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Photo by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma’aji on Unsplash

Black Women Saved Themselves This Presidential Election Not Us

On Saturday, Joe Biden become 2020 president elect. As states flipped blue and the votes came in we learned whom really aided in this cause. This was a win largely due to the efforts of marginalized communities across the US.

Now, racially speaking we Black folks came through as evident by projected exit poll data. The one leading demographic overall however was Black women. This was because again they were put in a position to save themselves, not all of us.

Black women voted almost entirely blue at 90%. No other racial or ethnic group can claim this. Sorry fellow Black men but we came in second at 79%. Again, this election result was the culmination of multiple marginalized communities working together. This isn’t to dismiss their work and the strides that were made. Still, the numbers show that the democratic party can thank Black women. A fact noted by our vice president elect during the victory speech as well as social media.

Black women have voted and worked within their communities like this…for decades. We’ve known of this fact for some time now, its has (unfortunately) however become synonymous with everyone saying/thinking “Black women will save us” .

Imagining Black women as superheroes that will sweep in and save us fails them. As well as make us complicit is ignoring their personhood.

First and foremost, Black women aren’t saving “us”. Logically, they are taking actions into their own hands and insuring their interests are assured. These actions often align and reflect the needs of the intersections they occupy. Naturally, they echo the sentiments shared with the LGBTQIA, disabled, immigrant, and other communities whose livelihoods are in additional danger with the current presidency’s actions. Livelihoods which are disadvantaged with in our society by function and purpose.

A recent example of this kind of work is the Black Lives Matter Movement. Which was created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. In response to the great racial injustice and police brutality that Black people receive from the police.

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Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Imagine, you have to live within a society that oppresses you and many like yourself. The hurdles you face are multifaceted from access, equity, medical care, and more. Imagine also having to navigate the aforementioned while experiencing oppression for other groups whom have a proximity to whiteness as well?

White women are granted forgiveness for their “infidelity,” and wooed all over again each election, while Black women are expected to remain loyal and faithful. — Taylor Crumpton

The spiritual, mental, and physical anguish one goes through are probably astronomical on a daily level, let alone years or lifetimes. Keep in mind, this really barely scratches the surface of their lived experiences. Now, imagine all of this and in the same breath this society needs you to “save it”— what in the hell?

Imagine people whom aren’t in your demographic echoing this message. Imagine how insulting it must be to hear this while trying to live. From a society that perpetuates inequality and harms your communities daily needs you to save itself. A society that’s still racist as the sky is blue, a violent colonial system, favors whiteness, and etc. During a mishandled pandemic, in a year civil unrest, and more stress than you imagined. I don’t think the word aggravating even begins captures how they could feel.

So in light of these truths, Black women still continue to show up and show out. You need no further proof than to see the efforts lead by Stacey Abrahams. However she wasn’t alone in helping Georgia turn Blue. The work also included the organizational power from Tamieka Atkins, Helen Bulter, Nsé Ufot, and Deborah Scott. Together they helped register a total of 800,000 voters. Do you understand that’s nearly 1 million people? It’s a great accomplishment made by tireless dedication to the case.

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Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

We also had stories like that of Sommer Woods in Detroit. Where she stopped a white mob that attempted to stop Detroit’s voter count. This echoes so much of what is America, the thought activates a Black person’s fight or flight. Of course, in a more fair reality, she shouldn’t have faced that. Yet she was put in that position not of her own volition but necessity.

Woods: Because all that was on my mind was: This ain’t right.

I never was afraid, I was extremely pissed off. I think the dynamic of being frustrated and pissed off is what drove me to make sure that we were doing what needed to be done. That was the driving force but I was never scared. — Olivia Lewis

So naturally, with work like the above aforementioned, you can’t help but be in awe. It’s easy to see why people believe their all a superhero. It’s worth question the work in Georgia helped the election.

Now, when we make human beings more than that, we are effectively erasing them. We assume that their emotional labor is unlimited. When we participate in this superhero/god like worship, people become gears in a machine, they are meant to just be there, and work.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The key takeaways here are ones you’ve heard time and time again. So you will see them again because a lot of us ain’t listening. Instead of proclamations of saying Black women saved us, we should be reinforcing our commitments to them.

Have you created space for the Black women in your communities? Are you offering the same opportunities to them all? Are you supporting their respective causes and the efforts? Are you financially supporting them if you can? Are listening to them? Are you letting them speak freely and openly? Do you even see them? Or do you still see those capes that they shouldn’t have to wear?

I freely admit as a Black man I haven’t done enough for them.

Yes, Black women helped save this presidential election. But when will we be the ones that saves them unconditionally? When we will society save itself from the destructive status quo that is whiteness?

Written by

I bat for PoCs, marginalized, equality, inclusion & geekdom. I'm warming the bench until coach subs me in. https://linktr.ee/jeffreyrousseau

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