i’m one of many black folks, women especially, who did a choreographed praise dance with the release of solange’s new album, a seat at the table. thanks to the most high for this unapologetic ode to blackness. this week though, it feels like a soundtrack to our pain.
solange’s soft voice crooning, “i’m weary of the ways of the world,” completely captures my feelings about donald trump winning the 2016 presidential election.
we woke up wednesday morning to a country that allowed misogyny, patriarchy, xenophobia and white supremacy to win the highest seat in the land. however, america didn’t change overnight. oppression has been here since this land was colonized — the majority of voting white americans just publicly cosigned it.
as we struggle to make sense of a narrowing definition of humanity, here are five key takeways for black women from the 2016 election:
we held hillary clinton the fuck down. 93% of black women’s votes were cast for the former secretary of state, making us by far her strongest voting block. surprisingly, our votes for hillary even exceeded white women’s. this type of undying support, even in light of her questionable positions on racial equality, has historical roots.
from caring for the missus to birthing and raising her children to our later plight as domestic workers, we’ve nurtured whiteness in both literal and symbolic forms. even michelle obama played a major role in drumming up support for hillary, bringing down the house at the democratic national convention with an original speech. we attempted to save this country from itself, but couldn’t do it alone.
the only susan we acknowledge is taylor. it’s a wonder my eyes aren’t permanently stuck after all the side eyes i gave the tweets celebrating susan b. anthony and her cronies. first, let’s be clear about the intersection of racial and gender oppression. black women were routinely denied the right to vote after the 19th amendment passed in 1920 — we had to fight hard against disfranchisement for an additional fifty years in some states. in fact, black folks had been thrown to the wolves by many suffragists like susan b. anthony who perpetuated racist rhetoric in order to get the amendment passed.
today, the suffragist movement has been completely white washed with black women like ida b. wells and sojourner truth virtually erased from mainstream american history. just as black feminists are still widening the narrative around misogyny, sexism, racism and other forms of oppression, they were the trailblazers demanding we too have a seat at the table.
our bodies are not our own. with a president-elect who bragged about sexually assaulting women, the message about patriarchy and women’s lack of bodily autonomy is loud and clear. trump’s leadership not only entrenches rape culture, but will potentially erode the fragile gains made by the reproductive justice movement. his position on getting roe vs. wade ruled unconstitutional isn’t an idle threat — he’ll have no trouble filling anton scalia’s supreme court seat with a conservative given a republican controlled congress.
any restriction on access to reproductive healthcare has the greatest impact on women of color, especially black women. with such a large part of our population facing economic burdens and living under state anti-abortion laws, the right to control our bodies continues to be restricted by mostly white men.
kamala harris gives us something to celebrate. california attorney general, kamala harris, is only the second black woman to be elected to the us senate. a political powerhouse, she could be our next presidential candidate. let’s not forget her hard fought victory and sheer dopeness in the face of hillary clinton’s stunning defeat. matter of fact, start saving your coins now to donate to kamala’s 2020 presidential campaign.
we got work to do. lucile clifton said, “won’t you celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me, but has failed.” even though the next four years may look bleak, we won’t cower to this power structure. we’ve always had a spirit of resistance and resilience, and it must be magnified.
whether it’s getting active in your child’s school’s pta, having more transparent conversations with those around you about black cis and trans women’s collective needs, demanding fair treatment at work or using our respective platforms to advocate for change, we all have a responsibility. donald trump becoming the president of the united states of america isn’t the end. it’s just the beginning.
sending you peace and love as we process this bullshit. be gentle with yourself in the face of the recent struggle. like solange, “i’m gonna look for my glory yeah. i’ll be back real soon.”
next we resist.