We’ve come a long way but we’re not there yet #intersectionalanalysisneeded

h-clinton-concession-speech-400x267Like Sam said yesterday, we’re not American. This was not our election. But we are feminists. And we couldn’t escape the news on social and regular media through the long US election campaign. And the U.S. is the sleeping elephant that we live beside — when it rolls over, we feel it. I know this is a fitness blog (and a feminist blog), and tomorrow we’ll return to our regular content. But may we request your indulgence to allow us to sit with this astonishing election result for one more day?

Because it wasn’t my election, I didn’t post much about it at all on social media until election day. But on election day I realized I was feeling quite emotional in the morning at the very prospect that a woman would have a chance at the White House. And at that point, things were looking fairly good for Hillary Clinton, if the polls were to be believed (we know how that went).

But there were a few things about all of this that didn’t quite resonate, and that’s partly because I was also interacting with women of color in a closed group I belong to on social media. Many of the women weren’t quite as enthusiastic about the whole pantsuit thing, for example. They also struggled with the racist history of the suffragettes, who are known to have advocated almost entirely for white women only. And there were others in my circles, not just that circle, who despite their unwillingness to vote for Trump, experienced a great deal of ambivalence towards Hillary Clinton for a variety of reasons, some more politically relevant than others.

All that holds true and yet, and yet, and yet. The news of a Trump presidency came to me as a devastating blow. I felt it as an endorsement of racism, misogyny, sexual assault, ableism, xenophobia, hatred towards LGBTQ community members, immigrants, refugees, Muslims.

Most of all, I felt it as a kick in the gut, experienced as a feeling of being “put in our place.” Whatever reservations any of my friends and acquaintances had, none had wanted this result. Despite it not being my election, it feels deeply personal in some ways that I don’t yet quite understand. I feel as if the bottom line is that there are people in America who have been so appalled to have an African American man as President, his family living in the White House, and those same people thought, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a woman follow after him.” It was a message not just to Clinton, but equally to Obama and to anyone who was brazen enough to think that there was real change afoot.

The most emotionally compelling commentary I’ve heard so far (I confess I’ve not been able to expose myself to much) was from Van Jones on CNN, who talked about what we tell kids and about racism as a driving force behind this outcome. If you missed his remarks, please check them out here.

But the piece of news that caused me the most despair was the headline, “More white women voted for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton.


Between this news and Jones’ commentary, it confirmed for me what has become abundantly clear over the past while: feminism cannot move forward without an intersectional analysis. When more white women vote for Trump than for Clinton, that says to me that white women can somehow overlook the misogyny (I don’t quite get it) but don’t need to concern themselves with his racism. This is why a simple gender analysis is never going to be good enough.

African American women did not let down Hillary’s team — 94% voted for her. 56% of  white women who voted went for Trump. What was it? Complacency?

I don’t delude myself that this type of thing cannot happen here in Canada. Right now many of us are happy with our young and energetic white male Prime Minister. But nationalist movements gain momentum as they excite the popular imagination of people who feel as if they’re losing their grasp on what’s “rightfully theirs.” Canada isn’t immune.

As Clinton said in her speech to her supporters the day after the election, this defeat hurts. The glass ceiling has not yet been shattered. And it seemed so attainable. But if the day is going to come, white voters especially need a deeper appreciation of the stakes.

11 thoughts on “We’ve come a long way but we’re not there yet #intersectionalanalysisneeded

  1. I have no idea if my attitude is typical, but here are a couple of thoughts from my perspective (fiscal conservative, social liberal):
    – Ms. Clinton was a weak candidate. Neither her platform nor her personality appealed to me. My support for her was more “anti-Trump” than pro-anything.
    – A Clinton presidency would have guaranteed more gridlock and acrimony. I think most Americans were weary of the childish behavior of our Congress. Not her fault, but nothing would have changed.
    – Under Obama, a lot of social change has occurred very fast. There was certain to be backlash from the conservative side of society. I don’t think much of it was anti-woman. It was more reaction to the idea that certain social groups are “taking over” (as has been said to me).

