23, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Thank you for this article. As an African-American woman, these are my exact thoughts and feelings regarding this march. You summed it up perfectly.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I’m glad this resonated with you!

  • Reply
    Erika
    January 23, 2017 at 4:19 am

    These lines really stuck out to me: “I mean, how can I be expected to forward an agenda that I’m not really a part of? It feels hard to fight someone else’s fight.”

    That could be the exact excuse that keeps white women from engaging in intersectional feminism.

    It’s not fair to have to be the more benevolent, understanding, and giving one in these matters, but discrimination, like life, isn’t fair. People are all on their different journeys to being “woke” and I think it’s important to not completely exclude the people who are trying to be better, even if their brand of feminism can be troubling. I know that minorities are constantly put in the position of being educators, but the good news is that I think many of the women in this bracket are (more) open to hearing from minorities. And even if we don’t all agree, starting with a foundation that gets all of us more rights is good. Doesn’t mean people still shouldn’t be called out, but there are a lot of things feminists can agree on in general and it’s important to work together to advance those things, even as we work to gain better understanding and respect for each other (even if one side has a lot more work to do).

    • Reply
      Michelle
      January 25, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Well said. Agree.

    • Reply
      guineveruca
      January 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      I’m very frustrated that white feminists as a group are having this defensive and, frankly, condescending response. No one is trying to exclude us. We are being asked to look beyond our own interests, and to step back a little and do more listening (and self-education) than talking. Why is that so hard? I mean that honestly, because I catch myself sometimes having that “but…” response internally. The point is to listen and learn where to go from here to be a good ally and better activist for all, rather than get caught up about the job I’ve been doing so far.

      It also may not seem “fair” to be asked to sit back and wait while issues that aren’t “ours” take priority, but I think we’ve been at the front of the line for a long time.

      • Reply
        Oneika
        January 31, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        THIS—-> “We are being asked to look beyond our own interests, and to step back a little and do more listening (and self-education) than talking.”

        This is what rankles me to be honest. White feminists need to hear me/us out before jumping to their own defense. Thank you for understanding.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Erika! I definitely hear and respect where you’re coming from. As someone who is frequently an educator on these topics, I needed to take a step back for my own self-care. Exhausting being on the front lines all the time, being the bigger person, infrequently reaping the rewards.

  • Reply
    leah
    January 23, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Thanks for writing this! Mainstream feminism definitely has to become more inclusive and embrace intersectionality. I (as a white woman) happily attended the sister march in Seattle, but it has been really good for me to read the concerns of WOC from around the country, both about the national march and their local ones. I was happy that our local march really made intersectionality a part of its mission and was led by native women. I feel like the crowd was quite diverse as well. But of course, my personal experience of the march would certainly be different from that of a WOC. Thanks again for speaking about it – I think there is more of an awareness about the importance of intersectionality where I live, but there is still room for improvement. So I hope you continue to feel comfortable speaking out, and take care of yourself! And yes, actions cannot end with marching.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you for recognizing that intersectionality exists!!

  • Reply
    Amarachi
    January 23, 2017 at 7:15 am

    You’re never afraid to talk about issues like this, Oneika. I admire that.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks for your support!

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 23, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I really enjoyed this post and thank you for sharing your hesitations on marching. Where I paused though, were that just after criticizing the march, as well as mainstream feminism for where it’s focus has traditionally been, you say:

    “it feels weird and wrong to march alongside women who often fail to consider (or simply don’t give a hoot about) issues that affect people like myself on a daily basis.

    I mean, how can I be expected to forward an agenda that I’m not really a part of? It feels hard to fight someone else’s fight, and I’m not alone in this feeling.”

    Have you considered this might also be holding back those in the mainstream?

    I believe one war can have many different front lines of battles. There is a dangerous trend to equate ‘white feminist’ with something bad because that group has been concerned mainly with advancing its own interests. I vehemently disagree. If anyone, at any time, is willing to work to affect positive change on issues affecting them it should be celebrated. There is more work – for all of us – to do. I’m excited to be part of change that makes a difference in the lives of women. Yet minimalizing the work that others have put in on other battles for one group takes the focus off winning the greater war. All in my opinion, of course.

    This was a great piece and truly made me think – thank you for writing it.

    • Reply
      Alissa
      January 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Kate! I wanted to clarify some terminology here: “white feminism” as a term refers to feminism that excludes women of color (and instead focuses on issues specific to white women). It is inherently negative and inherently anti-feminist. This article might be helpful for understanding white feminism and why it is so dangerous, I recommend you check it out:

      https://www.bustle.com/articles/120684-7-things-feminists-of-color-want-white-feminists-to-know

      • Reply
        Kate
        January 23, 2017 at 9:03 pm

        Thank you for sharing – I read the article but it appears to make the same point I disagreed with above: that ‘white feminists’ are concerned with only some things that affect them directly instead of with injustice that affects others… and that this is bad. I just don’t agree that it’s a bad thing. I believe that if you’re working to make positive change on any front for women, great. There’s lots to do. I don’t think that just because you focus your efforts on improving one aspect it must mean that you’re choosing to ignore the other societal problems, or worse, that you’re actively working to keep them in place. There’s many opportunities to fight and many things that must be fought.

