On the one hand, a march is never a complete waste of time, as you get some exercise. On the other, it rarely does any more than create a spirit of camaraderie amongst the marchers, who often lock arms to show their solidarity and create great optics. We remember, and adore, marchers decades, even centuries later when their cause comes to fruition. We forget the marches that never went anywhere.
There will be a march on Washington soon, which has been denominated the Women’s March. The name may be something of an exaggeration.
Attending the “Women’s March on Washington” has not once crossed my mind. I could conjure up a multitude of reasons why, but will raise what I consider to be most significant: In this event black women are merely peripheral interlocutors for what are supposed to be women’s rights and human rights writ large. There is a long history of black women being overlooked by, excluded from and co-opted into events that profess to be for the benefit of all women but that at their core almost exclusively benefit middle class, straight, white women (á la All the Women Are White).
Within minutes of this grand idea being born, war broke out.
Many thousands of women are expected to converge on the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. Jennifer Willis no longer plans to be one of them.
Ms. Willis, a 50-year-old wedding minister from South Carolina, had looked forward to taking her daughters to the march. Then she read a post on the Facebook page for the march that made her feel unwelcome because she is white.
The post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election.
“You don’t just get to join because now you’re scared, too,” read the post. “I was born scared.”
In the scheme of irrational rationalizations, “you don’t get to” is as good a reason as any other. If this was a bunch of guys, they would be measuring to see whose penis was longer, but it’s women, so the question is who is the victimest victim.
“This is a women’s march,” she said. “We’re supposed to be allies in equal pay, marriage, adoption. Why is it now about, ‘White women don’t understand black women’?”
Well, the name might be “women’s march” but the cause was the progressivism the nation rejected when it elected the most singularly unqualified candidate ever. And if there is any goal to the cause, it’s to sacrifice the rights of the majority, and those below the apex of the hierarchy of victims as established at any given moment, for the good of the fewest possible. If it makes white women feel any better, black women lose to blind lesbian transgender black women with one leg, though few march because of the leg thing.
As privileged white women were pushed out of the march, an agenda was set:
The Women’s March on Washington is a women-led movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds in our nation’s capital on January 21, 2017, to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination.
Recognizing that women have intersecting identities and are therefore impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues, we have outlined a representative vision for a government that is based on the principles of liberty and justice for all.
Damn, those words are sweet. But then they went and ruined it all by spelling out their “beliefs.”
We believe it is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system. The rate of imprisonment has grown faster for women than men, increasing by 700% since 1980, and the majority of women in prison have a child under the age of 18. Incarcerated women also face a high rate of violence and sexual assault. We are committed to ensuring access to gender-responsive programming and dedicated healthcare including substance abuse treatment, mental and maternal health services for women in prison. We believe in the promise of restorative justice and alternatives to incarceration. We are also committed to disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline that prioritizes incarceration over education by systematically funneling our children—particularly children of color, queer and trans youth, foster care children, and girls—into the justice system.
There are some good things in there, “restorative justice and alternatives to incarceration,” for example. But gender inequities in the system? The system that’s 93% male? By what weird trick does that become all about women?
And then there are the usual tropes that keep getting repeated, in always-interesting variations.
Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of violence against our bodies. One in three women have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime; and one in five women have been raped. Further, each year, thousands of women and girls, particularly Black, indigenous and transgender women and girls, are kidnapped, trafficked, or murdered. We honor the lives of those women who were taken before their time and we affirm that we work for a day when all forms of violence against women are eliminated.
No one supports violence against women. No one should support violence against anyone. But is the point that violence by women against “intimate partners” is fine? Or that the “one in five women have been raped” fallacy (this time, “raped,” not even sexually assaulted) is to be used in the jihad against men, all of whom are inchoate rapists at best?
We must free ourselves and our society from the institution of awarding power, agency and resources disproportionately to masculinity to the exclusion of others.
One can only assume their gripe is with the Ministry of Magic, that being the only institution capable of such a feat.
These are the goals that made the cut, the ones that reflect the overlapping, intersectional, interconnected, intercontinentalism* that has become the hallmark of identitarian politics, which ultimately boils down to the most marginalized, least privileged, person wins. As for the rest of the nation, tough nuggies. Who cares if you’re suffering, as your misery isn’t nearly as miserable as someone else’s misery, you selfish privileged blight on society.
And so there will be a march. How many show up isn’t really important, because any march that seeks “justice” for the few at the expense of the many is doomed to failure. But hey, at least they’ll get some exercise, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
*Among the other planks of their belief lies this gem:
We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.
This is going to really piss off the Swiss.