Opinion White Southern women are holding us back
"Pour one out for us in Texas. We’re really hurting this week. So this newsletter is a little on the short side. …
The state voted overwhelmingly Republican during Tuesday’s midterm elections, even more so than in 2020. Incumbent GOP Gov. Greg Abbott soundly defeatedhis Democratic challenger, former congressman Beto O’Rourke. Republicans also retained all of the major statewide positions, including Attorney General Ken Paxton — who has long been under legal indictment. Sigh.
Before I begin, I know what many of you think. That Texas should be given back to Mexico. Or at the very least that none of y’all would miss us if we seceded. Yeah, I read your comments on my pieces!
It’s true that Texas’s statewide outcomes seem even more hopeless for Democrats here, considering that a “red wave” slaughter of Democrats did not materialize nationally, as many pundits predicted. But to be honest, it’s hard to feel happy about a smaller-than-predicted national tide, when Texas’s red ocean levels only seem to be rising.
The question a lot of non-Texans are asking is: “Why?” Why would the state reelect the same leadership after our deadly power-grid failure, after the Uvalde school shooting, after the criminalization of reproductive rights?
I don’t have all the answers. Voter suppression is a factor, and there’s the sheer size of the Republicans’ war chest. Voter polarization is a powerful force. It’s tough to overcome all of that.
White men vote Republican; we all know that. But there is another group that consistently supports the GOP’s anti-woman, do-nothing-about-dead-kids stance, and that is White women. Seriously, what gives?
White women (64 percent) voted for Abbott in about the same numbers that White men did (69 percent).
Black women, on the other hand, went 90 percent for O’Rourke. We held it down. As usual.
A similar story played out in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, in which White women overwhelmingly voted for Republican incumbent Brian Kemp and Black women voted for his challenger, Democrat Stacey Abrams:
And, of course, we all remember that a majority of White women voted for President Donald Trump in 2020.
There is a lot of focus in media circles on how Latinos will vote. There has long been an assumption that an increase in the number of non-White voters could dislodge the GOP’s stranglehold on my home state. But the reality is, Southern White women are the lady foot soldiers of the GOP’s agenda. We will not get free until that changes.
There is, of course, a long history of White women serving the conservative agenda of the Southern patriarchy. I mean, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and their funding are a large part of why many Confederate monuments still stand in the United States.
If there was ever a time for White women to mobilize at the ballot box, it should have been the year that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationoverturned abortion rights. I’ve seen and reported on Black women who are fighting for all women’s rights, children’s rights and better education. And yet those favors and efforts are not returned to us. And the polls consistently show that.
White women’s political behavior, especially in the South, makes it difficult, if not damn near impossible for meaningful change to occur. The racists, misogynists and anti-LGBTQ forces in the GOP have been banking on this for a long time — and they are clearly still reaping the rewards.
Home front: Slavery on the ballot
Speaking of the Confederacy, slavery was apparently on the ballot this week in five states.
Progress is progress, I suppose? Does this mean the Civil War is a little closer to being over?
All right, the votes were designed to close a loophole in the 13th Amendment that allows “involuntary servitude” as a punishment for crime — prison labor, in other words.
But seriously, I have questions for all those who voted “yes” to keeping slavery in their state’s constitution in 2022.
Global radar: Twitter’s global blues
Elon Musk is mucking everything up on Twitter, it seems. He announced an $8 subscription for blue-check verification, only for the company to try to roll out “official” badges for certain accounts and news organizations. The company then haphazardly laid off half its staff, only to scramble to hire some of them back.
While much of the fuss has been about the United States and English language users, I worry about the global implications of Musk’s machinations.
For starters, it’s clear that Musk doesn’t give a damn about Africa. He laid off the staff at the Twitter office in Ghana, the company’s only (!) office for a continent of more than 1 billion people. Twitter has played a huge role in many African countries, including Nigeria’s massive 2020 #EndSars protests against police brutality.
It is probably too early to tell what this will mean, but it would be a shame if the moves degrade people’s ability to understand and learn directly from Africans about the issues that matter to them.
This is personal for me, actually. I got my start on Twitter more than 12 years ago in Ghana. I was there in 2009 covering the country’s elections, and Ghanaian journalists showed me how to use Twitter to keep up with news and political developments in real time. And now, workers at the Twitter office in Ghana are scrambling to figure out what to do next.
This does not augur well, especially combined with the fact that Western media organizations are downsizing their investments in Africa: Britain’s BBC has announced that it is also laying off a number of its Africa coverage staff.
A lesson in all of this for the continent: It is beyond time for Africa to invest in its own social media platforms and journalism houses.
Fun zone: The zen of Corn Kid
Here’s Corn Kid again, explaining his “retirement” and going back to school. Please protect this little boy at all costs. He is a national treasure!