assata

Quick Hit: Black Women Have Always Been Leading the Revolution

“When ya’ll gonna realize that treating black women like deities is just another way to keep pretending that we aren’t human” – Folu

On Tuesday, in a stunning upset, Democrat Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate special election against Republican Roy Moore, flipping a Senate seat in a historically red state with a long history of racist voter suppression.

The race had disturbing echoes of the 2016 Presidential election: Roy Moore – a virulently Islamophobic white supremacist and sexual predator – up against Doug Jones, a white centrist Democrat. And as in 2016, the majority of white people (68%) – and 63% of white women – showed they will condone sexual violence if it means upholding white supremacy. Jones’ victory was due to black voters. In the face of decades of voter suppression and gerrymandering, an overwhelming 98% of black women and 93% of black men voted for Jones. Black voters – in particular black women – stopped Moore, and they did it through years and years of organizing for liberation against the constraints of partisan politics.

So instead of praising black women for “saving us” from Moore, it’s time we recognized their work and supported their leadership. Catch up on how black women activists are responding to the Alabama election:

In a Twitter thread, Bree Newsome connects statements like “Black women saved white folks from ourselves” to the long history of the racist “mammy trope” that depicts black women as the selfless saviors of white people:

      Mariame Kaba (@PrisonCulture) on the concrete ways you can support black women and girls’ organizing, like Assata’s Daughters:

Feminista Jones and Joy Williams talk about years of black women’s organizing in the #BlackWomenLead movement after white liberals attempt to take credit for their work

Although a Democratic candidate won in Alabama, the Democratic Party doesn’t get to claim this as a victory after consistently ignoring the needs of black southern voters and relying on desperation and fear to get people to vote blue, while blaming black voters for low turnout. It is Black women have consistently been at the forefront of movements for liberation, transforming the South and the country through feminist activism committed to supporting the most vulnerable among us.

For a more in-depth look at one example of black women’s organizing for community healing in the South, check out Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ “Freedom Seeds: Growing Abolition in North Carolina.”

“We believe that we grow the world we want community by community grounded in our specific contexts but growing a shared and dynamic vision and process that will bloom, revealing alternatives to a violent policing, imprisoning state, and feeding us with the fruits of our loving labor.”

Rather than portray black women’s political participation on Tuesday as an anomaly, let us understand black women’s history of involvement in activism and support their work to dismantle white supremacy and racial capitalism.

Header image: Assata’s Daughters

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Jess is a first-gen college graduate, LGBTQ person and cat lover living in Boston, MA. At Feministing, Jess writes about the intersection of state and interpersonal violence, LGBTQ communities and radical activism. Jess can usually be found on public transportation or the internet.

Jess is a first-gen college graduate, LGBTQ person and cat lover living in Boston, MA. Jess can usually be found on public transportation or the internet.

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