The Women’s March on Washington Highlighted Old and New Tensions

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The Women’s March on Washington Highlighted Old and New Tensions

and not heard or if heard but not taken seriously, mixed feelings erupted among women of color about attending the D.C. and sister marches.
In Jamilah Lemieux’s op-ed “Why I’m Skipping The Women’s March on Washington” in Colorlines wrote "Much of the post-election news cycle was dominated by White folks wringing their hands: How could this happen? Why did it happen? There was lots of weeping and wailing from women who could get the answers to those questions by simply asking their relatives, friends and partners who put Trump in power…And just what would this “million” women be coming together to march about—their mothers, sisters, homegirls and friends who elected Trump in the first place?”

The nagging question many women of color who did and didn’t attend marches want to know is where was this same energy and white sisterhood going to the polls in November? 53 percent of white women voters cast their ballots for Trump whereas 94 percent of black women, in particular, cast theirs for Hillary. Many women of color did indeed attend the marches. Angela Peoples went to the march in D.C. wearing a Trump-like red hat that read “Stop Killing Black People” and carried a sign that read “White Women Voted for Trump.” However, it must be noted that there is a difference between marching for everyone’s civil rights versus marching because white women now recognize a diminishment of their white privilege.

For example, white women who voted for Trump were also at the D.C. March. Many of these women shared with me they voted for him for economic reasons. And while many of them didn’t mind Trump cutting Obamacare, they were both woke and upset to learn that the Affordable Care Act, which they now receive but will be repealed, was the official name for Obamacare.The Boston March turned out a record number of nearly 200,000. But a white female friend of mine troubled by the complexion of the march sent me an email stating the following:"Maybe you can answer this question for me. There was a lack of Blacks and People of Color at "The March"…WHY? What can be done to motivate more to “come out"? Am I naive?”While I can’t speak for all black people I can say that a lot of African American men and women didn’t show up for sister marches in predominately white towns and cities, in spite of the marches’ internecine tensions, where the practice of “Stop and Frisk” is overwhelmingly acted upon people of color. However, it’s these sort of questions that help forge change in building a stronger sisterhood and a safer world.