As Black women, we occupy a unique position in this country. Having to deal with both racism and sexism, understanding the ways of White men, White women, and Black men is necessary for our survival. Throughout our studies, we likely could have told the nation that Brett Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed to the highest court in the land by the United States Senate. We know that by in large, White women are pawns in the system of patriarchy and misogyny. They’d rather play along with the “good ole boys,” believing they’ll one day have access to their power than provide any real challenge to the system, the status quo. So of course female, Republican senators voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
And to add insult to injury, Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine who cast a critical vote in Kavanaugh’s confirmation said that there was a silver lining in the nationwide discussion of sexual assault.
“The one silver lining that I hope will come from this is that more women will press charges now, when they are assaulted.”
Trash. And oddly enough, strikingly similar to what Remy Ma said about Bill Cosby’s victims.
Press charges for what? So they can be re-victimized by a justice system that doesn’t care about the rights of women? Why would a woman in this climate feel comfortable coming forward with her story when the U.S. Senate confirmed a man who has been accused of sexual assault on several different occasions, by several different women to the highest court of the land? Where is her assurance that her claims will be taken seriously if women don’t believe the words of other women?
As you can imagine, there were a group of White women who were shocked by the confirmation and wanted to express their disapproval of this decision in protest. Actress Molly Ringwald provided a suggestion that might appear…familiar.
She was immediately met with this criticism.
Exactly right. If the thought of police brutality against Black people, including women, in this country didn’t inspire White women to take a knee, then they should find something else to do. This idea speaks to so many of the issues people have with White feminists. There’s the idea that they don’t begin to fight or even perceive injustice in this country until it directly affects them, White women. Then there’s the appropriation. Ringwald didn’t create an entirely different symbol of protest, a new hashtag or activism group. Ringwald, who as far as we know, never publicly knelt with Kaepernick, wants to use his symbol—one that he decided upon after input from a veteran, one for which he suffered financially, to promote a movement inspired solely by the suffering of a White woman. It’s self-centered, unimaginative and a reminder that far too often, White women really aren’t our allies if they’re only concerned when injustice comes to their doorstep.
See what other people had to say about Ringwald’s suggestion and why it was a terrible idea, on the following pages.