I’ve never met New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor but from everything I’ve heard from friends who know her personally, she’s an awesome person and she’s great at her job. While I have no qualms in taking their word that she is talented, I was actually a little surprised to hear that she asked Senator Bernie Sanders whether he thought staying in the presidential race and not conceding to Hillary Clinton was sexist.
— POLITICO (@politico) June 6, 2016
Now, truth be told, Sanders attempt to speak over her and ignore her raised hand is incredibly problematic. The fact that he was intentionally trying to erase her presence was flat-out wrong, especially as it appeared that he was outright challenging her validity as a reporter. When I saw that, I was of two minds:
a) Sanders is eventually going to have to account for his behaviour in treating a grown-ass Black woman like a delinquent school child.
b) That’s a WEIRD-ASS question to ask.
While I abhor how he treated her, I have to be 100% honest in saying that it was a wild question to ask him. The premise of her question was that Sanders, who at the time was damn near mathematically eliminated due to the pledged delegate count, could possibly be harbouring misogynistic feelings toward Hillary Clinton that are preventing him from suspending his campaign and allowing Clinton to become the first woman to ever be elected the Democratic presidential nominee. But Alcindor’s actions aren’t what I have a problem with – it’s how since then, the political atmosphere surrounding Hillary Clinton has amassed into a referendum on sexism. To have unwavering support for Bernie Sanders’s political revolution is now being framed as #ImWithHer or #ImAgainstWomen.
Take this clip for example, especially between 2:30 and 3:19:
— Tommie Sunshine (@tommiesunshine) June 6, 2016
Brian Stelter basically said, “can’t you ignore any possible behaviour you personally find grotesque and abhorrent about this candidate and take a moment to marvel at the fact that a presidential nominee has a vagina?”
That’s not how this thing works Brian.
Hillary Clinton’s uterus doesn’t determine her position as the best suited candidate in the minds of the collective electorate or, I truly hope, her most impassioned supporters. I would like to think that the people who proudly stand beside Hillary believe that she is intellectually and emotionally capable of leading the nation forward. And in Bernie Sanders, Clinton has opposition that could not be more ideologically opposed to many fundamental Democratic beliefs, outside of a Republican or a Libertarian. Bernie Sanders is the antithesis of Hillary Clinton, and the idea that his party support is predicated on gender politics rather than their actual platforms is embarrassingly disrespectful and shortsighted.
Today, all throughout America, despite President Obama’s best efforts to pull his citizens up from the economic hell that President Bush left for him, many people in America are not only suffering – but they’re fed up with suffering. As politicians levy for political gain, constantly raising funds to avoid being “primaried” and fraternizing with the business elites causing this mass misfortune, that distress has continually been gladhanded and overlooked by everyday politicians. Until one presidential candidate seemingly stepped out of the midst of Washington insider BULLSHIT, to inform the masses that he KNEW the pain people were feeling, and he would advocate for the country even if it meant disqualifying himself from the corrupt game of D.C. politics.
That message didn’t resonate because of what he did or didn’t have between his legs, the message stuck because it was predicated on a progressive platform that would finally allow America to join the rest of the first world nations in treating its citizens to things like universal health care, fair wages, access to affordable education and even paid family leave. THAT was the message many people were treated to when they were first introduced to Bernie Sanders.
The fact that Hillary Clinton has said much of the same things, but they’ve yet to resonate in a similar fashion is not because of her gender identity, it’s because of this:
While the majority have spoken and decided to choose Hillary Clinton, this race wasn’t about old vs. young, experienced vs. wet-behind-the-ears and least of all, a man versus a woman. For many voters, this was a battle for the soul of the progressive wing of the Democratic party. To those men and women, Hillary Clinton isn’t a mere opponent, she’s the living, breathing antipode of everything they believe in and everything they’re fighting for.
She’s big business. She’s pro-banker. She’s the establishment candidate. For many, a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the continuation of the same problems that cause daily strife and suffering in the lives of many Americans. She’s NOT a revolutionary incrementalist, she’s a rigid centrist, and there’s many people who CAN’T keep trying to survive with the way things are going. They NEED revolution as a matter of survival. These people CAN and WILL accept Bernie losing to Hillary, but then you have BULLSHIT like THIS a day before the last round of primaries:
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 7, 2016
On a day when NO votes were cast or recount, a day before major primaries were going to be held in a state where Bernie Sanders was selling out massive stadiums, the AP basically told Sanders supporters, “you ain’t gotta go home, but you gotta get the hell outta here!” While many pundits had predicted that Sanders could do very well, he ended up getting pummelled.
