President-elect Trump's cabinet is shaping up to be a majority male, white, mega-rich crew of business leaders-turned-lawmakers. But there is no doubt that the winners of a Trump presidency are white women. The takeover and rise of power of the conservative right puts this class of women in a seat of unauthorized approval. The fact that 53% of white women voted for President-elect Trump inadvertently positions white privilege back into the White House. Trump advances and sources elitism further into the white family, re-surging the ideal of the “all-white American Dream."
President-elect Trump’s family seems to be setting up marked roles in areas not readily known. Ivanka Trump and her family are preparing to house-hunt in the city where her father will soon to be sworn in. While this can be perceived as a not-so-subtle mockery of democracy, this view uncomfortably disregards white women on the left saddened by the evolution of hate, and the over 90% of black women who voted against being trumped.
Are black women going to be expected to lead the fight for feminism after the inaugural marching has ceased? Once again, have the needs of white women put black women into the seats of freedom combatants?
Reports from several news outfits state that Ivanka Trump may have an office in the White House. What is usually the office of the First Lady will more than likely be where Ivanka Trump sits. Ivanka Trump — perhaps as family adviser, hostess, and "climate change advocate"? — attempting to fill the stately seat of women who facilitated change and created transformation beyond white male supremacy, including the outgoing First Lady, may not be a tone women from all walks of life find welcoming.
The dichotomy of the face of Mrs. Michelle Obama — a feminist who staunchly fought and vetted for the rights of women and girls — and that of Ivanka Trump — the daughter of a billionaire who until recently hasn’t given her stance on feminism, and particularly the of the inclusion of African-American women — is troubling.
Recently finding myself in dialogue with white women regarding the role of black women in educating and training the privileged as it relates to what we need as black women from white women, I gasped while coming up with an honest response.
Note to white women: I don’t owe you anything, and as feminists in the fight, we can collaborate, as inclusion of two races exists in its entirety. In essence, I don’t want or need anything from you, or for you to do for me, and I dare to say that some other black women also hold fast to these sentiments. The presence of Ivanka Trump, however, brings me even more reason to pause. If the consensus between white women is to take the role of fragility, requiring hand-holding from those marginalized to aid them in the pursuit of dismantling themes of prejudices, will Ivanka (in whatever role she plays) require such “training" as well?
Dear White Women, these are the reasons why Black Women are not here to be the magic behind your ideologies:
1. Black women do not have time to train are feed into the fragile white women psyche — we are busy creating safe spaces for women whose appropriators are associated together.
2. Black women aren’t scapegoats for white women’s lack of bravery — call your own culture out on its bullshit, including the princesses of we-are-all-the-same, the powerful white women who hang chandeliers at the top of ceilings, and the dispersers of racism and inequality.
3. Black women will not sound the alarm for white women who choose to not wake up — self-refection is up to you, so do the work, read, and adjust to the discomfort.
4. Black women are not in the mood to hear more white women whining about how “we all have had it bad” — the point is that racism is systematic and is not to be regulated to generalization of suffering.
5. Black women are tired, and they are decidedly taking their reigns and magic and using it for their damn selves and other black women gone unnoticed. White women are a protected class whose power has always been more visible than that of the black women; therefore, use this for the betterment of the culture.
I am uncertain of the type of values that will be appended to any type of role that Ivanka Trump will hold. Whatever it may be, from the perspective of black women, we are already aware of the obsolete presence of a diverse category of women.
The importance of continuing the conversation towards intersectionality in the equity of feminist role models is now even more of a goal for us all. Transitioning into the era of Trump, let’s be the group remaining mindful of the President-elect being a white man who openly perpetrated attitudes of assault against women. To be fair, this can only lead women from diverse groups to ponder how the daughter of what one may call a “demagogue” now performs in an office once held by the most vocal women on topics of women rights.
Ivanka, black women recognize the need for representation of our values and moral importune as it relates to feminist mores. Coming off the legacy of elegance of Michelle Obama, several remarkable women hold these topics in high regard — not to mention a President who proclaims in his masculinity pro-feminism as a husband and father of daughters. We must be skillfully watchful and produce a narrative apart from the coerced rhetoric of those who deprecate the experience of all women, in hopes of forging forward rather than impeding backwards.
Top photo: Ali Shaker/Wikimedia Commons
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Salaam Green, M.S.: Poet, Author, Social Health Activist and Speaker. Founder of the Literary Healing Arts Foundation, promoting the healing power of words. 2016 Poet Laureate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Contact Salaam and subscribe to book Salaam for speaking, community healing circles and workshops, or poetry showcases and readings at www.literaryhealingarts.com or email@example.com. Follow @beautifulblackpoetry on Instagram as Lit Healer; @salaamgreen1 on Twitter; Salaam Green on Facebook.