I read a piece from Vanity Fair recently regarding misunderstood, oppressed Republican white women. In fact, typing the words “oppressed Republican white women” feels as ridiculous as the piece itself. I’m confused why the 52 percenters need a voice or feel the need to be advocated in an article to explain their perspective. Trust and believe, we know where they stand, black women in particular.
I get the impression that many of these women believe that having conservative views means that their point of view is synonymous with a Republican vote and perhaps in the golden age of Republican values that might have been the case, but in this age of 45, they are not synonymous. You can still be pro-life, Christian and believe in family values without blindly pandering to a party because that’s who your family supports or how you grew up. People will always show you exactly who they are if given enough time. In two years, Trump who still thinks he’s on a reality TV show and conducts himself accordingly, has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s a liar, supports racist ideals (note, didn’t call him a racist, but if it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck…) and has consistently made decisions not for the greater good of the country or the planet, but for the continued, unquestioning support of his sheep; a man that is supposedly anti-establishment and draining the swamp, but filled it with more gators, snakes and swamp rats that you would think Washington is a pocket of a Louisiana bayou. He is the antithesis of family values and everything conservatives stand for, yet like lambs to the slaughter, 52 percenters make no apologies or waver in their support.
What these delusional oppressed white women fail to understand, and I don’t know that they will EVER understand it, is what black women have understood since we have first been able to cast our vote—and that is sometimes, it ain’t just about us. The 52 percenters still think it’s all about them. But black women have never had the privilege of treating our vote like a high school student body election in an 80s comedy—where the guy that says what you want to hear is deemed qualified in your eyes because he pandered to your underlying bigotry and hatred and promised to build you a wall made out of pizza and said he would get Italy to pay for it. We have never been able to vote and then “let’s just wait and see how it goes” or not vote at all because we don’t “like” our choices. We have and continue to cast our votes based on the good of all and not just those who look like us. Our vote is literally life or death, for not just us, but ALL of us. Truth: there were a lot of black women that weren’t exactly fans of Hillary Clinton. In terms of likability, meh. There may have been some political missteps that we didn’t agree with, but as the saying goes, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Black women voted for her because we understood that very simple concept and that likeability and competence are not co-dependent on each other. You want a person in charge that others in charge will respect. We supported her because she was best qualified for the job. Period.
Here’s another secret that I think black women have also figured out a long time ago—that there are no political hard lines where we have to think in absolutes. Seriously, we are not a nation of Siths. So why is it that we still function that way—that if you are a Democrat and your whole family are Democrats—you can only support Democrats, or if you are Republican and your daddy was a Republican—you can only support Republicans? Our lives are far more complex than that. For example, you can be a Christian and still love and respect Muslims. You can be a cis-gendered heterosexual and still advocate and desire equality and civil rights for LGBTQ people. You can be pro-life and still respect a woman’s right to choose. You can support the 2nd amendment but know and recognize that gun reform is necessary and the answer to gun violence is NOT more guns. You can say that black lives matter and still support police officers. Human beings aren’t as basic and simplistic as the ideals of a single party, so why do the 52 percenters still vote like basics?
At the end of the day, shouldn’t we be supporting candidates that have mutual respect for the interests of us all—that function with a spirit of compromise and with ideas that will serve the greater good for the nation. This is how black women vote—not based on whether you are blue or red or represented by an elephant or a jackass—but whether or not the candidate is a person that wants to see us all rise and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be—regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, country of origin, or income.
Black women vote with empathy because, at the end of the day, it ain’t just about us—it’s about ALL of us.
Afro Bo Peep is a teacher and occasional activist/poet. Once in a while, she has opinions she will share with her cat, but the really strong ones, you can find here.