The Silencing Of Black Women In Politics
We got a lot to be mad about.
Maxine Waters. Angela Rye. April Ryan. Three names of powerful black women who have put their careers on the line to resist the current circus we now call our government. Just last week, Waters went on record to state that she was putting her “career on the line” to resist Donald Trump and several other politicians, who she believes, lack creditability. In response, politicians like Sean Spicer, Joe Walsh and Bill O’Reilly have made snide comments about the looks, the demeanor and the validity of the statements made by the courageous and strong black women.
Fast forward to this past Tuesday when former Attorney General Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday. Twitter was ablaze with comments of Yates being likened to “Wonder Woman,” with even one comment being made that Sally Yates is one of the smartest women of our time. Another article even went as far as to refer to her acts as being “queenly”.
This begs one question: Why is it that we go up for white female politicians, while trying to silence and dismiss the voices of black ones?
A word coined by Black feminist, Moya Bailey, that explains the misogyny that's directed towards black women. A word that helps us to understand the ideas, stereotypes and narrow views of black women in mainstream media. The word also provides context as to how feminism is divided, and how the fight for women’s rights has continued to center the voices of white women.
It is no coincidence that society responds to black female politicians the way that they do. Hell, women weren’t event allowed to read during the years of slavery, so why would we celebrate intelligent black women who call out mediocre white men?
The reality is that the issues that black women like Maxine Waters face goes beyond racism and sexism. The myriads of issues that great woke women like Aunty Maxine face speak to the idea that society, particularly white society, find issue with the voices of black women because they have issues with black women as a whole.
Well, we have to understand that misogynoir centers the thought that white society views black women as traditionally angry, but never gives attention to why black women like Maxine Waters are angry. In all, the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype allows for black women, specifically black female politicians who are on the right side of disenfranchisement, to be written off as irrationally mad. It invalidates the injustices that black women have in a world where white men hold power, allowing for the anger that black women have, to be dismissed or referred to as perverse.
In all, we have to understand that the reason why black women like Maxine Waters catch so much heat in politics, while women like Sally Yates are celebrated, is because society loves a good Becky.
Plain Bagel, plain cream-cheese and a cup of cold water. Basic.
I have always known that the personal is political, watching my mother struggle to get recognition in her corporate position growing up, while she watched her white female counterparts soar. In a world that fears the power of the black woman, it would only make sense that a women like Sally Yates would garner such a critical response to her actions. For black women, their entire intersectional existence is at the basis of oppression and womanhood, and society continues to devalue their voices and experiences, because to recognize them means being held accountable for one's actions.
Sally Yates makes people comfortable, Maxine Waters does not, as it should be.
As Solange once stated, black women have a lot to be mad about, and honestly with this administration, so should you.