Happened overnight, but… CNN projects Hillary Clinton wins California Primary. And it looks like she won big. pic.twitter.com/If23wDkTNt
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) June 8, 2016
Basically, what the Associated Press did was prematurely tell folks the race was already over before anyone had crossed the finish line. It would be like someone ESPN stopping the game 4 of the NBA Finals midway through the third like:
But, worse than the ethical dilemma of that, the real effects of their premature projection, based on an internal survey of superdelegates who can’t actually vote until July 25th, was how it negatively impacted the outcome of the primary. If you want to know why folks weren’t celebrating her historic win – it’s because it was tainted.
Yes, Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman to win the Democratic presidential nomination is HUGE – and her becoming the first female POTUS will be monumental from a gender politics perspective. But if we can expect a presidency of tepid social justice and federal allegiance to the 1%, her gender doesn’t mean a fucking thing.
And, for people of colour, there’s another dynamic at work here that many angry white feminists don’t want to accept: the elevation of white femininity does NOT always automatically equate into a W for women with lived, intersectional realities.
It's Black and Brown women who sweep the floors after white women break glass ceilings.
— WinDiddy (@WintanaMN) June 8, 2016
Native American women couldnt vote till 1924. Asian women couldnt vote till 1952. Black women couldnt vote till 1964 https://t.co/KMwGxXoyWK
— shreya (@shrreeyyaa) June 8, 2016
In all the same breaths that Hillary Clinton has spoken up for Black women, Latino women, lesbian women, trans women, etc., she has also hypocritically flip-flopped on critical issues involving their lives. Besides the real harm that she’s already inflicted in their lives through her advocacy of the 1994 crime bill and the gutting of welfare and her opposition to same sex marriage, her nature of flip-flopping doesn’t exactly provide these women with much confidence.
— Alisha Stewart (@AlishaNStewart) June 8, 2016
— iSweaterGawd✨ (@photosbywesley) June 8, 2016
— Chart Flops (@chartflops) June 8, 2016
— coconut exclusiv (@KingXa_) June 8, 2016
And this is, perhaps, the most frustrating part of the ‘get down with the #ImWithHer squad or you’re a misogynist’ movement: the idea that Hillary Clinton is a bastion for women’s rights advocacy. This race isn’t being fought on the battlegrounds of gender (I believe the general election will be a different story) so to insert her gender is nothing more than a disingenuous tactic. Do I believe that there is a swath of #BernieBros who are out here saying disgusting, disgraceful, misogynistic bullshit? OF COURSE. Sexism, like any other form of prejudice, runs through the country at all levels, in all ways. Do I believe that an anti-woman current is the catalyst behind MOST Sanders’ supporters rejecting Hillary Clinton’s accomplishment even in the face of historical achievement? HELL NO.
I figured that out while getting called Bernie Bro 100x a day as a 26 yo black woman working for a research hospital https://t.co/1TRGdXYjSI
— Anna Clark (@shannarotica) June 8, 2016
After President Obama was named the Democratic presidential nominee back in 2008. Black folks weren’t ecstatic simply because of his melanin, we embraced his brilliance, his thoughtfulness, his down-to-earth persona, and the fact that he was all about HOPE and CHANGE. His Blackness wasn’t the primary influencer because, as Chris Rock once brilliantly said, we weren’t all going to rush out to the polls to elect Flava Flav. He was the BEST candidate and the fact that the BEST person for the job was Black was a historic benefit. We didn’t have to compromise our values or, worst yet, ignore them, just to have our historic day in the sun.
And that’s what it feels like we’re being asked to do with Hillary Clinton.
“C’mon man, who cares about her long history of racist comments, bigoted allies and corporate shilling – celebrate her womanhood bruh!”
In the upcoming general election between Trump and Clinton, there’s a very palpable feeling, amongst women and men, that it’s all about voting for who you want to keep OUT of the office. Hillary Clinton doesn’t have low favourable ratings because she’s a woman, it’s because she’s only slightly less terrible than Trump. And the fact that some people believe that we should celebrate her mediocrity because she’s the first woman to make it this far is indicative of how far-removed many people are from the real issues affecting all citizens right now. People desperately NEED change and if Clinton is unwilling or unable to provide that as President of the United States, her being elected into office won’t mean a damn thing.
Revolution that isn’t accessible to those forced out in the margins, is not really a momentous occasion at all.
This Is Your Conscience