My Problem with The White Feminist Reaction to the Presidential Election

BY: JANELL ROBERTS

I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class last Wednesday, or that Thursday or that Friday. Donald J. Trump was the president-elect. I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat. I knew I wouldn’t be able to study for that big test. Trump was going to be president. Trump was elected by millions of Americans.

What happens to people like me? Where would marginalized groups, religious and ethnic minorities, go from here? Who was going to teach Trump about his own ignorance that many black people in America do not live in the inner cities?  

Who was going to tell the Muslim girl that she was stunning with her hijab, because it brought out the beautiful features of her face? Who would protect her when her hijab was pulled off of her head by a bigot, because Trump said we needed to "ban them" if they didn’t follow American customs?

Who was going to hug the Hispanic girl as she weeped about how her parents worked extra shifts to put them through a school that cost $60,000 a year? Who was going to tell her that her family's hard work was respected? 

What was going to happen to black people like me, or the Muslim girl in my class or the Hispanic girl I called my best friend? 


I thought they were my friends

I wondered how the white women I called friends and invited over for family dinners could vote for Trump. Back home, I taught white female friends how to braid their hair and explained to them why the texture of my hair always made my braids stay in place.

I wondered how some of my white male friends could vote for Trump when I helped them understand what “Bye Felicia” really meant. I wondered how they could vote for Trump when I helped them understand the harmful effects of cultural appropriation. For instance, Urban Outfitters sells bamboo earrings for $16; my momma used to buy those for a buck at a local black-owned hair store. 

I wondered how some of my friends could vote for Donald Trump, a man who was willing to disregard my thoughts as if the atoms that made my bones didn’t matter.

Susan B. Anthony is only a hero to white feminists

“Hillary didn’t win,” they said. “It's obvious we have a huge sexism problem,” said my white feminist friend. 

I felt my heart stop and tears fall down into the curls of my lips. I wondered how sexism could be their number one concern post-election when racism was the number one thing on my mind. 

I saw people on social media quoting Susan B. Anthony and pressing “I voted” stickersagainst her tombstone to show gratitude. They said Susan would be “hurt” by the results of the election.

I was sick and confused. Anthony once 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.” I wondered how some white feminists could make the election about them. I wondered how white women, who benefit from affirmative action more than any other demographic, could believe that their feminism was more important than the racism we have in this world. 

Some feminists will say that Hillary Clinton failed because women didn’t vote for her. In reality, Clinton failed because some white people didn’t vote for her. Clinton failed because white women chose their race over their gender and white feminists like Anthony said it was okay to do so. 

White feminists fail to recognize that more than 90 percent of black women voted for Clinton while only 43 percent of white women supported the Democratic candidate. White feminists fail to realize that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump.  

It pains me that people who look like me are forced to reflect on their sadness in silence. Privileged people will never understand that Anthony was a racist who believed that she was more superior than a "Negro." I’m upset Anthony has encouraged women to choose their gender over marginalized groups, because the color of their skin allows them to do so. 

That’s when I knew that being fake–woke existed. Everyone who I thought loved me thought their gender was more important than my blackness.

Cover: (G.E. Perine/WikiMedia Commons)