Days after the official announcement that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has put in her bid as a presidential hopeful, actress Jada Pinkett Smith poses a question that’s been on all our minds. In a Facebook post titled, “Race vs. Gender,” Pinkett-Smith shares her thoughts on feeling obligated to vote for Clinton simply because she’s a woman, and perhaps, the first female President of the United States, but the buried racial issues Clinton’s announcement also highlights.
The actress begins with, “Hillary Clinton is running for President. When Hillary made her announcement, I was more confused and anxious than excited. Her announcement conjured many old hurts and scars.”
She continued with, “In the past, I have been criticized for suggesting that black women extend our media platforms to white women in the way in which white women are making strides to extend their media platforms to us, but Hillary’s announcement reminded me that the relationship between black and white women on the political platform has been deeply complicated, disappointing and painful. The only question I have been asking myself is if I’m suppose to vote for Hillary because she is a woman; will she take us to the mountaintop with her or will women of color once again be left out and left behind?”
Here’s the rest of Pinkett-Smith’s post on what Clinton’s campaign will mean for women, especially women of color.
For example, during the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, black women were specifically excluded because Northern white women feared of losing support of Southern white women if black women were included. What made it even more offensive is that the two women given the credit of pioneering the woman’s movement were at first abolitionists. Those were complicated times, but as time has gone on it seems as if that sentiment of separatism did not let up and permeated through the feminist movement as a place to facilitate and empower white women only. I personally suffered the racism and classism of the feminist movement and now have had to watch my daughter battle even ageism as she journeys to participate in the feminist movement. But she continues to fight the good fight referring to herself as a feminist while her mother refers to herself as a womanist who supports feminism and feminists. You can imagine that Willow and I have had some “spirited” conversations about this topic that’s uneasy for even a mother and daughter to talk about at times which simply illuminates how volatile a subject it could be for a nation of women to explore…but we must.
How will we reconcile the past to move into the future? Can Hillary, whether she becomes President or not, heal the broken political ties of the women of this nation? I know it takes far more than the idea of being the first female President of the United States to run this country, but as a woman, it sure is an exciting idea. Women of color and white women have been taking on the majority of their fights on the political platform on separate lines; can Hillary Clinton change that legacy through her journey to become president? Because if she can…she would not only have my vote…but she would have my heart.
To all my women friends of all colors and creeds, this is a great opportunity for healing and reconciliation… let’s woman up in the spirit of compassion to gain more understanding of one another and the issues we face. Let’s get the conversation started…
What are your thoughts sweethearts, does the actress make great points? Why or why not, we’d love to hear your thoughts.