Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-10-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

For Black women, being Dems' 'backbone' is no compliment
by Rev. Irene Monroe
2017-12-27

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Black women voters in the recent Alabama U.S. Senate race are being thanked for "saving" the state from Republican candidate Roy Moore, a homophobe, slavery apologist and accused pedophile. And we're all now are being lauded as "the backbone" of the Democratic Party.

As a voting bloc, Black women in Alabama didn't just suddenly emerge for Democratic candidate Doug Jones. What hubris to think they did and not for themselves! We always have had agency and voting-mobilization strategies to support our candidates. The turnout that Alabama and the nation witnessed derives from a history of battling voter suppression that the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in 1920, was supposed to protect us from—but didn't.

While a tsunami of thanks in the form of hashtag #BlackWomen flooded social media, no amount of verbal appreciation will rectify the political imbalance and structural inequity Black women confront in the Democratic Party. African-American women's representation in leadership roles in the party needs to be supported by money and resources, and our voices need to become essential to political debates and governmental policy-making. And because our votes matter, many politicians need to stop pandering to us to get them by exploring cultural markers.

For example, the stereotyped Black church stands front and center for many white politicians looking to woo, if not win, our votes. The perception that all white politicians need to do is merely show up the Sunday before the Tuesday we cast our ballots is not only a hackneyed campaign strategy, but it's also a clear indication that these politicians have nary a clue nor a sincere concern for the parishioners they stand before.

Our issues need to be addressed, such as reproductive justice, health disparities, gang violence, educational parity, urban environmental racism and police brutality, to name a few.

Since the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, there have been ongoing efforts to suppress minority voting, such as changing polling locations, changing polling hours or eliminating early voting days, reducing the number of polling places, packing majority-minority districts, dividing minority districts and the notorious voter ID laws that disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters.

However, in recognizing African-American women as the powerful voting bloc that we are in both local and national races, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez gave a public shout-out.

"Let me be clear: We won in Alabama and Virginia because Black women led us to victory," he said. "Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and we can't take that for granted. Period."

Perez's public acknowledgment was an intended compliment to African American women and a long-overdue public reprimand to the DNC. However, to be depicted as "the backbone" of a party that espouses a multicultural and participatory democracy highlights, glaringly in my opinion, Black women's lack of power and agency cloaked as praise.

We were "the backbone" of 1960s civil-rights movements, we still are in the Black church and we're now recognized as such in the Democratic Party. We are always lauded, however, as "the backbone" for the service or rescue of others and yet demonized for it when we are for ourselves. And the phrase is not one of praise. It dehumanizes our suffering and stereotypes us as "the mule of the world," a phrase African-American folklorist Zora Neale Hurston coined.

Contemporary commentators are making the point, too. "A donkey is a Democratic symbol, but Black women are not the mules of the party," Britt Julious wrote in her Esquire piece "Black Women Defeated Roy Moore, and the Country Is Better for It." She added, "We, too, are issue voters. We vote for the world we hope to see. Why take that for granted?"

I grew up knowing one of the most powerful voices in U.S. politics: Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Chisholm represented my Brooklyn congressional district for seven terms, from 1969 to 1983. She was known throughout the neighborhood and the halls of power in New York City as a force to be reckoned with who was "unbought" and "unbossed," also the title of her 1970 memoir. Chisholm was nobody's "mule" or "backbone."

In 1972, Chisholm was the first female and person of color to run for president and on the Democratic ticket. paving the way for others. In her 1973 book The Good Fight, Chisholm shared why she ran.

"The next time a woman runs, or a Black, or a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is 'not ready' to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start. … I ran because somebody had to do it first. In this country, everybody is supposed to be able to run for President, but that has never really been true."

And those next times in the Democratic Party were in 1984 and 1988 for Jesse Jackson, in 2004 for Carol Moseley Braun, in 2008 for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and in 2016, when Clinton made a second bid.

As a voting bloc, we know our strength. As Black women, we take pride in our agency and voting-mobilization strategies. We take no pleasure, however, in being anyone's backbone but our own.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LETTER Response to Kavanaugh 2018-10-10 - Dear Windy City Times: The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the U.S. ...


Gay News

Archbishop's comment explains why Church is in so much trouble 2018-10-10 - MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Archbishop Charles Chaput's statement about LGBT Catholics at the synod on youth yesterday is a perfect example of how some church ...


Gay News

Eve Ewing podcast features Terkel interviews 2018-10-10 - WFMT and The Studs Terkel Radio Archive invite audiences into the history books with the new podcast Bughouse Square with Eve Ewing. ...


Gay News

Alzheimer's: A Love Story 2018-10-03 - Gregory, my husband of over 41 years, was diagnosed with dementia, most likely Alzheimer's, in the 29th year of our relationship. He was ...


Gay News

LETTER A big 'thank you' 2018-10-03 - Windy City Times: I am writing this letter in response to the Windy City Times article "Peaceful assembly protests Rainbow flag burning ...


Gay News

Aging gracefully: Don't speak of overcoats or bowels 2018-09-26 - The old saw says, "You know you are getting old when you begin to talk about the state of your bowels." As a ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL There is no place like home 2018-09-26 - I was recently contemplating my shoes, which, along with clothes and boxes of books, are the only closeted things in our home. That ...


Gay News

Change is in the air 2018-09-19 - Windy City Times is marking its 33rd anniversary this month. As co-founder and publisher, I could not be more proud of what this ...


Gay News

LETTER Calling out Kavanaugh 2018-09-19 - Open item from the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: It took courage for Professor Christine Blasey Ford to publicly come forward ...


Gay News

Reeling 2018 reviews 2018-09-19 - For complete festival information including locations, and to buy tickets, visit reelingfilmfestival.org . Canary ( HHH ) ( Sept. 21, 7 p.m. ) ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.