White Feminism Has Long Failed Black Women

Via Flickr

Abeni Jones
September 23, 2019

August 18, 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which ended the prohibition preventing women from voting. But which women?

Seneca Falls, the first major women’s rights convention in 1848, excluded Black women entirely. Susan B. Anthony prohibited the National American Woman Suffrage Association from supporting racial justice. 

That didn’t stop Black voting activists from doing important work. But their contributions have largely been erased.

At the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade, Ida B. Wells was asked to march in the back. And even after the 19th Amendment’s passage, Jim Crow laws still prevented Black women throughout the South from voting.

Black attendees of the recent Women’s Marches often argue that not much has changed.

Hundreds of thousands of white women came out to march against Donald Trump - but were seemingly nowhere to be found at marches for Black women like Renisha McBride or Sandra Bland. 

The Marches seem to say little about issues relevant to lower-income women and women of color, like poverty and voting rights for people with felony convictions.

53% of white women voted for Trump, compared to less than 4% of Black women. Shouldn’t Black women, who condemned Trump in 2016, be leading the feminist resistance against him?

The most recent Women’s Marches have included more women of color as organizers and updated their policy positions. As the next election approaches, we’ll see whether anything’s changed.

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