There has been a lot of white women screaming about the assault on women’s rights, dressing up in Handmaid’s Tale attire to emphasize where this country is headed. However, fights for equality have been happening and it’s been headed in this direction for a while now. Quite simply a lot of people didn’t notice for the same reason many of us didn’t notice: social media and the 2016 election. Those two combined were the catalyst for white women in particular, because they realized that if a pussy-grabbing, 23 sexual assault allegations scuzz could be elected president, that they — white women — were vulnerable.
The fight for women’s rights, like civil rights has been a continued arduous fight, and they have both been slowly eroded over time. This is all a concerted effort, and part of the problem is that “the problem” was allowed to remain. The other problem is a lack of unity that has led to the current dangerous climate.
Should They Stay?
Laws that deal with quality of live for particular groups is often, depending on where you are, unhelpful. The reason being that the people who are tasked with enforcing the law were the same one vehemently against granting basic human rights.
That is why after slaves were freed and Black people were given the right to vote via the Fifteenth Amendment, southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama — who had the same racist politicians in charge — implemented a poll tax to prevent Black people from voting. This poll tax had also been used prior to disenfranchise poor whites, and was now used to primarily target Black people.
Racism doesn’t have an on/off switch. Why then was the enforcement and implementation of these rights given to the same people who made it clear they would do whatever they could to prevent these rights from being applied? Why have we continued to consistently put representatives and government officials in charge of this when they are vocal that those rights should only go to a select few?
Mass incarceration was expected to be the centerpiece to securing a white supremacist society. It was steadily climbing every since they started rounding up former slaves for vagrancy and it boomed in the 90s under Clinton. Blacks currently account for about 40% of the prison population despite being only 13% of U.S. residents and if we factor other ethnic groups, Latinx, Asian, the amount is closer to 60% of people incarcerated are non-white. Whereas as white people make up about 65–70% of the population in the U.S and only 39% of the prison population.
Even more damning is the majority of people behind bars have not been convicted of a crime. They are behind bars because they are too poor to pay the bail to get out. This is what they wanted. A society where the laws would continue to benefit white people.
Despite this targeted effort from both political parties to strip rights away from BIPOC, Republicans realized more needed to be done.
Closing voting locations in predominantly Black and Brown communities was a major step. Particularly, after the election of Obama in 2008. Republicans realized it wasn’t enough to use mass incarceration to target these communities because, after all, Obama still won with record voter turnouts. They needed to close more voting stations, at times leaving all but one open for miles so that lines would be so long that most people would have to leave without voting. They’re also passing restrictive voter id laws (poll tax) to further limit the amount of non-white people who can vote in upcoming elections.
The Attack on Females
Now we have an organized assault on women’s rights that, for the first time in decades, has a great likelihood of succeeding. Not that every state has superb laws to protect females. Laws, varying by state, still clearly hold the value of a female’s life and body in little to no regard. Many states allow a rapist to marry the child (some as young as 12) they raped if they have parental and/or judicial consent and if the victim is pregnant.
North Carolina still has a law that once sex has begun, you can’t take away consent. New York up until a recently, had no law that would prevent cops from claiming consensual sex with a person they had in custody.
One of the reasons is, of course, that they want to and have always wanted to control females. Woman’s rights have always been an uphill battle and rights were never dealt evenly to all women. Roe v. Wade became precedent only in 1973. However, yet again the people elected to office, both then and now, are people who want to take away a women’s rights.
Another reason is future demographics. By 2050, white people in the U.S. will be the minority. A surefire way to postpone that date is to make sure white women are not allowed to have an abortion. If abortion once again becomes the law of the land, the white population will increase. Because Black women are 4 times more likely to die from childbirth related complications and Black babies are almost 3 times more likely to die before they’re a year old, they don’t need to worry about other ethnicities. All they need to do is continue giving them subpar healthcare and the rest will take care of itself.
Last, is this will also aid Republicans in future elections. Because if a white women does illegally have an abortion, whether or not she serves jail time will be irrelevant. She will be a felon. Felons, in most states still do not have their voting rights reinstated after serving their sentence. That’s less people able to vote who are against the conservative Republican agenda.
Their time to do all of this is now while they have a president who has no regard for anyone not white and male; while the Supreme Court is stacked with conservative justices and lower courts are being filled with Republican judges. It was always a battle for rights, both BIPOC and women; however, many people are just now noticing because of who’s in office and who’s being targeted.
Because You Haven’t Stood With Us
Black people and other ethnic groups, especially those that exist at an intersection like Black women, are typically on the front lines for both civil and women’s rights. The main reason being, that they understand what white people often fail to grasp; an attack on one group’s rights is an attack on all rights. Eventually they can and will come for everyone. Many white people only come out to fight and lift their voices in dissent when it is something that targets them.
If white people, not just BIPOC in immediate danger, had fought we would be in a stronger place now. If it was made clear that dismantling civil and women’s rights isn’t just an “belief” or “opinion” but something that automatically disqualifies you from running for office as well as any position in education, we would be somewhere else. But these are always issues we can “talk about” and “don’t have to see eye to eye” on.
Be that as it may, the cause for concern on all fronts is warranted because the situation is dire. In the fight for equality and against racism we have barriers like mass incarceration, segregated schools, attacking Affirmative Action, voter suppression via voter restrictions and the loosening of key parts of the Voting Rights Act — which left states known for targeting certain racial/ethnic groups ability to vote to freely implement changes to again target those groups without the once required federal oversight. We now have strictest abortion bans being pushed through Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi. Title IX, under Betsy DeVos is loosening protections for victims of sexual harassment and assault.
We need to fight together, but we need to see white people standing by us and not giving us the old “let’s deal with this first and then we’ll work on what you need”. It needs to be all of it. We need them to understand that civil rights and women’s rights are human rights that we are all entitled to regardless of race, sexuality and religion. We need to make our voices heard in unity or there is going to be no one left legally allowed to fight back.