Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not All Women Won The Right to Vote Today

It never fails to surprise me how dedicated some White women are to the creation and support of a monolithic woman.   The bullshit concept of sisterhood, allows them to position themselves as the norm and center women's activism around their needs and accomplishments. The fact that this means that WOC are routinely erased, is something we are supposed to ignore, because White women standing on our shoulders to break through glass ceiling is apparently natural.  Of course, they don't mean to be White supremacist douche bags, their narcissism just makes it difficult for them to recognize their douchebaggery. Sisterhood has never meant the uplift of all women; it has always meant making the White woman the equal of the White man. Oh, close your mouth, there is nothing controversial about what I am saying unless you are a closet bigot.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives  "marks today's 90th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote":
There is nothing more wholesome than the participation of women in the political process. When women gain in numbers in elected representation, when more women engage in the political process, women gain in influence--and that means greater advancement for America's women and families.

As we mark the 90th anniversary of a woman's right to vote–and Equality Day–we should be celebrating this right to vote. While you may not be casting votes in Congress, you can cast a vote in national, state and local elections. And the more women that participate, the more progress for many people in our country.
Can we all just admit that admit that today as the 90th anniversary of women's right to vote is an absolute crock of shit.  If all women were allowed to vote, would the 1965 Voting Rights Act have been necessary?  White women weren't being forced to take literary tests or pay ridiculous poll taxes. These White women seem to think that ignoring the Jim Crow south is not at all problematic. I suppose there was no need for Lyndon Johnson to sign the bill -- after all White women were making themselves heard, you know the women that really matter - why consider the millions of disenfranchised WOC?  1920 was a magical year for White women.

I suppose the fact that their First Nations sisters were not considered citizens until 1924, when congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act, thus granting First Nation's sisters the possibility of suffrage is also unimportant.  Hey, isn't that already four years after women got the vote? It is also important to note, that it wasn't until Utah granted the right of  First Nations people to vote in 1956, that all First Nations people were officially granted nationwide suffrage.  For those keeping count, that is 36 years after women gained the right to vote.

In 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act barred people of Chinese ancestry from becoming American citizens. Can you guess what else they could not do? These means generations of Chinese Americans, born on U.S. soil were denied suffrage and citizen rights.  In 1922, the Supreme Court ruled, in Takao Ozawa v. United States, that people of Japanese heritage were not eligible to become naturalized citizens and in 1925, Filipinos were barred from citizenship, unless they have served three years in the U.S. Navy. Gotta love that last one, risk your life for us and then you can have citizenship.  Of course, all these groups contained WOC and despite the 19th Amendment, they were not voting--  but you won't hear elite White women mention this when they celebrate their achievement. The Chinese Exclusion act was not repealed until... drum roll please.... 1943.  Hey, isn't that 23 years after women had the right to vote?  And in even more appalling news, it wasn't until 1946 that Filipinos and indigenous people from India become eligible for U.S. citizenship. I know my math is rusty, but doesn't that  add up to 26 years, since the passing of the 19th amendment? 

Okay, that about covers race, but of course there were other factors keeping women from voting.  I don't know if these elitist able bodied women realize it or not, but there have long been structural barriers preventing women from voting.  Do you think in 1920, when all women supposedly got the right to vote, that stairs to enter a building would  be enough to bar a woman from entering the building to cast her ballot?  Gee, I wonder what happened to women that were blind?  While Pelosi is busy pushing women to vote, I wonder how many women with disabilities face structural limitations that make it either impossible or extremely difficult to vote?  I guess they don't matter, because we are really only celebrating able bodied White woman of privilege today aren't we? 

None of the facts that I listed in this piece are difficult to discover, and this is especially true in the era of Google, but again -- why bother to learn accurate women's history, when we can promote the hegemony of Whiteness and able bodied people, while claiming gender as the great universalizing  agent. When Hilary Clinto ran for president, White women were all aglow and many routinely expressed confusion, as well as overt racism when WOC supported Obama. Where was our vagina solidarity when they demanded it?  White women also displayed their anger at Oprah Winfrey, when she refused to have that windbag Sarah Palin on her show, during the elections. Apparently, they made her and thought that they could break her. Honestly, the list of White female racism is far too much for one post, but I think that the very idea that they are above manipulation and are only working for the good of womankind is ABSURD.  I think instead of calling this women's equality day (because it isn't) we should call this White, able bodied woman's day, or even White, myopic, abliest racist White woman day. Of the two I think I prefer the latter.