Like many, I was shocked at the results on election night. However, the most surprising result of election night was not that Donald Trump won, but that 53 percent of all white female voters cast their ballot for him.
While 94 percent of Black women and 68 percent of Latina women voters cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton, more than half of white women voters supported Trump.
Before this election, I naively thought feminism was colorblind. I understood the existence of dominant white feminism and its problematic nature, but assumed that when all women were under attack, feminists from every religion, race and ethnicity would be united.
How wrong I was. No, the “diverse” sisterhood is not dead. It had never existed.
It should not be so shocking that white women voted how white men wanted them to. After all, historically it was not white women who stood by women of color as they strove to be recognized as equals in society, and continue to do so. The women’s suffrage movement may as well have had a large entry sign that read, “Non-white women need not apply.”
And as women often do — white women sacrificed their own self-interest for the interest their husbands, fathers and brothers, prolonging the preservation of white supremacy and male privilege. Many white women voted for Trump because it was politically expedient. Because they could.
It is time to understand that women of color can no longer rely on white women to fight our battles for us. We are less privileged and therefore hold less power than them and this means we will have to work twice as hard. But it is essential to understand that the fears of all women in this country are diverse as we are. White women will never have to confront those who perceive their presence in this country to be a threat. White women will never have to be victims of racist institutional policies. It is not easy being a woman, but it is even harder being a woman of color.
It is also time to recognize that internalized sexism and inherent patriarchy that underlie our society played significant roles this election. Women can still be, and quite often are, both perpetrators and victims of misogyny. When we condition women to believe that they are less than, that men’s sexually abusive attitudes are normal, then they will admire those who seek to undermine them and reject other women on the basis of these conditionings.
Although white women’s race impacted their vote, discount- ing the role that many women’s implicit, subconscious self-hatred had in this election is imprudent because who they cast their ballots for signals a larger problem — a society where women can vote, but men hold the political power because of entrenched patriarchy, which in turn keeps women’s progress and advancement at a stand-still.
Now more than ever women of color must give white women an ultimatum: you are either with us or against us. The mobilization of a new feminist movement, this time on the backs of women of color, must begin.
If not, the glass ceiling will remain unshattered.