(ThyBlackMan.com) Affirmative Action covered many facets. It was not just about exclusions based on race, it also defended exclusions based on gender. Yes, woman would jump behind Affirmative Action as the argument was similar. Why should I be excluded from certain degree programs, or job promotions, when I’m overly qualified…I just also happen to be a woman? On the surface there is nothing wrong with this position at all. Feminist would use this position as it is clearly one of the foundations of their movement, equality. This is another space whereby all minority women should be able to come together in solidarity behind the cause of equality, but that is too much like right.
However, the loss of Affirmative Action will definitely impact Black people, yet the demographic that may also feel the loss is White women. On the grounds of Affirmative Action, they were allowed space in many institutions including ones no one may have thought of…like HBCUs. When dealing with this subject one must flush out the relationship of Black and White women regarding feminism and equality. That divide always threatens solidarity and makes the discussion of how to deal with this blow to everyone’s equality difficult.
How we are to deal with this blow to Affirmative Action [which may affect more areas than just university admission] is going to force us to look at how we work with others. It is no secret that Black women have always been on the front lines in the fight against racism, sexism, and for equality. Unfortunately, they have seen their movements hijacked, they have had their struggles ignored, and in the fashion of most movements they are the last to receive the benefits that would come from what they are fighting for. They are forced to watch others benefit from them organizing, protesting, and even dying for equality. Though there are exceptions to this, most White women fighting for gender equality are not allies of Black women, nor people, even though they are fighting for similar rights. Race rears its ugly head even when it should be stamped out by all the likeness of movement. There are seats that our White counterparts may still be able to get under legacy admission. Will they fight against such a thing, as it removes space for qualified minorities? History has taught us they will not.
Though Affirmative Action has Black people questioning what they will need to do to ensure opportunities for their children…too many Black women may feel that is a conversation they can not have with White Women. At one time in history, we were all fighting for suffrage rights. Women like Sojourner Truth with her “Ain’t I A Woman” speech took a stand while still dealing with the enslavement issue. Today we’ve seen that speech co-opted by White women while they are no longer for the right to vote…nor are they fighting for their humanity as everyone can agree they are human. Voter suppression is real in the life of many Black women, and Black people, we are still trying to get the world to see us as humans and citizens…verses property and dangerous creatures. We are still waiting to feel the manifestation of what our Ancestors, to now, fought for…while others benefit now. Believe me when I tell you this isn’t apples and oranges.
It is a fact that White woman are a large minority that benefited from Affirmative Action in all of its forms. Now that it has been rescinded it can affect their qualified movement and progress…just like the rest of us. The question is will they stand with us as we fight for some form of safeguard to be put in place to protect us from qualified disqualification. Will they show themselves in large to be the allies we deserve because we are not just fighting for ourselves, we are fighting for the future of our children? That’s the thing, Black people are always fighting for the future of our children, and in turn the children of other minority groups…while too many of our children are still loss to us. I understand this is, and might always be, a difficult conversation.
The intersectionality of race and gender is at the forefront of subjects like Affirmative Action. However, until there is a real change in this nation, and sincere solidarity among minority groups [which includes White Women who are also teachers of the children within their community] decisions such as Affirmative Action will continue to deepen a divide that should not exist.
Staff Writer; Christian Starr
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