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WTF White Women?

In terms of white women's voting habits, 2016 was bad—and 2018 was worse

Seventy-six percent of white women in Georgia voted for Brian Kemp over Stacey Abrams. (Photo: Fairvote)

2016 was bad. 2018 was worse. While fifty-two percent of white women voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence in 2016, in 2018, seventy-six percent of white women voted for Brian Kemp.

This Tuesday, seventy-six percent of white female voters in Georgia cast their ballots against Stacey Abrams becoming this nation’s first black female governor. Fifty-nine percent in Texas voted for Republican Ted Cruz against  Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Fifty-one percent opposed Andrew Gillum becoming the first African American governor of the Sunshine State.

White women rained all over that new day dawning. Did they vote on the issues? Statistically, there aren’t enough anti-choice, anti-healthcare, anti-minimum wage, gun-mad voters out there to blame just conservative women.

So white women are either stupid or spoiled. I say spoiled.

We reap plenty of spoils from white supremacy. To name a few: we get to be race-less, sexy, vulnerable and at least relatively safe.

Structurally, the system’s set up such that white women earn more, own more, and live significantly longer than anyone else (except for our brothers and fathers and husbands and sons).

Single white women have, on average, 5 times more wealth than single black women, and white households have a staggering 13 times more wealth than black households.

Our life expectancy is above the national average, while the life expectancy of black women falls below.

We’re more likely to be cared for than killed when we’re having a mental health crisis and cops come to our door.

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We’re more likely to be counseled than kicked out when we act up in school.

We’re way more likely to be hired and way, way less likely to be incarcerated. That’s in no small part because we’re more likely to be seen as beautiful and loved (in advertising, magazines and Hollywood), and far less likely to be seen as scary or a threat.

White supremacy spoils us, white women. It’s undeniable. Patriarchy, not so much. The particular patriarchs whom white women have put in office this November are on the record as anti-female. They’re even anti-white-female if you happen to be pregnant or foreign-born or poor or in imperfect health.

In 2016, I sought refuge in my superior, smart, anti-capitalist, queer difference. LGBTQ, young, non-christian, unmarried white women tend to know which end is up.

My sisters of color, however, are made to account for every last messed-up, stupid thing men of their same race do. (And yes, I know race is a phony concept, but its impacts are real.)

Accepting responsibility for my screwed-up het, cis, married, white, christian sisters is the least I can do in solidarity.

So what the hell, white women? Talk. Not too loudly, or everywhere, all the time, or remorsefully to your one girlfriend-of-color, but to me, or a white woman like me.

We don’t want 2020 to roll around and wish that one hundred years ago we’d never given white women the vote.

 Correction: An earlier version of this piece erroneously described Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke as Latino. That mistake has been corrected.

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders interviews forward-thinking people about the key questions of our time on The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally syndicated radio and television program also available as a podcast. A contributing writer to The Nation, Flanders is also the author of six books, including "Bushwomen: How They Won the White House for Their Man" (2005).  She is the recipient of a 2019 Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism, the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing women’s and girls’ visibility in media, and a 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship for her reporting and advocacy for public media. lauraflanders.org

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