[CW: gender binary, racism]
Preface: I’m not sure how many posts I’ll make analyzing the 2020 elections through various lenses. I have at least 2 such lenses rattling around my brain, but it may unfold into a longer series. We’ll see. I’ll just keep cross-linking this little family of posts together as it takes shape. So: watch this space for more.
- Tuesday, 11/10/2020: Let’s call a thing a thing
- Wednesday, 11/11/2020: What if voter suppression impacts voting trends?
Here’s my first, unfiltered, thought upon seeing the demographic breakdown of Presidential votes by race and gender:
Good grief. America does not deserve the goodness that Black women do.
According to exit polling, the numbers are stark.
Yup, according to this, white women (in the aggregate) continue to be #HandmaidensOfThePatriarchy, complicit in maintaining a status quo where whatever crumbs of privilege we have are valuable enough for us to sell the rights of BIPOCs and LGBTQ+Americans down the river. According to this, more white women—both by percentage and by actual number—voted for the Orange Menace now in 2020 than did back in 2016.
Even if we were to do a bit of mathematical sleight of hand based on the reality that these exit polls don’t include the early and mail-in ballots, and are another emblem of the “red mirage” we all saw Tuesday night. Let’s be really generous and say that these percentages are 15 points off (just to pull a number out of thin air). That would put the percebtage of white women supporting Biden at around 58%. Better—at least it’s a majority—but still way too many white women being patriarchy’s co-conspirators in that hypothetical statistic.
In the meantime, not only did individual Black women voters turn it our for the Democratic ticket*, BIPOC women organizers played a crucial role in flipping key states (Arizona, Michigan, and, Gaia willing, Georgia). Most of us in Wypipo Country have heard mostly about Stacey Abrams and her organization Fair Fight, but Abrams herself gives much credit to a multi-racial coalition of BIPOC orgs, including Black Voters Matter, Advancing Justice Atlanta, GALEO, and The New Georgia Project.
Considering how this electoral win hinged on voter registration and voter turnout, I don’t think it’s an overstatement in the slightest to say that these BIPOC organizers are the reason that the Democratic ticket came out ahead.
And I am grateful. I am NOT, however, assuming that this organizing was a heartfelt act of service to me and mine. Instead, I have been sitting with the truth of this observation by Wagatwe Wanjuki:
White women, we need to do better. Here’s a couple bits of suggested reading to get started:
- Chapter 7, “Nice White People,” in I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown.
- Chapter 11, “White Women’s Tears,” in White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo
* Please notice that the percentages represented in the exit polls kind of destroy my mathematical exercise re: a possible “red mirage” in the exit polling. (91 + 15 = 106)
- Black women leading the way: Johnny Silvercloud on Wikimedia Commons, via a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.
- Exit polling chart: The New York Times.