History repeats. In honor of Martin Luther King, I tell this highly controversial story that has been stuck inside of me for about 8 years and is inspired by this quote:
“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”
~Martin Luther King
Are you aware that history repeats itself?
It sure does. History is a course of study so that we can either replicate or avoid certain events in the future.
Here is an example:
The women’s suffrage movement was delayed by 53 years because the suffragettes were successfully divided by a separate movement to win the right to vote for black men. Unfortunately, women were not in a position to win both rights and their decision to support black men adversely impacted their own chances at freedom because black men never bothered to reciprocate or use their new found freedom to turn around and help women earn the right to vote.
White men were in a better position to hold onto their power by completely controlling the system of government that allowed only men to vote. Women were not a part of this system and had no ability to thwart Jim Crow laws or to call out any of the racism that was used to slow down the impact of the 15th amendment. Once black men “won” the right to vote, momentum for women’s right to vote stopped.
Essentially, women had to start over and win the right to vote all on their own. There was no significant group of white men or black men who joined the effort to win women the right to vote, there was never reciprocity or gratitude for the altruistic efforts of women to win black men the right to vote, and that is why it took 53 more years for women to be allowed to vote via the 19th amendment.
History repeated in 2008.
The Democrats had 2 choices to consider backing for President. There was one white woman who had more experience than anyone. There was one black man who had less experience than anyone. There was a lot of posturing about how the Democrats needed to win this time and about how Republicans would be more upset about a first-time woman president than a first-time black man president.
Yes—that is how successful the white male movement of 1776 has been. It took until 1865 for black men to win the right to vote and until 1920 for women to join in on the freedom. So yes, by 2008 we are all still walking on eggshells about which one of us non-white-men will piss off the Republicans the least, as a political strategy. Should women support women this time? Is that even safe?
Needless to say, women were more than happy to step aside and let the less-experienced black man take her place in line. So happy for you! Because we are democrats and we are a team, right? It’s not about experience, skill or merit when it comes to man versus woman, we women totally get that. We know how disgusting you think it is for us to vote for someone “just because” they are a woman, as though being represented in government is not something to strive for.
I know how disgusting it is for me to begrudge America the experience of a black first family. It’s like being mad at the new hire for getting promoted before you; you can see he’s doing a great job, but it is still unfair that he didn’t put in his dues. And that unfair promotion has a ripple effect.
Because who cares that history tells us it will now take 53 more years for America to experience their first woman President. “No taxation without representation” is a sassy phrase that only applies to white men; it’s not a real call to action that has aaaaaaaaanything to do with a REVOLUTION.
Revolution? For What? Because Planned Parenthood is being defunded? Because our President Elect brags about abusing his power to sexually assault women? Because sexual assault is not something white men are criminalized for perpetrating? Because white men remain in charge of women’s healthcare? Because of the pay gap?
“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, ‘Wait on time.’”
~Dr. Martin Luther King
Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, I needed a man to tell me what I already knew to be true: telling me to wait is a subversive form of discrimination. In the 8 years I’ve been waiting to be represented in government by a black man, I’ve decided that it does actually need to be a woman president in order for valid representation.
I wish history didn’t repeat itself in this case. I wish that I could tell you after 8 years of Obama that all the black men turned around and supported the most experienced female candidate in the history of America. After all, that same woman, and all the women who supported her, set their needs aside to support the black man because it was the right thing to do. Would it not now be the right thing to do to reciprocate?
No. That’s not even close to what happened. Name a time when men voted against their own interests. Name a time when women voted in their own interests. Men know what it’s like to be represented by their own gender. Women don’t. History repeats.
After 8 years of waiting, I’m done. I’m breaking the cycle. I support you men and I’ve proven that. Watch me support me now. I don’t want white men deciding what to do with organs they don’t even have in their own body. I release you men of that burden forever. The war on women has to stop now. There has to be a point where I grow up and am adult enough to admit I know more about my body than a dude.
I don’t want to pretend men know better than me about me anymore.
All that ended in November 2016.
2017 is all about direct action.
“You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”
Nonviolent direct action.
For me right now, that means produce, direct and star in a play. Maya Angelou and Eve Ensler are my idols because they use theatre for social change. I want violence against women to end and I’m not afraid to put on a charitable play to demonstrate that.
If you’re in the Las Vegas area on Saturday February 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., check out the V-Day 2017 production of The Vagina Monologues at the Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center; all proceeds benefit Refuge for Women Las Vegas, an aftercare program for the trafficked and sexually exploited.
I’m done making things more comfortable for you guys. This is a time for growth and growth is necessarily painful. Growing pains begin with discomfort. Get uncomfortable. Decide to have a conversation with the man in the mirror and ask him to change his ways.
Altruism is the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.
If you do not have an altruistic bone in your body, you’re not a leadership candidate; you can’t be trusted to put the needs of the group ahead of your own. Stop talking about “the way it should be” and start looking deep within yourself for a shred of altruism. The reason women historically keep putting others above their own needs is because it’s the right thing to do–even if the efforts are never reciprocated–because we are the models demonstrating with our lives how to treat each other. That’s right, children, women are the mothers and we are asking you all to grow up now. Pay it forward.