The day after Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States millions of Americans took to the streets. The Women’s March was reported to be the largest single-day protest in American history. For a moment, one could be forgiven for feeling a tinge of optimism and hope amid the tragedy of the election. As the protests unfolded there was one image that reminded the world of the reality, present even among the pink pussy hats of the Women’s March, that of a Black woman holding a sign that stated a simple fact: white women voted for Trump. The picture enraged white people across the nation as whiteness did what it always does: mystifies truth and obfuscates reality.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon, October 5th, 2018. Susan Collins, after much hand wringing and feigning empathy, announced that she would support the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. It was a reminder of just how powerful and compelling whiteness is. For example, only 11% of black people supported the confirmation of Kavanaugh and 30% of Latinx people, however, joining with 59% of white men, 45% of white women supported Kavanaugh’s appointment with 9% undecided. When presented with the choice of appointing Kavanaugh, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault by multiple women, and knowing the reality that 1/3rd of women have been sexually assaulted or raped, knowing that rate of false accusations-especially against white men- is absurdly small, Collins, along with the more than 45% of white women, choose to uphold whiteness and give in to patriarchy.
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