When Will White Women Step Up?

I am not surprised, but still unbelievably heartbroken by the Senate’s decision to confirm Brett Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court. In which four women have come forward with sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. The confirmation is further proof that our country will never make an effort to care, listen, or believe survivors of sexual assault. Even with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s brave and credible testimony, that still wasn’t enough to stop a sexual predator from being approved into the highest position of power in the judicial branch in this country.

As an angry liberal feminist killjoy, it’s easy for me to be mad at white men in this country, as they stay silent on this issue and are the main reason why Kavanaugh is in this prestige position of power in the first place. But there is an identity of people that made me more angry and disappointed than any of the Mitch McConnell's and Lindsey Grahams of this country, people that match with some of my own personal forms of identity, white women.

Patriarchy is a dangerous place for all women, and the marginalization of women begins once the parents of the child find out the sex is female; before they’re even born. But there are certain aspects of identity that all women are born with that differ from each other, some of which have more privilege than others. Race is one of them, and we have lived under this myth that white womanhood is the epitome of all womanhood for centuries. When it comes to class, positions of power, beauty, mannerisms, and behaviors.

The feminist movement has been a movement led by the backs of women of color, but have been manipulated by the evils of white feminism and the racism that comes with it. The hierarchies that white women have benefited from by ushering white men into power. The belief they have that the closer they get to the patriarchy, the more guarantees that it will protect them. What they don’t realize is that it proves time and time again they don’t, just ask Dr. Ford.

Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) had the opportunity to be a hero and be the deciding “no” vote on Kavanaugh. Saving the country from having a rapist in Congress, leaving the countless sexual assault survivors relieved, that a country would finally choose survivors over abusers for once. But Collins chose whiteness over womanhood in a “yes” vote that has marked her in history as a traitor to the numerous sexual assault survivors who have to watch yet another sexual predator being ushered into power.

What Collins did was not just choosing patriarchy and whiteness over the battle cries of women like Dr. Ford, but an act of cowardice. Ignoring people of her own identity and trading it in for a patriarchal power that she will most likely never get close too. It’s what many white women have done in the past, since they ignore issues related to women of color since it doesn’t resonate with them. It shows in the voting pattern that white women have followed for as long as this country has been just. In the 2016 election, 53% of white women voted for accused sexual assaulter Trump, and 63% of white women voted for accused sexual predator Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama Senate race.

It confuses me, just as much as it infuriates and disappoints me, that white women continue to be following this pattern of being a big reason why sexual predators are still in power in our government. It is the comfort that white women have of being white that drives them to uphold white supremacy, which means supporting the patriarchy as well.

I am not saying all white women are part of these percentages, but none of us are innocent. The other day a photo of a poem with the word “scream” crossed out and replaced for the word “vote” went viral, without realizing that it was a woman of color’s work that a white woman had stolen and credited herself for it to further her own agenda. The woman, a poet by the name of Jasmin Kaur, was infuriated by the fact that “white feminists are colonizing my poem about Sikh women.” The same goes for Alyssa Milano, who started the #MeToo hashtag online, unaware that it was Tarana Burke, a black woman who started the movement 11 years prior.

We cannot rely on the backs of women of color to be our superheroes and clean-up crew while we do merely nothing. We have had the privilege of ignoring topics such as racism, police brutality, homophobia, etc. Intersectionality is key, and studying it, and learning about how other women experience misogyny different from us will help us grow. Making spaces for women of color to lead and organize the modern day feminist movements. Engaging in the experiences of women of color without silencing or colonizing their work. The face of feminism is black, latinx, indigenous, asian, queer, and disabled.

We won’t change this voting pattern until we check our privilege and include women of color in feminist spaces. Checking our privilege and realizing our experiences are not the same. We will never stop sexual predators from being ushered into power until white women hear the voices of women of color’s experiences on sexual assault, who a more likely to be assaulted than white women. Women are never going to progress as human beings until white feminism and white supremacy are dead.