White Women and Last Tuesday

8 comments Written on November 15th, 2016     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
mandiMandi Cherico is co-pastor of Sojourner Covenant Church in Evanston, Ill. Born on the East Coast and raised in the Midwest, she is passionate about safe spaces, beauty, the Bible and Beyonce.

Last Tuesday was bigger than politics. It was bigger than a victory for the Republicans or a defeat for the Democrats. Last Tuesday, a national message was sent to women, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, Mexicans, the LGBTQ community, muslims and every other group who has been insulted and threatened by the president-elect and his supporters. The message? You don’t matter. Marginalized groups stand to lose the most after last Tuesday. Make no mistake.

The president-elect did not invent modern sexism. Long before the tweets were published or the audio was leaked women were getting grabbed and interrupted and insulted by men. That’s unfortunately not new. What was so disheartening and frankly terrifying about last week was that a renowned practitioner of misogyny not only got away with it (this, too, happens all the time), but that half the country knew this and still handed him the world.

81 percent of white Evangelicals voted for the president-elect. That means most Covenanters. That means some people who are reading this. This was predictable. Since 1980, you’d be hard pressed to find a white Evangelical who would vote democrat, mainly because of the church’s deep connection to the ‘pro-life’ movement. Historically, white Evangelicals have always rejected the leadership of anyone who is not a white heterosexual male, so again, it’s not surprising that Hillary Clinton wasn’t a favorite.

It’s not surprising that most white men voted the way they did last Tuesday. It’s not surprising that most white Evangelicals voted how they did last Tuesday. However, there is one piece of data I can’t get out of my head: according to CNN exit polls, 53 percent of white women voted for the president-elect.

For this I grieve. For this I confess my role in not engaging more with my white sisters during this political process. White women saw or heard the sexist actions and words of the president-elect. They likely heard the Access Hollywood tape. They knew about the heinous online bullying. They saw his blatant disrespect of Hillary Clinton during the debates, during his own campaign appearances, in interviews. They saw all this and they still thought this man was worthy of the highest office in the land.

Somehow, white women found a way to differentiate ourselves from the women the president-elect has insulted or assaulted. We believed the fantastic stories of “it’s not that bad” and “it would never happen to me” – old lies propped up by the shaky scaffolding of lowered expectations and heightened class differences. Perhaps 8 years of an administration that at least projected a high regard for women has made us forget just how susceptible we are.

When the president-elect signs off on the assault of women, none of us are safe. The fact that white women couldn’t recognize this scares me more than any other statistic because it means that misogyny is stronger than I thought. It infects women more than I thought. I bemoaned this with some women pastors last week. The words of my classmate Baily Warman keep ringing in my head: “We can’t even show up for ourselves.”

This is why I grieve, and why the results of this election have me doubling down on my efforts to empower, partner with and educate women who look like me, not just for their sake but for the sake of the world. Because white women have relative power and privilege. We have the responsibility to use this power for the good of ourselves and other marginalized groups, as God calls. Make no mistake: no one will fight this battle for us. The Oppressor prowls around like a lion and tempts us to sell out for false morality and male acceptance. We are in the fight, whether we like it or not. All we get to choose is which side we’re on.

White women: if we want Biblical equality, if we want to see justice in this land, if we care about people on the margins of society, we have to participate in the work of the liberating Gospel. We have to take it personally. We have to practice ruthless respect of the divine image we and others bear.

We must learn to show up for ourselves.



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8 comments “White Women and Last Tuesday”

So 81% of white evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump and from that supposed statistic you have concluded that that means most Covenanters? This is like the old saying that “All firetrucks are red therefore all red trucks are firetrucks”.
I know many people of all colors and of both genders who are members (and attenders but not members) of the ECC of America who did not support Mr. Trump. But, now we do have him as president elect and our calling it to begin a process of coming together in dialogue and in prayer. Mandi, I know you mean well–I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place but perhaps it would be good to ask Covenanters if indeed 81% voted for this candidate and if so, why they felt compelled to do so. I could be wrong here but I think you might be surprised at the results of such a poll. May God help us all as we struggle to find peace and place for all Americans.

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Hi Becky,
I truly hope you’re right about most Covenanters. I haven’t done an exit poll of Covenanters but the majority are Evangelicals so I think the claim fits. It would be interesting to find out more, certainly. Perhaps someone will research and write a follow up article? I’d love to see it. Something I’ve realized is that not all ECC communities are created equal. In other words, though I know a lot of more moderate or liberal-leaning urban Covenanters, the majority of Covenanters are more conservative and live in rural and suburban communities. The majority of Evangelicals in these communities threw their support behind the president-elect. 
Like so many of Americans, I am very tired and scared. I am not ready to try for unity. That’s ok right now. I need people to know the message their vote sent to people with less privilege, regardless of their intention. I feel it now as a white woman, but others have felt it for much longer. Their pain is my priority. I think that’s Biblical. Advocacy is more important than diplomacy right now. 
One I thing I can’t get behind is calling for unity without first acknowledging the pain and damage that has been done. To ask people who are more at risk than ever right now to come together before we hear their pain is further violence against them and unsustainable. To distance ourselves from the issues only makes them worse. If you feel misrepresented by Evangelicals in this election, or disappointed by the results I hope you feel free to explore that, because it matters! You matter. 
Thanks for your engagement.

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I couldn’t agree more – Thanks for being brave enough to put this into words.

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Thanks, Lane. 

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Excellent! Thanks.

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Thanks, Steve!

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Mandi – Thanks so much for this post! I too remain focused on helping people understand how our not participating earlier in the election process produced the choices we were left with. I am more than concerned that the voices who lament now find ways to motivate others to remember how important the right and privilege to vote really is. We need to begin with participating at the primaries by educating ourselves on the candidates that will eventually become nominees and not allow the media to censor potential candidates because of polling numbers. Truly there is much work to be done and it will be very difficult work to change a very corrupt system. But the God of justice calls us to remain faithful in this struggle for justice and the Spirit’s power compels us to be God’s witnesses to all who are suffering and in fear right now.

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I love that, “I am more than concerned that the voices who lament now find ways to motivate others to remember how important the right and privilege to vote really is.” So much work to be done. But this is one practical way to keep at the work and remain faithful to our just God! 

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