new-mammy-from-getty-homepageimagecomponent.JPGBy Melissa Harris-Lacewell

There’s been a lot of talk about women and their choices since Super Tuesday, when African American women overwhelmingly voted for Sen. Barack Obama, while white women picked Sen. Hillary Clinton. Some pundits automatically concluded that “race trumped gender” among black women. I hate this analysis because it relegates black women to junior-partner status in political struggles. It is not that simple. A lot of people have tried to gently explain the divide, so I’m just going to put this out there: Sister voters have a beef with white women like Clinton that is both racial and gendered. It is not about choosing race; it is about rejecting Hillary’s Scarlett O’Hara act.

Black women voters are rejecting Hillary Clinton because her ascendance is not a liberating symbol. Her tears are not moving. Her voice does not resonate. Throughout history, privileged white women, attached at the hip to their husband’s power and influence, have been complicit in black women’s oppression. Many African American women are simply refusing to play Mammy to Hillary.

The loyal Mammy figure, who toiled in the homes of white people, nursing their babies and cleaning and cooking their food, is the most enduring and dishonest representation of black women. She is a uniquely American icon who first emerged as our young country was trying to put itself back together after the Civil War.

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  • Ariel

    I hate that this was even brought up. Both Hillary and Barack are great candidates for the democratic nomination, and I wouldn’t be upset if either ran in the general election. I just hope people have been doing their research and support whomever represent their views the best, and are not just choosing between a woman and a black man. That being said, I’m not a Hillary supporter, but saying she’s pulled a Scarlet O’Hara act is uncalled for because she is a strong woman. Politics is a dirty game, and anything is to be expected. I’m also upset because I feel like this is saying that any black woman who supports her is a mammy for doing so. Maybe I didn’t get what I shouldn’t have from this article, and I appreciate the repeated history lesson, but the Gone With the Wind comparison about Hillary and her black women constituency is a bit much. Just my 2 cents…

  • I thought the article to be rather thought provoking. While the comparison is a bit much I personally do not feel any authentic genuine moves from Hillary. I also believe that to some extent she does believe she will get our vote. However it is about the issues at stake and change for me. I am the underdog and will always identify with the underdogs. Barack is hungry, this is unchartered territory to some extent to him and that gives me hope that it wont be business as usual. I do not want another President that had former family ties in office. You see where that has gotten us. It is time for change, so I rock the back.

  • ceecee

    I have to say I’d never thought about it in this way. very interesting point of view…there are so many theories that have been tossed around since this election started, i doubt that this will be the last.

  • I agree with the article, must i remind everyone that the only thing white women have done is turn their head while their, husbands, fathers, sons, uncles etc went and killed , raped, and stole from other ethnic groups on this earth. they’ve never lent a helping hand, all they have done is benefited from all the wrongs that white men have done. they don’t need our support, we need to think and care about our own issues and not a whites womens.

    obama all the way..