Power addendum

I just read that a majority of white women in Alabama voted for Roy Moore.

White Women Keep F*cking Us Over

(Apologies for the language.)

I want to think through this more before saying anything definitive, but I do have some initial thoughts. I agree that white women are a problematic group in the US, in part because they are white, and in part because they are a group that has benefited from white supremacy — if the white men were focused on railing against the black man, white women were somehow more safe. I say “more” because sexism and violence against women has always been present. White women were still oppressed, even if less oppressed than others.

Which leads me to think of the kapo in Primo Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved. The SS were so depraved that they got concentration camp prisoners to help demean, torture, and even gas their fellow Jews. “The Gray Zone” chapter in Levi’s book is haunting in its unflinching reality, criticism and compassion alike.

White women have certainly not experienced concentration-camp-levels of dehumanization (at least, as a group), but I wonder if there is something to the psychology of not being the most oppressed that keeps people perpetuating unjust systems. Even if they aren’t benefiting, at least they aren’t the worst off, and perhaps that alone leads them to do anything they can to protect the little they have. I understand that panicky feeling. But we should not vote for the future and good of our country out of a wish merely to preserve ourselves. We are none of us free until all of us are free.

So maybe white women are also as suspect as white men as potential leaders. At the very least, white women have some deep soul-searching, humbling, and listening to do before we can assert ourselves as authority figures. I certainly hope we have some up to the task.

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