Gender Solidarity? Really? The Candor of Tim Wise


Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

During my nightly swim through the ocean that is the Internet, I ended up in what has been the political deep end.

Checking out the TwentySomething Bloggers forum, I eventually found myself at The Only Baggage You Can Bring. While on that topic, let me say that this was my first journey to this blog, and I enjoyed it. I need to read some more posts in the archive, but it’s probably a safe bet that this will be added to my blogroll in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled.

Anyhoo, reading through the posts on the front page, I found this one and was inspired to do a little posting of my own. In the post is a link to an open letter by Tim Wise, whom blog chief Samantha Grace describes as “pretty much one of the coolest white dudes ever.” The letter is entitled “Your Whiteness is Showing: An Open Letter to Certain White Women Who are Threatening to Withhold Support From Barack Obama in November”—I’m actually eshausted from typing that, deep breath…okay…we’re good.

I wanted to understand the letter, not just scan it, so I fired up the old all-in-one printer and made a hard copy. The way I formatted it, it ended up being about two full printed pages. Two full printed pages of reason, that is. After having given you the title of the letter, I hope I don’t have to explain what it’s about. I will, however—free of charge—provide you with a quote that frames the nut of the article as only Mr. Wise could:

“If it were gender solidarity [white women] sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are threatening to vote not like other women—you know, the ones who aren’t white like you and most of your friends—but rather, like white men! Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical, to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white people. So here’s the first question: What the hell is that about?”

This letter was written on June 5, 2008—before McCain made the announcement that Sarah Palin would be his runningmate. The Palin pick—a move that has yet to seem more than a cheap political ploy/shoddy attempt to grab upset Hillary supporters—gives this letter even more relevance and urgency. Some (read: the wackos on the far right) might say that, because I am a man, that making any sort of negative comment or statement toward or about Sarah Palin is sexism. Bullshit. I just don’t think that temper tantrums—and yes, that’s what this sort of behavior equates to, a temper tantrum—are the way that adults should try to solve problems.

The point of this post is this: read the article. Don’t just scan it, understand it. Questions that I raised: Does it make sense, regardless of how you come to the conclusion, to vote based on nothing other than race/gender (bold to emphasize that voters in said demographic would not look at the issues, but rather would say, “that person looks like me, they have my vote”)? What versions of feminism/racism are we seeing in this letter? How does party affiliation matter here?

Let’s think, voters! Comments/thoughts? Lemme know what you think.


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