Last evening was a history making moment for women in the United States. There are more women serving in Congress in the same than ever before, including 20 from the Senate and at least 98 at the House.
1 thing that stayed the same? White women voters.
The majority of us understand the statistic: 52% of white women helped elect Donald Trump into the presidency at 2016. But there was hope, in the aftermath of Trump's rollback of reproductive rights, his mockery of Christine Blasey Ford, along with his hateful rhetoric towards female colleagues like Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, that there might be, even if not a sea change, then at the very least a rogue wave disrupting the ideology of white women.
In the exceptionally close Senate race in Texas involving Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O'Rourke, it was white women who helped clinch the vote for Cruz. In a vote that broke along racial lines, 59 percent of white women elected a man who has consistently voted not only against their interests but who has done so by aligning himself closely with the anti-immigrant, racist hate mongering of Donald Trump. By comparison, 95 percent of Black women voted for O'Rourke.
In the still too-close-to-call Georgia governor's race, 76% of white women who voted did so for Republican Brian Kemp compared to 97% of Black women who voted for Stacey Abrams. Abrams hasn't surrendered the election, stating that,"Around our state, folks are opening up the fantasies of voters in absentee ballots, and we think our opportunity to get a stronger Georgia is only within reach. But we can't seize it until all voices are heard."
Again and again, white women have revealed that they vote against their gender and with their race. This is not to say that all women should vote as a bloc - a few are pro-life and second amendment and put less significance on other problems like child care and spiritual, as is their best. But at a time once the disrespect for women coming from the highest political office in the property is real and awful, the overwhelming disconnect of white women's voting patterns appears baffling. And thus the question becomes, why do white women voteover and over, for political structures which reinforce a white male hierarchy in the direct cost of women and people of colour?
Historically, married white women who vote with their husbands depend financially on their union and for that reason it benefits them to maintain a status quo that protects male partners. However, this demographic is not the only one holding rear race and gender parity. "To the degree which white progressives believe we've arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others view us as having arrived," she writes.
That's to say that that many educated and innovative white women still gain from the governmental and economic systems in place that deny power and agency to people of colour. To say that you encourage female candidates of colour is a very different thing from mobilizing behind a candidate of colour. It's very different than recognizing that the unique place women of colour have to affect actual political change themselves, rather than needing somebody to"rescue" them.
The inherent benefits of becoming a white woman - which might comprise, in addition to sources, access to a community of other white women - could be a few of their most valuable tools for organizing and mobilizing behind candidates of colour, getting them elected, and dismantling an unequal status quo. As for a lot of last night's gains, there's a extraordinary amount of change that has to happen in this nation.
But white women, like me, should choose to harness that power so as to lift up others.