I'm 'with' Hillary Clinton, but I don't want to be
Over the last year or so, the election coverage for Hillary Clinton and the support behind her have illustrated how far we still need to go for feminism to be widely and mostly intersectional.
Intersectionality, for those who do not know or need a reminder, is the recognition of people’s intersecting identities. Additionally it is an understanding that the unique ways that each person’s identity converges is necessary to consider and question as a way to flesh out privilege and strive toward equality. For example, I am a black woman. This means I simultaneously face racism, sexism and misogynoir, the unique racist sexism aimed at black women.
As a person in a heterosexual relationship, who is educated and cisgender, I have privilege over those who are in homosexual relationships, who did not have the same access to education or who are transgender or otherwise nonbinary.
With this in mind, Hillary Clinton is not for me. And she is mostly not for people who are like me or who look like me. Clinton is for white women — specifically, wealthy white women. This makes her campaign and her would-be presidency almost wholly directed at white women as well.
While a female president is absolutely historic, the white, wealthy Washington insider that is Hillary Clinton clinching the nomination does not feel historic for me; it feels like more of the same. I do not feel the same warm fuzzies that I felt in 2008 when we (somehow) elected a black man to the presidency. While I understand that white women have been historically left out and are presently still not equal to men, consider that white women in society are still privileged over people of color.
Consider, to paraphrase a friend of mine, that white women seem to often think that women as a group are monolithic and that a white woman breaking a ceiling will make way for other women to also break that ceiling despite any historical evidence to support this belief.
For example: The 19th Amendment, along with its champions Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, is celebrated for bringing suffrage and more equal American rights to women. However, that Amendment, which was passed in 1920, gave voting rights only to white women. Black women, for example, were still black and would not have full voting rights until the 1960s. Anthony and Stanton, who are hailed as feminist heroes, were outrageously racist themselves, making speeches that called black men “sambos” and that giving them the same rights as their white male counterparts would mean the further mistreatment of white women, as they argued why white women deserved the vote over black men (notice, of course, that black women were left out of the conversation, as usual).
They were not feminist heroes; they were white feminist heroes. They did nothing for black and brown people and even went to far as to disparage them.
Hillary Clinton — who herself called minority men and gang members “super predators with no conscience or empathy” within the last two decades, who used racism and Islamophobia as tools when Barack Obama began to pull away in the 2008 presidential election, who has talked down to black women interrupting her at events to demand an explanation, who pretended that she knew what it was like to be an abuela or be Latino/a — is comparable in that way. She is not a symbolic figure for women. She is a symbolic figure for white women.
So while I am, of course, always against the trainwreck that is the Republican Party, I cannot say #ImWithHer. I’ll stick with #GirlIGuessImWithHer or #FuckTrump if forced to pick.
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