Actress and director Jada Pinkett Smith posted what she hopes will be a conversation starter about "Race vs. Gender" as it relates to the presidential election on her Facebook page. She begins it by stating she was “more confused and anxious than excited,” about Hillary Clinton throwing her hat in the race.
Hillary’s announcement reminded me that the relationship between black and white women on the political platform has been deeply complicated, disappointing and painful. The only question I have been asking myself is if I’m suppose to vote for Hillary because she is a woman; will she take us to the mountaintop with her or will women of color once again be left out and left behind?
Black women have certainly shown voting power. The Center for American Progress reports, “In 2012, while Black women voted at a higher rate than any other group—across gender, race and ethnicity—and, along with other women of color, played a key role in President Obama’s reelection." Pinkett Smith asks if Clinton is willing to right the precedent of exclusion set by Woman’s Suffrage Movement in order to secure the black women vote.
During the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, black women were specifically excluded because Northern white women feared of losing support of Southern white women if black women were included. What made it even more offensive is that the two women given the credit of pioneering the woman’s movement were at first abolitionists. … How will we reconcile the past to move into the future? Can Hillary, whether she becomes President or not, heal the broken political ties of the women of this nation?
Among others, activist and writer Wagatwe Wanjuki has expressed similar concerns to Pinkett Smith’s.
I am waiting for evidence that she gets how we women of color are affected by issues in ways that are different from our white counterparts.
Read more of Pinkett Smith’s thoughts here.