        It feels similar to a point I’ve also seen many conservative friends also make in response to the marches – but what about women’s rights in other countries? Why aren’t you focusing your efforts there? American women are so privileged compared to others.

        If I’m missing something or have misunderstood what you were saying or intending to share from the article, please let me know.

        • Reply
          Jk
          February 19, 2017 at 5:10 am

          Kate, am I hearing you correctly? It sounds to me like you are trying to draw a distinction between “white feminism” (feminism that is inherently white-focused) and white feminists, who might very well have interests beyond thir own advancement. Is that right?

      • Reply
        Oneika
        January 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Awesome article! It was one of the ones I referenced before writing this piece!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts, Kate, I truly appreciate them. This post was me trying to sort out my own feelings on the issue, which aren’t necessarily logical or correct, so I am grateful for your feedback!

  • Reply
    Brenna
    January 23, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for writing this, Oneika. As someone who has been a feminist for as long as I can remember, I disagree with some of your points – I think a few assumptions have been made about who marched and why we marched – but I think it’s important to have these conversations. “It feels hard to fight someone else’s fight” is the line that made me pause, because that is the argument that those in more powerful or privileged positions could make about fighting for marginalised groups. Big changes require a first step, and I think that Saturday’s march, one that included people from all over the world, is a great first step to take in solidarity.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks Brenna for chiming in! My commentary may have come off harsh but twas not my intention at all. We definitely agree on the point that it’s important to have these conversations in the first place.

    • Reply
      Jk
      February 19, 2017 at 5:24 am

      ” I think a few assumptions have been made about who marched and why we marched”

      YES. I’m so tired of the commentaries on why I did what I did, and especially of people who argue back if someone tries to point out that the motivations assumed by the author of the original post are not their own.

      I do think that those of us in more privileged positions have a responsibility to fight for justice, the same as I think we should have national health insurance and unemployment benefits. Sickness and job loss can happen with the sick or unemployed person not being the least bit at fault. It isn’t fair for them to suffer that burden, when it was randomly assigned. Non-white people are not at fault for the racism that negatively affects their lives. Whiteness and its associated privileges are nothing that we “earn”.

  • Reply
    Arielle
    January 23, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I absolutely agree. I am here to educate my fellow white women and make them more intersectional. Also, all these white women who came to the marches this weekend need to show up at the next BLM gathering and show that they really are working for ALL women.

    • Reply
      Brenna
      January 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      I agree, Arielle. I hope to see the same.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Truth!

  • Reply
    Noelle Brahimi
    January 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    I’m a bit mixed on this one. Yes, I’m white, and I had white friends who marched. I also had Latina, black, Arab, etc friends who marched. I also did not vote for Trump (I voted for Clinton). I think undermining the walk in general is bad news – the more acceptable it becomes to stand up for feminism and intersectionality the better off we all are.
    That being said, I’m not sure for who it was a fad or not – I’ve always considered myself a feminist, long before the Trump candidacy even came along, so I don’t feel hypocritical. But, your post is a good reminder that perhaps my narrative of feminism needs to be reexamined to make sure it includes the WOC narrative as well (as best as I can, at least).
    Just my two cents 🙂

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks for weighing in Noelle! My feelings are complicated as are yours. My intent wasn’t to delegitimize the march but rather to implore others to consider how some women may feel (as well as encourage everyone to continue their efforts once the march is over).

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    This seems like backwards logic to me. How will it ever become more of an inclusive movement if women of color choose not to participate?

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    This seems like backwards logic to me. How will it ever become more of an inclusive movement if women of color choose not to participate?

    America struggles with racism and there a lot of other things you could point to as examples that I would 100% agree with, but I don’t believe the marches this weekend were one of them.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Jessica, I never said my feelings were logical– this is simply the way I feel. I’m tired to being rallied to fight for “all women” when I feel that “my type of women” (minority) won’t benefit anyway. I’m tired of being asked to fight for feminist initiatives that aren’t intersectional.

      • Reply
        Jessica
        January 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

        There were a lot of different issues covered at the women’s march, but in my mind there is no difference in the benefit received by minorities when it comes pro-choice rights and Planned Parenthood funding. Perhaps you had a different topic in mind when you wrote this.

        • Reply
          Oneika
          February 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

          I totally did. I’m moreseo talking about implicit benefits like jobs (minority women have way lower salaries and rates of promotion).

