I remember where I was when President Obama was announced victorious in 2008- my house in Michigan, in an Obama 2008 t-shirt, making my dad let me stay up past my 8th grade bedtime to watch the election returns. I couldn’t go to sleep until the election was called. I needed to know it was real. I need to know my guy, a black man, had won. I had always been interested in politics and mildly identified with John Kerry in 2004. But, the election of President Obama in 2008 and then again in 2012 is what made me believe in not only the political process, but that maybe one day I could have a place in it.
Two days ago, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to clinch a major United States political party’s nomination for President and if I’m being honest, I didn’t feel anything extraordinary. Obviously I can acknowledge that this too is a historical moment. It’s just not my historical moment like the election of President Obama was.
In my what I’m sure will be considered unpopular opinion in most major circles, this is not a moment for all women. Hillary Clinton clinching the Democratic nomination does not open doors to the political process, let alone the White House for all women. This is a victory for women like Hillary- white, educated, wealthy and those who aspire to be like her of course. But, as a black woman that really does nothing for me. And, it does nothing for Latino, Native, Asian, poor, trans and other groups of women in my personal opinion. But hey, I’ve always known that all the men are black, all the women are white and some (every other demographic group except white men in this context) of us are brave.
Maybe I feel this way because history has demonstrated time and time again that women of color and white women’s struggles are not the same and that victory for white women often means little to nothing for other groups. Examples you say? The 19th Amendment only gave white women the right to vote. White suffragettes abandoned the abolitionist movement because they couldn’t fathom black people (men) getting rights before them and a whole host of other wrongs that have made me wary of white feminism, its aims, and the methods used to achieve them.
Time, but especially history has taught me to root my beliefs about Girl Power firmly in soil fertilized by Black Girl Magic. It is Shirley Chisolm, Kamala Harris, Carol Mosely Braun, Valerie Jarrett and other black women that make me believe I can one day ascend to the highest office of the land.
Nonetheless, #GirlIGuessImWithHer because at this point in the 2016 Election Cycle, what choice does a girl have?