By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
Brett Michael Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th associate justice of the United States Supreme Court October 6, after the most contentious battle over a High Court nominee in U.S. history.
Kavanaugh, a graduate of the Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda and Yale University (he was accused of sexual assaults that allegedly occurred at both institutions) and later Yale Law School will be seated on the Court next to Associate Justice Elena Kagan (to her left), physically at the far right of the justices.
His ascendancy and the process leading up to it has ripped open, or widened wounds created by America’s sexual assault and rape culture, which has prevailed since the country’s founding. Beyond all the rage and disappointment exhibited by so many in the wake of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, one ubiquitous question remains less than a month before the midterm elections on November 6: what are White women prepared to do about it?
Many Americans found the gut wrenching testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford compelling and credible; even Donald John Trump, accused by more than a dozen women of sexual assault said Ford was, `a very credible witness.’ Of course, that was before Trump mocked her at a rally in Mississippi last week. Despite Trump’s two-faced, politically expedient treachery, Ford’s testimony resonated deeply with millions of women of all ethnicities and races who have been sexually assaulted.
However, a recent Quinnipiac poll published October 1, indicated less than a majority of White women questioned believed Ford over Kavanaugh.
According to the poll, 46 percent of White women believed Ford’s testimony, versus 43 percent that believed Kavanaugh. But, 86 percent of Blacks believed Ford over Kavanaugh and 66 percent of Hispanics sided with Ford over Kavanaugh.
During a White House ceremonial swearing-on on October 8, Trump apologized to Kavanaugh and his family “on behalf of our nation.” Earlier that day, Trump slithered even lower when he referred to the accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh leveled by Ford as a “hoax” (part of the go-to lexicon for the most corrupt president in U.S. history). To be clear, when it comes to the midterm elections and the alleged coming “bluewave,” people of color, Black women in particular are the backbone, foundation and most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party. All of the pundits are talking about the gender gap being “on steroids. But, that gender gap is being fueled disproportionately by Black women and other women of color. Alas, many White women seem to stubbornly cling to their Whiteness over their gender.
“We can’t always count on White women to be a part of that coalition,” said Erin Carmon, co-author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, during an interview October 8, with Chris Hayes of MSNBC.
How many times can Trump slap the faces of female victims of sexual assault, specifically White female victims, before White women finally embrace their Womaness over their Whiteness? If past is prologue, it may not ever happen. After all, the revelation about a month before the 2016 General Election, of the now infamous Access Hollywood audio tape of Trump bragging about sexaully assualting women, how he would “grab them by the p—y,” did not prevent a majority of White women (53 percent) from voting for Trump.
One of the most compelling images from the massive Women’s March, which saw hundreds of thousands of women descended upon Washington, D.C. in protest of Trump, on the first full day in office of the 45th President. The image was of a lone Black woman in a sea of White women holding a sign, which read, “Don’t Forget: White Women Voted For Trump.”
Perhaps, the simple truth is for many White Americans, Whiteness Trumps all.
Sean Yoes is Baltimore editor of the AFRO and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.