  • Reply
    Christine Amorose
    January 23, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Great post. One of the things that’s really bothered me in the post-march frenzy is the championing of how there weren’t any arrests–which is much more likely a result of how it was policed and how white women are perceived. I’m currently reading The New Jim Crow, and the lack of arrests/tear gas at a march of all white women seems eerily similar to how the same white women can generally do a smattering of drugs without fearing arrest or jail time. Although I fall squarely into the “middle-class straight white women” class that feminism has done A LOT for, one of my goals this year is to continue donating and volunteering to the pro-choice causes that I’m passionate about but also extend into other causes that don’t benefit me quite so directly (like voting rights for felons and underfunded and underserved schools).

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      I saw that article too! I’m not a fan of the positioning of White-led protests as “peaceful”, “demure”, or “more civilized” than those led by visible minorities either. It sets a dangerous tone and plays into the tropes where White women are considered “genteel” and other women (like Black and Latinx) are labelled as “Angry minorities”. Thank you for recognizing this and also for doing your part to get involved in initiatives that don’t necessarily implicated you.

  • Reply
    Jennie
    January 24, 2017 at 12:37 am

    I am not sure where many of you marched but in San Francisco there were women, men, children and babies of every color and ethnicity and signs relating to issues for ALL women. In Washington DC many of the organizers and speakers and entertainers were women of color. Perhaps you only saw what you wanted to see.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Could be. Perception is everything. In my eyes this was a very White-led movement, but I never said I was right.

      • Reply
        Jk
        February 19, 2017 at 5:34 am

        Linda Sansour, an outspoken Muslim woman from the Bronx, was one of the three organizers of the national march in DC. I believe the other two were also non-white. So it was not a white-led movement.

        But, I cannot believe that people got excited about Madonna and chanted over Angela F’n Davis. When I heard Davis was going to speak, I reconsidered my decision not to go (In the end I decided that getting my kid’s semester off to a good start had to take precedence in my life). Whatever potty problems there were, it is inconceivable to me that people didn’t want to hear her!

  • Reply
    April Hope
    January 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    I didn’t march. A part of me wanted to be there, surrounded by women, feeling a bit of hope that if we all stick together, change is possible. I wanted to go, but I, too, don’t always feel as if being a part of this (and other protests) will really affect me and my needs. I’m a white female, but I grew up poor, had a disability, was married to a black man from a Muslim country, and I’m pro-choice. Only recently was I able to get a college degree after years of not being able to afford it. And when I was 16, I was blamed and shamed by liberal white women who worked at a college prep program I belonged to in a sexual harassment case. I didn’t march.

    But I wasn’t able to articulate my reasons in a coherent, eloquent way, as you have here. I see that some people have respectfully disagreed with some of your points. And they may or may not be right…probably many middle-class White pro-choice hetero women do attend Black Lives Matter events, or care about disabled, and/or poor people.Maybe they have a best friend who is black, gay, Muslim.

    But in order for things to change, this conversation has to be had. This new feminism needs to be more inclusive. Because women with more power and privilege can’t just feel empathy for more marginalized people. There needs to be action. And you’ve already linked us with some possibilities for getting more involved here.

    But the very fact that you’re writing about this when some of your friends have been extremely vocal and active and part f the march, shows you’ve got the courage to bring up the tough topics, the things people don’t always want to talk about. And you did it in a way that expressed things I didn’t even know I was feeling…a sort of subconscious resentment that I felt embarrassed by. I felt I “should” have been there. How could I not attend? Was I just being lazy because it was hella’ cold outside?

    Sheet…to be honest; partly.

    But mostly, I was feeling all of these things, and more than resentment, just a feeling that I didn’t belong.

    Thank you so much for having the confidence to write about this in such an honest, well thought out, specific way so that people are forced to really think about what more needs to be done.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you so much for this comment April! I always enjoy hearing what other people have to say, whether or not it conflicts with my own personal views. What we think and believe is so informed by our own personal experiences. For me personally, it’s very hard to align myself with a movement that by and large has not prioritized my needs and experiences as a Black woman.

  • Reply
    Jules
    January 28, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Oneika, I was just watching the weekend edition of The Social and there you were smack dab in the front row with your airline stewardess scarf on..lol. You looked great, girl!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Haha yes! That was me!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Kelley
    January 31, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I’m a Black American woman living abroad. After this election, I’ve decided to no longer describe myself as a feminist because this election solidified for me that feminism has come to mean white feminism. I just picked up Alice Walker’s book In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens to learn more about womanism. It’s a term I should have researched when I first heard of it back in college instead of waiting for a hateful election to get me to break with a movement that never truly had my interests at heart anyways (re: having Black women march at the back when fighting for the vote, Margaret Sanger changing her argument for birth control from one of female independence to race eugenics, and the list goes on).

