There will be plenty of time in the coming days, weeks and months to do a full post-mortem on what just happened last night — exactly how and why every projection was wildly wrong, what could have been done differently, whether or not Mike Pence is a sentient Death Eater, et cetera. There are a lot of assessments that we’re not far enough removed from to truly examine.
One thing is clear, however: this is not on us. And when I say “us” I mean that on multiple levels: Communities of Color, Black People, and ultimately, my fellow Black Women.
The exit polls are in. Despite all of the fair and empirical reservations Black Women had on putting our future in a Clinton presidency for a second time, 91 percent of Black Women with a college degree voted for HRC. Without a college degree? 95% No matter how concerned we were about how vested the Democratic leadership was in tending to our interests and our issues, we fell in line and carried the load that was demanded of us — as we’ve done time and again.
Conversely, the exit numbers on White women? Madame Clinton barely got a majority of college educated women, and was damn near pushed out 2-to-1 to White women without a college degree. When you continue to slice the data around the White Woman’s vote (party fealty, religious evangelism, age, etc), you have no option but to come to the conclusion that Clinton absolutely lost the White Woman block that was assumed to be in the bag.
This bring us to the message we’ve known for quite some time. When forced to choose between race and gender lines, White Women will overwhelmingly pick race, every time. We knew it when Susan B Anthony said “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.” We knew it when a disgruntled White female college student took her case against Affirmative Action all the way to the Supreme freaking Court, even though White Women are empirically the largest beneficiaries from said Affirmative Action.
In many ways, this election was a litmus test. When faced with a choice, where would the debris fall? Black people certainly didn’t underperform at the polls. For all of the paternalistic criticism the Black and POC communities have received over the past few weeks — being told to tell Cousin Pookie to vote and berated on the futility of the 3rd party vote — we showed up at the polls and fell in line for what was perceived to be the greater good, arguably against some of our own interests. Meanwhile 66% of White women voted for racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and all around incompetence.
The verdict is in. No matter what your social media news feeds or your group chats or your brunches may imply, the fact of the matter is we are not nearly progressive as a nation as we purport to be. But that burden is not on us. We as Black people — as Black Women — don’t bear the weight of the loss. If anything, we can breathe easier as the rest of the world is being exposed to what we’ve known for over a century. That White Feminism still rests on the laurels of White Supremacy. And that’s not changing anytime soon.