PC Culture

‘White Women’ Becomes a Disparaging Term

Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour gesture during the March for Racial Justice in New York City, October 1, 2017. (Reuters/Stephanie Keith)
The Left is lumping white women together into a giant bloc subject to absurdly broad stereotyping and vitriolic condemnation.

Using “white men” as a putdown is no longer extreme enough for the Left. Now it is moving on to doing the same for “white women.”

How rapidly this transpired. It was less than two years ago that the approximately 98.7 percent of white women working in media who were openly rooting for Hillary Clinton saw their hopes dashed on Election Day. The first murmurs of betrayal began. Exit polls showed 52 percent of white women backed Donald Trump, and much sorrowful tsk-tsking ensued. Sorrow turned to disbelief. Disbelief turned to rage.

Today, white women are being lumped together into a giant bloc subject to absurdly broad stereotyping and vitriolic condemnation. They’re being told to step back and know their place by writers in the New York Times (“white women benefit from patriarchy by trading on their whiteness to monopolize resources for mutual gain”), The New Yorker (“despite the enduring legacy of testimony by black women, white women have often played the protagonists in the history of sexual violence, and black women have been relegated to the supporting cast”) and NBC News (“white women who voted for Trump . . . clearly have no issue with the president’s openly misogynistic behavior, his demeaning of female reporters and his mocking of [Christine Blasey] Ford”).

A writer for The Root castigated Taylor Swift because “like some white women, she uses her privilege to not be involved until she’s directly affected.” Talia Lavin, the New Yorker fact-checker who resigned in June after erroneously suggesting that an ICE agent (who turned out to be a combat-wounded Marine Corps veteran) had a Nazi tattoo, continues to contribute to The New Yorker and tells her 51,000 Twitter followers, “patriarchy won’t protect you no matter how hard white women fight for it.” “White women use strategic tears to silence women of colour,” ran a headline in the Guardian. On the basis of five phone calls, plus the story of what happened to Emmett Till in 1955, Rolling Stone published an essay entitled, “Why White Women Keep Calling the Police on Black People,” blaming them for “a new 21st century version of Jim Crow.” It wouldn’t be terribly difficult, in a nation of 300 million, to come up with five examples of black men who had murdered white women, but if you wrote an essay entitled “Why Black Men Keep Murdering White Women” you would rightly be barred from writing for just about any reputable journalistic outfit. The intellectual error of making invidious generalizations about large groups of people based on superficial characteristics is obvious. So is the moral error.

The proximate cause of “white women” being turned into a pejorative is Senator Susan Collins, whose support for Brett Kavanaugh a week ago was in line with her support for Supreme Court nominees in general. She has voted for all of them. Moreover, she enjoys an 88 percent rating from the National Organization for Women. Yet Collins’s vote inspired Alexis Grenell, the author of the Times op-ed quoted above, to say white women voted for Trump “to prop up their whiteness.” Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour denounced Collins as “the mother & grandmother of white women in America who gave us a Donald Trump presidency.” On the New York magazine site, Rebecca Traister derided the “powerful, old white men” along with the “white women, the ‘female assistants’ and partisan handmaidens who are eager, perhaps avid, to help them in their pursuit of further suffocating authority.” Why female assistants is in quotation marks, or why “powerful” people who hold authority would be interested in “suffocating” it, escapes me, but the phrase “partisan handmaidens” seems especially out of touch. Women are volunteering to be treated as sex slaves? Doesn’t sound like any woman I know. More likely, women such as Collins who supported Kavanaugh disagree that he represents The Handmaid’s Tale brought to life.

Many of the above screeds and slights come from white women who evidently feel some combination of shame about who they are and a yearning to identify with perceived outsiders and victims of oppression. White Americans constituted 72 percent of the U.S. population as of the 2010 census, so castigating them doesn’t sound like a winning political strategy. Yet contempt bubbles up from social media and the punditry to influence party leaders such as Hillary Clinton, who characterized white women who voted for Donald Trump as the equivalent of Stepford Wives. Such women succumb to “ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should,” Clinton claimed, citing no evidence. Given that only a bit more than half of white women voted for Trump, it’s ludicrous to write them off by deriding them as Trump fanatics instead of trying to understand their concerns and woo them back to the Democratic party.

“We’ve seen the system (and white women) fail us over and over again,” writes Tamika D. Mallory in a Huffington Post column entitled “White Women: Stop Waiting for Black Women to Save You.” Mallory calls Collins an instrument of “white supremacy and patriarchy” and says the Kavanaugh hearings showed that “the power white men take for granted is under threat. And there are white women who will stop at nothing to protect it.” Yet she also opines that “White women are finally feeling the rage we have felt for the last 400 years” so they should realize “it’s time to stand with us — behind us.”

So goes the transformation of the party of equality into a hierarchy of victimhood, with each person’s rank assessed based on the perceived aggregate suffering of the demographic groups to which they belong. White men, long since written off by the Democrats, have responded not by meekly accepting their place at the rear of the Democratic coalition but by exiting it. They voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 63 to 31 percent. The Left will have only itself to blame if white women increasingly feel put off by its nasty ad feminam attacks.

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