    • Reply
      Oneika
      January 31, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      You totally feel where I’m coming from then! It’s really difficult to act as a collective when our interests as Black women have been cast aside for so long. Thank you for the book recommendation!

  • Reply
    LD
    February 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    My daughter and I participated in the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women. Inclusive! It was electric and we were absolutely flabbergasted at the turn out. You see we are Democrats that live in a white upper middle class bastion of Republicans. My first amendment rights, well let’s just say I have to be careful. At events I am now labeled. Don’t bring up Trump because she didn’t vote for him. No I didn’t and would never. I tried to tell everyone about the Donald, you see I grew up in NY so no stranger to his ways. The march here in Atlanta was led by teens of color, John Lewis and Shirley Franklin and many other people of every color and persuasion. I was so proud to participate and everyone was amazing. It was the beginning, because now the Democrats have been woken up and lots of groups are forming. It is a movement.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      February 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

      I’m glad you had such a positive experience!

  • Reply
    Jk
    February 19, 2017 at 4:51 am

    The white women marching are not the women who voted for Trump, any more than the black boy in your French class fits the derogatory stereotypes that are applied to all black men, regardless of the tiny portion for whom they are correct. There are, of course, experiences that are common for women, and others that are common for black people, but that doesn’t mean that the behavior of individuals can be predicted by membership in a demographic group.

    Second wave feminism, as I first learned about it in my women’s studies class in the 80s, drew on lessons of the Civil Rights movement. I hear increasing talk about intersectionality in this third wave of feminism. My impression is that we are moving towards it rapidly. I find white people referencing Angela Davis and bell hooks more than Simon deBeauvoir and Betty Friedan. But maybe that’s just my little bubble, and reading theory doesn’t mean that you’ve actually been close enough to a black person to see how racism plays out in daily life.

    Structural racism makes it unlikely that black and white people would get to know each other well enough to strike up a relationship. Crossing that barrier requires effort on both sides. White people need to be attentive to what’s happening in their friends’ lives, just as black people need to be willing to tell them. (I accidentally got into an argument on Very Smart Brothas with a woman who was complaining that white people are ignorant about racism, but also said that when something that’s clearly racist happens to her, she doesn’t want to share with a white friend, because when you complain about something racist to a person who has never personally encountered it, you have to explain it. She found that threatening. She also insisted that when someone’s response is “wat”, that they are challenging you, or don’t believe you, instead of the normal way that comment would be interpreted anywhere else, as saying that the thing is so inexcusable as to be incomprehensible. When I figured out that nothing would make her happy, she preferred to remain cynical and angry at everyone, I dropped out of that exchange. Particularly troubling to me was her repeated reduction of the experience of raising a child to having sex with the kid’s father. Parenting is actually not like sex, and I don’t see how it could be possible to raise a child to go out into the world without paying attention to the dangers that child will face). It’s also hard, as a white person who gives a care, particularly before I had a child who is black, to figure out what to do with the “it’s not black peoples’ job to teach white people about racism” thing. Obviously, having to deal with racism is too much, so it’s unreasonable to expect those who do to explain that racism to someone who doesn’t. But “oh come on, you kmow it’s there” is unworkable. When you get a job, or are given the benefit of a doubt, no one tells you who wasn’t hired or had to come up with the goods that you were trusted to bring later. If you aren’t stopped unnecessarily by cops or tailed by store detectives, you don’t notice that lack of interference, unless you are informed of how often it happens to other people. As a white person who has learned about it, you can tell other white people, and just try not to hear the black people who patronizing.y and call you a do-gooder, but that can only get part of the job done, insofar as we are unlikely to know every single wrinkle. Even with my teen-age son, I’m sure there are things he’s experienced that are either so hard to put into words or so small individually that he hasn’t told me, but they are there, and they add up.

    In several of the FB groups that I’ve joined since the inauguration, I see great exchanges going on, with white women learning to think about how things their white kids can do could be dangerous for black and brown kids, and I see black women realizing for the first time that if white kids’ parents talk about race, it is by choice. Not feeling a need in one’s own life is, I find, the essence of white privileges. I have heard so many black people comments over the years insist that white people talk about black people behind closed doors that I find the recognition that that is rarely the case is a necessary corrective. So I’m glad that so many of the forums that have sprung up in the wake of the marches and in opposition to this pouts (autocorrect, more accurate than “potus” so I’m leaving it) are diverse racially and in other ways as well. I hope they are places where more and more of the sharing necessary for us to move forward together will take place.

    • Reply
      Jk
      February 19, 2017 at 4:57 am

      ^ patronizingly.
      And sorry I went so long. Couldn’t tell in the tiny window on my device.

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