So in between the pussy grabbing, alternate fact posturing, and Saturday Night Live nailing it (a show, BTW, that has been on the air for 42 years), I’ve been distracted by some other key facts I should be paying attention to. One is this business of the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. After the election, when the headlines popped up and the accompanying inevitable social media outcry appeared, I was pissed off. Women in general get blamed for a lot of shit, much of it involving working/not working and having children. The childless women don’t get a free pass either, so at least the women-blaming is equal. You really have to be grateful for the small things. But when one of my favorite female bloggers was talking about owning up to this complacency of white women, I had to put my hand up and say, NO.
I was having none of it (I said with my chest puffed out, and my voice rising up two octaves.) I have not been complacent–for the past 15 years, I’ve been fighting alongside my gay friends for marriage equality, signing petitions, marching with Black Lives Matter, joining anti-gun groups. Then I remembered my 4th grade teacher’s long diatribe about how disappointed he was in the class’s test grades. My grade was a 95. The Catholic guilt kicks in immediately whenever a shortcoming is highlighted. Eventually my brain poked it and said, “Hey! He’s not talking to you! Everyone else is the problem.” That works for all of 10 seconds, then the guilt reasserts itself and the nerdy data gathering begins.
Ok, 53% sounds impressive, but lots of people voted, so surely the white women totals were less impressive? If you look at the results in broader terms, yes, Donald Trump won; however, if only 50% of the eligible voters voted, and 50% voted for him, then only 25% of people want him. That made me feel better until then I then got pissed off at the non-voters. We always have to find someone to blame, right?
But in this case of the damn white women who voted for Trump and smeared my good name, the actual numbers of women voters haven’t yet been released. That’s annoying because the percentages come from somewhere, right? Someone has the damn numbers, but I can’t get to them. 53% of white women is headline grabbing, but what if it’s only a small number, like, say 100,000 white women voted, then only 53,000 white women voted for the Cheeto Flea. Then I can sleep at night knowing it wasn’t my fault. I know, I’m delusional, but that’s how math works. But since I’m a word girl and numbers make me tired, I moved on to the next phase of my soul-searching: Forget about the white women who voted for Trump. If the pussy-grabbing thing doesn’t make them throw up in their mouths, then their souls are already lost, and there is nothing I can do to help them. Cut and run, I think is the correct tactic.
So I went to the women’s march to join the women who didn’t vote for Trump. I got a much-needed rest respite and recharge, and it was totally awesome for about 4 days. Then my friend Sonia posted a New York Times article about how white the marches were. The subtitle was: “Who didn’t go to the women’s march matters more than who did.”
Damn. Here we go again with the effin’ white women thing. The article acknowledged that many speakers in the most visible marches featured women of color on stage to speak. In the actual crowds? Not so much. And then there was this hard truth: “While black women show up for white women to advance causes that benefit the entire movement, the reciprocity is rarely shown.” My friend Sonia, who is my only black friend, commented on my Facebook post about the march, “You know I support you #butitscomplicated.”
It is complicated. And it starts with me and those damn white women who voted for Trump, and those who didn’t vote for him and who, until now, have never protested a damn thing. I’m being lumped in with them, and I don’t like it, but guess what, Buttercup? The black folks are saying. “Welcome to my world of being held responsible for your race.” So, this Buttercup is sucking it up.
I can’t do anything about the women who voted for Trump. They just think I’m an Obama-loving, Hillary-supporting a-hole. But I can start with myself. I have one black friend, someone I’m met 34 years ago and who changed my life, and that’s great. But that’s not good enough.
I need to do more, and I’m still figuring out what that looks like. It’s taking some time, because in addition to my usual stress-reduction routine of gym, yoga, and meditation, I’ve had to add 15-20 minutes of random sobbing 2 to 3 times a week to deal with the constant flood of humanity-hating presidential directives. I’m a highly sensitive person. Seriously, it’s a thing–go Google Elaine Aron. I’ll blog about it sometime soon. Suffice it to say, when I’m happy, I cry. When I’m mad, I cry. When I’m sad, I cry. It’ s time-consuming. I feel other people’s emotions in addition to my own, and you all are being wicked emotional right now. It’s a wonder I can get through the day.
Anyway, the last thing Black women need is a weepy white woman at their door step in the guise of “helping.” Step 1: Get shit together. Step 2: Cry on your own time. Step 3: Nevertheless, persist.