For Little Black Girls with Political Dreams: When Hillary is not enough
Ever since Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President on April 12 women, Democrats, and progressives have championed her campaign. Many believe that it is her time and also high time America had a female President (after all 11.2% of the world has a female head of state). And we're inclined to agree but with a small caveat - #EarnThisVoteorLose.
Over the course of her campaign so far, Hillary has done little to address the #BlackLivesMatter movement or the special intersection of oppression that Black women face - making this Black woman a little more reluctant to vote for her. Sure, she's tweeted that #BlackLivesMatter (after her PR team realized that saying #AllLivesMatter like she did in a Black church in Missouri on June 24th wasn't going to help her get the Black vote.) She even gave a "detailed" response to someone who asked her how she would've handled the protests that happened this past weekend at Netroots Nation 2015.
And while her response clearly shows that someone on her campaign has spent some time thinking about how to answer this question when it arises, I can't help but look at her like....
Cool, we should make police wear body cameras. Eric Garner's murder was recorded on a cellphone and his killer still walks free. Cool, we should provide alternatives to incarceration. But, weren't you and your husband in office when the prison-industrial complex really took off due to his crime bill? Yeah, I thought so. Cool, we should invest in early childhood education for all children. But, what're you going to do to make sure that the schools children of color go to as they grow up are as funded or well run as schools in predominately white communities. Cool, we should fight for voting rights and universal voter registration. Ya know, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act a few years ago and you'd probably have to pass national legislation to reinstate it or cover the new gaps which will never happen because #Congress. So.. you're going to keep talking about these issues and pushing for real solutions but didn't offer any that we hadn't heard before. Cool.
What good is saying Black Lives Matter if it's just going to be followed up with more of the same calls to action or policy initiatives that haven't worked and likely perpetuate the systems of oppression Black people in this country are fighting against?
Hillary has not spoken out about/for Sandra Bland. She says that she is a champion of women's rights but I'm just not sure if she champions my rights as a Black woman. I don't even know if she understands in a concrete way that my status as both Black and woman means that things for me and my sisters often get interesting and complicated (living at the intersection of both racism and sexism is no walk in the park if you know what I mean).
So, I'll be here waiting for a candidate that not only gets it, but acts on it in ways that are authentic and maybe not tried, but definitely true.
"If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you say you deserved it. - Zora Neale Hurston
To all politicians and Presidential candidates, you have been put on notice. You are killing us, but we are not being silent and we do not deserve it. Either acknowledge that Black Lives Matter in a REAL way or lose. I'm not obligated to vote for Democrat, Republican, or Independent alike and I surely won't vote for anyone that doesn't truly care about and address the issues that matter to me the most.
PS: Check out the #BernieSoBlack hashtag. Even though we're not here for Bernie either, it will make you laugh.