    Yes, social progress has suffered a setback. The good news is that we have another say in two years, and in four. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to those who are driving the changes. Whether it was complacency or weariness, it wasn’t time to assume total victory.

    1. Thanks for this. From what I’ve heard, those midterm elections in two years are going to be very closely watched and could have an enormous impact.

  2. The Clintons have been in the public eye for a very long time and many saw them as a package deal. To me Bill Clinton has certainly acted in a misogynistic manner in the manner he treated the various woman he associated with…..he was just more slick about it. Hillary Clinton said she’d “crucify” one of Bill’s dalliances. Hillary Clinton didn’t care that Monica Lewinsky’s life was essentially destroyed. I certainly didn’t want to see Bill’s face in the White House any more than I wanted to see Trumps face. I could not vote for either Trump or Clinton. That being said I did not expect Trump to win. I voted for Jill Stein.

    Both of my children attended an elementary school with a higher level of minorities than other schools in the area I live in. As someone who was hopeful about an Obama presidency in regards to education, I saw no trickle down effect from Obama’s education policies that benefited kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    The affordable care act was a disappointment. People like my sister are really no closer to getting what they need. She has a high deductible plan. I suppose if something catastrophic happens to her she has some coverage. She simply can’t afford to seek out mental health treatment or treatment for her alcoholism.

    I can’t speak for all voters, I’m just incredibly cynical about what the government can or cannot do for me. i don’t believe the promises anymore. I’d move to Canada but my coworkers tell me that it isn’t all that easy to become a citizen.

    I’m a socially liberal person as well. Not sure where I stand with regards to being financially conservative. I do know my husband and I worked our behinds off last year to provide for the needs of our family. We wrote a check to the IRS for $3000…this is in addition to the taxes that were already withheld from our paychecks. It was $3000 we had no idea we would end up owing. Our oldest child started college this fall. That $3000 would have been nice to give to her instead.

    This is a bit of a rant, just one American’s point of view.

    1. Thanks for this. Definitely these are difficult political times. I wonder whether the whole system is broken. Electoral reform is a huge topic of discussion in Canada.

  3. The problem of now having a U.S. Prez who is often misyogonistic, racist in his remarks several times, has unpredictable behaviour, no clear long term strategy to help all in the U.S… is that now he is leader of one of the world’s powerful countries (China is on that list, make no mistake), gives legitimacy for others in Canada to start espousing same rhetoric in Canada.

    I’ve participated in a male -dominant cycling forum of primarily Americans…past 10 years. Interesting to compare to the female dominant cycling women’s forum where I’ve been for over 10 years also. Several women having expression sadness, frustration in ways quite deep, compared to the men. The thoughtful male participants are those who have travelled outside of U.S. several times or have lived across the U.S./overseas.

    Or their family backgrounds is not 100% Anglo-SAxon, with parents who have been immigrants to the U.S.

    However, remember that nowadays with so much disinformation on the Internet, that Trump’s consistent mean lies, just become part of all the dross that people start believing lies, without checking out additional sources of info.

    I was abit disturbed in Aug. 2016, when I met a young cycling woman in her late 20’s or so from upper NY state to visit her grandmother here in Canada where I live. She was homeschooled her whole life and comes from a strongly Christian background. She seemed to hestitate about Trump but didn’t condemn his behaviour. … The latter is what got me. WE had a pleasant cycle and coffee together. I really like her.

    It’s good people like her, baffle me who could be easily pushed to support Trump.

  4. Simply put, WE as white women for so many reasons listed above could not stand her, her politics, her lying. Both were horrible candidates but to vote for her simply she would be a women in office would be a disgrace. Someday we will have a women president. Thankfully it was not her who represented us. Sorry you don’t live here so you don’t know the horrible years ( 25 plus ) of her lying, stealing as a ” servant in office.” ( like the white house china, such a minor infraction) . Let alone laughing when she as a lawyer got a pedophile off from jail time from raping a 12 year old girl !We “white women” had enough.

