By Irami Osei-Frimpong (January 22, 2018)
What if a subset of women composed the second biggest obstacle to gender justice in issues like affordable childcare, eldercare, fair wages and Union empowerment for women who work lower prestige jobs, etc. What if this subset of women blamed poor and working class women for being poor and working class as a way of validating their excesses or aspirations to excess?
What if the school to prison pipeline had as much to do with the elementary school teacher than it does with the cop?
What if Betsy DeVos isn’t an anomaly? How would you know? What if the second biggest obstacle for getting justice for poor and working class women, especially women of color, is middle and aspiring middle and upper class women, especially white women? How would we know? What are the means of power and communication for poor and working class people to understand and appreciate this message? Who would say? Judy Woodruff isn’t going to admit this on the News Hour? Terri Gross isn’t going to say it on NPR? If this were true, would Kamala or Kirsten Gillibrand admit it? Where else would you get this information that your “sisters” are a significant part of the problem? Are any of the beautiful people on the news going to tell you?
And what if the primary strategy to deflect responsibility and maintain and profit from the status quo was to blame poor and working class men? Blame their crassness? What if this false sisterhood of all women is the real counter-revolutionary strategy? What if everyday feminism, a discourse that is set from the elite even if it strategically gestures towards the bottom, actively reinforces the status quo against poor and working class women and men of color? What if it took steam as backlash against black men, that is, former property, gaining political power?
White politicos are very quick to say that we should ignore race and focus on class, and that race is just a strategy to divide oppressed people and pit them against each other. What if a false solidarity between middle and aspiring upper class women, on one hand, and poor women and working class women, on the other, is the real strategy to counter-revolutionary politics? A strategy set to divide poor and working class men from poor and working class women, and thereby neuter the justice claims of anyone who isn’t aspiring to be fancy?
What would it look like? How would you know?
By the way, if you look at the math, if you are serious about a Poor People’s Campaign, white women need to be seriously vetted. We need the unity of poor and working class women