January 21st, women across the worldtook to the streets of every major city around the country to protest the presidency of Trump. From the early morning, women of all ages, colors, shapes, backgrounds, marched the streets with banners and signs letting the world know they will not honor and respect a president who doesn't respect their rights as women.
This was called the Woman's March.
Social media praised friends and family members who participated. News outlets covered the event in its entirety. Many people saw this march and this day as a beacon of hope and a chance to show America that women can come together for a greater cause. Many also saw this as an example of how women can impact change in our government and around the world...and that's when I had to stop and pause.
Was the March great? Of course.
Am I happy they had a successful turnout? Naturally I am, especially when pictures from my hometown, Chicago, were all over the news and on social media.
But I'm reluctant to celebrate and call this moment historical and monumental.
Why am I reluctant?
I am reluctant because throughout history, moments and events dedicated to women have excluded women of color. Women of color may have been "invited to the party", but no one has checked on their well being. From slavery to Jane Addams, to the actresses such as Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, the struggle of black women and women of color have always been in on the back burner of white women's minds. Throughout history, most of the women who are the face of "women's rights" and "feminism" in our history books have simultaneously owned slaves, never spoke up when black and brown slaves were raped, spoke of black and brown women as if they were less than human, and always find ways to discredit the work black women have done. In current times, white women have either been absent when it's time to demand justice for Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, and Korryn Gaines, or they've been on social media calling them "thugs" and "niggers". White women have also come to the defense of other white women who wear African American hairstyle, yet racial profile women of color who wear their natural hair and use the excuse of "black women wear straight hair and blonde wears" to justify blatant displays of cultural appropriation (which I will write an article about later).
The march was wonderful, everyone cheered and had a great hooray, but now what? That's what's most important to myself and anyone who question the march. What's going to happen today?
Are you going to join us in the next Black Lives Matter rally? Will you call out women who make problematic racial statements from now on? When white women discredit the culture and styles of African American women and women of color, will you be there to correct them, or will you agree with black men who makes post like this to fulfill your white privilege? Will you speak out when black girls are being attacked, or will you need someone to call you out? When black women become victims of police brutality, will you protest and march like you did on January 21st? When black women and girls are in need of safe spaces and words of encourage it, will you allow it? When black women and girls discuss their experiences of injustice, will you try to resolve it, or accuse them race baiting?
I ask these questions because as a young black man, I'm tired of seeing women of color join hands with women who've never marched for them. Women of color came out loud and proud for this event, and stood next to women who have been silent about numerous social issues prior to this inauguration. Women of color cheered for famous women who made speeches about unity and sisterhood, yet have made problematic comments and career move themselves. This march, with all due respect, is just another example of white women dropping the ball (since 53% of white women voted for Trump, versus the 94% of black women who voted for Hillary), and everyone expecting women of color to come and save the day. While I am concern about the future and livelihood of women, let's be honest, white women didn't have a fear of Trump until he started objectifying them and treating them as second-class citizens. It took a rich white man for white women to feel what women of color have felt towards for years.
So I ask, what are you going to do today? Which rally will you attend next?