    1. Fact checkers actually conclude that she is one of the more honest politicians. I mean, just in the first debate alone she lied at a rate of 13% to Donald Trump’s 58%, and even then there are differences between ‘tweaking’ the truth and blatantly lying with no care for integrity or honour. I’m not supporting the way politicians talk, but I find it odd that people are so consumed by her lying that they’ll readily look over Trump’s. I mean he’s already ignoring the pleas of protestors and calling them ‘professionals’. And he ‘wants’ unity? This is how fascism starts.

      As an outsider, I think a lot of people – white women included – are now trying to justify their President elect to the world by explaining why they didn’t like Hillary. I’d rather hear why you thought Trump was better. But then again, I haven’t heard a single logical reason to vote for Trump and yet here we are.

      1. Everyone has a different opinion . I respect yours as an outsider. Your post said you wanted to know why or how a white women could vote for trump . This election was about the voting for the better of the two evils(sadly). If you read my post , I said BOTH candidates were horrible! Sad time in America. Lucky for you, you did not have to vote. I did. But truthfully, I respect and understand why my mom voted for Hillary and my dad for Trump. Until you have to walk in my shoes, lest not throw the stone. Hope you never do. You said you wanted to understand how & why more than half the ” white” women could cast a ballot. There’s your answer. I have stated out of all political conversations for this reason. It becomes a battle for opposing ideas to win over the other side . That is why the rule is never discuss politics & religion. HAHA! also why casting a ballot is done in private because it can divide a household -as this election has. You are a lucky Canadian!

  5. By the way the protestors are being funded by George Soros, He is a billionaire & funded the Ferguson riots. Google it. May be true – may not be. But something to think about.

    1. I totally want to say “hey that’s your prerogative and I respect your decision,”, but I can’t. There are decades of progress for women and minorities that are going to be rewritten, and you don’t cry for it? I’m not Canadian, I’m a New Zealander. Women here had the vote 27 years before American women. We’ve already had two female prime ministers in power. “We as white women”? From my perspective, it is the ultimate sign of white privilege that woman, well anyone, has chosen emails (non criminal) over sexual-assault, ultimate bigotry, endorsement by the KKK, no political service or military service, a man with hypocritical views who can’t chose a single stance that reflects a modern, united country. Basically white woman have said “we want to go back to the 1950s because we don’t really like that woman representing us”. Phew! We have a problem.

      And funded or not, that protesting is real. What else are you willing to deny or distort for the sake of cleaning your hands?

      I apologise for coming across so angry, but I am. I’m furious. I watch as a man endorsed by the KKK is graciously welcomed into the Oval Office by a black man. I watch as Martin Luther king’s bust overlooks Trump has he mumbles some words about uniting this country. I watch as the world watches, with disbelief that a conman of so little integrity is chosen over a woman because people didn’t like her personality.

  6. I’m saddened LIsa if this is how you view protests and angry riots on racial issues. People just get really angry and it builds up into wrongful property destruction ,etc. I just returned from Europe (parts of rural France, Barcelona in Spain and small medieval town): I saw hardly any blacks –either tourists or locals. Asian faces as locals was rare…and they were working in restaurants….low end jobs. I’m sorry, this is my perspective also.

    I notice this things and returned to Canada. Nativism in Europe can be powerful..I’ve heard stories of French speaking Quebecois trying to live in FRance…and they could not integrate.

    There have been several university educated black Canadians, even a cop off duty who have been tracked and questioned by police, just walking down the street. I would be tired, frustrated also to be subjected to that type of treatment.

    To bring it on topic for fitness, I wish I had time to offer blog posts from the perspective of networking, exercise participation and racial/ethnic differences. It may not be apparent in marathons where everyone is running ..but it may be a reason why some women are hesitate to start jogging, biking, etc. regularily because they like joining activities with a friend or so that shares the same vibe as they do.

    So saying white women are all I believe not.

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