White Women and the White Men who Abuse us All

Being a southern woman, I had a lot of negative feelings watching Kayla Moore stand in front of her husband who was standing in front of a ginormous American flag while she scrunched her face into a classic bless your heart smile and then leaned forward as if talking to a child and said, “Our attorney is a Jewww,” with a quick blink, like a symbolic gesture that she is shutting the book on anything further about the subject.

I have dealt with this type of woman my whole life and boy howdy she is not someone you want to find yourself in a dialogue with. It will go nowhere, fast, and you will be faced with the equivalent of having a teenage daughter who gives you a snide lol(!!) as a response to anything you have to say.

But Kayla Moore does not only represent southern women who have frustrated me to no end, she represents the white women across the country who continue to vote against our interests no matter how horribly low the white men go.

In fact, Nearly two-thirds of white women in Alabama voted for accused child molester, and Kayla’s husband, Roy Moore.

We must fix this. We cannot expect the #metoo movement to move mountains unless we are all willing to put our shoulders into the rock and push — without exception — against men who sexually harass or assault or abuse other women. In fact, as white women we ought to feel compelled to push harder in order to relieve some of the weight Black women have borne far too long without us.

As a white woman who comes from the rural South, I understand conservative values even when I do not agree with them. I get how issues that I vehemently oppose makes sense to Republican friends who are also women. But I cannot understand how we continue to vote for these abusive men.

My cousin is a smart medical professional. An echocardiographer, and also a LBGT woman in the rural South. She is someone who has always perplexed me when it comes to her support of white men who push policies that would limit her rights, but never have I been more baffled than when I saw she was fully supporting Trump. When I asked her why, she wrote, “I find it refreshing that for once our President is actually doing what he promised on the campaign trail. The raw and brutal honesty with which Trump carries out everything he does excites and motivates me.”

But, there is so little that is honest about this President, and yet she remains steadfast, “I am for the most part extremely satisfied with his work so far. I don’t believe in everything he has on his plate but I am willing to make the necessary sacrifices for the good of the whole,” she said.

I think this kind of compartmentalization helps to explain why white women vote the way they do. If their identity is Republican, they are willing to give up their own self-interest in order to keep these men in power. Because of a blend of religion and nationalism, and of course straight racism.

“By the numbers, the election in Alabama shows that white women are more likely to side with their race, religion and abortion stance than they are with their gender. No amount of concern about what Moore might do to their own teenage daughter was able to override white women’s conviction that a righteous, Republican man of God can do no wrong,” wrote Lucy Diavlo in Teen Vogue.

Without delving into psycho-analysis about abused women and our tendencies toward the men who abuse us, the best explanation I have is that at heart it truly is about maintaining as much power as possible, even if that means maintaining our own imprisonment. In other words, it is mostly about racism.

There was a wave of shock that traveled through women who had once supported Bernie Sanders, and those who had been for Clinton all along, after it became clear other white women had helped elect the self-proclaimed and oh-so-proud pussy grabber.

In The New Republic, Sukjong Hong said, “It seems that all the talk about Trump’s treatment of women turning women voters away from him may have just been some wishful thinking.”

The time has passed for wishful and magical thinking and the time is here for saying and doing.

Tina Fey faced a lot of criticism after her cake skit on Saturday Night Live. Mostly fair criticism, especially when it comes to her racial blind-spots that have shown up before — Including her portrayals of different ethnicities in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. There is a smart piece on Fey by Mallika Rao over at Vice.

But whether it’s because I’m a total fangirl (I am) or because I am white (I am) I was able to laugh out loud at the cake skit. I saw the cake as an edible expression of the kind of hopelessness and despair most of us have fallen into more than once since Trump’s election.

I would also point to something Fey said only a few months earlier, something that sharply contradicts the cluelessness she was accused of in August.

“The thing that I keep focusing on is the idea that we sort of need to hold the edges, that it’s sort of like a lot of this election was turned by kinda white college-educated women who would now maybe like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV.”

Or, eating cake?

But Fey also said, “I would want to urge them to like, you can’t look away, because it doesn’t affect you this minute, but it’s going to affect you eventually,” and this is where I begin to separate from her sentiments.

White women should look directly at the decaying body of our country, instead of using all that privilege to look at shiny things, simply because the stink might just come for us someday.

White women should be fully engaged — and should especially be voting against men who are sexual predators — because whether we are in the boat already or clinging to the edge with dear lives, we have a free hand and our sisters of color are still in the water.

It is becoming increasingly clear that it’s an imperative for us to do right by them, instead of first protecting the men who protect all that white privilege we are simply born with.

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