Patriarchy’s Spoils

White women need to follow the lead of women of Color

7 mins read

In my parents’ lifetimes, interstate travel was restricted and deadly for Black folk. Crossing state lines was a threat to their lives. Unfortunately, the same people who created and sustained that system are now extending it beyond Black folk to white women who may be pregnant.

Refusing to confront who and what this nation is and what it has done to Black people is directly related to what it is now choosing to do to white women. Refusing to align with Black, Latina, Asian, Jewish, and Indigenous women — as a majority — is the worst political and social choice white women continue to make.

You’ve always got “next” whether you know or acknowledge it. The only thing protecting you is time. And that clock has always been ticking, loudly, but while we’ve heard it and warned you, you considered us the enemy and not the alarm. Just like there’s a nuclear doomsday clock that inches ever forward, there’s always been that same clock ticking the countdown to you losing your “temporary” rights … just like for us. We have fought and voted to reduce harm to us AND you. But you’ve ridiculed us and voted to harm US.

Now? You’re seeing the damage your decades of voting as a majority with white men has done. They’ve never had your interests. We’ve told you but you only listened to them. Even now, with all that’s happened since the Tea Party, the January 6 insurrection, and the Supreme Court’s three religious extremists destroying abortion laws, we’re still sadly expecting you to have lackluster turnout in the midterms and vote heavily Republican during the next presidential election. We don’t want that to happen but if you survey folks, there’s not a lot of confidence voting patterns will change.

There’s a popular political saying that goes: White people can fix this country whenever they want. Vote out Republicans. It’s really simple.

Every voting demographic votes majority Democrats except white men and women. If one of you changed, the nation would leap into the future.

I think Black and Latina women are so hard on white women because it seems more likely that white women are or should be open to changing voting habits because they, like other women, have so much to gain. That’s why we rarely see the constant push for white men to do better — most seem pretty hopeless and incapable of changing how they vote. They have voted majority Republican since civil rights laws were put into place in the 1960s. Once a Democratic-led government decided that Black people had rights, white men, and to a slightly lesser degree white women, decided that they could not vote with or for Democrats.

Read that again.

But also, Black and Latino men really don’t care enough to try to convert white men, preferring to sit back and watch Black and Brown women do all the heavy lifting. It’s not lost that a significant number of Black and Brown men don’t try to convert white men because many of us want what they have: absolute power over women.

That part isn’t confronted nearly enough. And it is why there’s an active plan in the GOP to strip away Black men from the Democrats, and the GOP has seen marginal success over the past few elections. It’s because as patriarchy’s stepchildren, Black and Latino men want our share of patriarchy’s spoils.

If we went half as hard at white men as Black, Latina, Indigenous, and Asian women go at white women … who knows? Maybe we’d peel away a voter or two or more.

I think it’s a blind spot for the party to not effectively counterattack the GOP by targeting white men in the same way the GOP targets Black men. They know they won’t get most but they’re content to get a percentage point or three. Increments, it seems, can be effective.

But let’s be clear that this isn’t a call to target angry murderous white men, Oath Keepers, and insurrectionists. It is a call to target white men who can still be reasoned with and who in the past would have been considered “moderate” Republicans.

That’s not to say the constant pressures on white women should stop because that demographic remains the “most likely” due to shared real-time interests. A two-pronged attack to siphon away GOP voters seems the best course. And it is not lost on me that Democrats are forced to spend so much time shoring up our left flank and our apathetic center even with our very democracy on the line. Those unfortunate but unnecessary efforts prevent other types of much needed outreach and targeting.

A lot of energy and money is spent on white voters who want to be courted nonstop. They complain of “messaging” and want their single-vote issue worked on exclusively, while Black folk strongly and consistently vote Democratic because messaging works for folks who understand the assignment.

Vote like us — Black, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian voters — and watch the nation thrive. Vote like you always have and continue to see and get what you’ve been seeing and getting.


© 2022 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.

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