Gracious in Defeat

Some of you probably dropped by the blog today wanting to know what I have to say about last night election’s primary results which put Barack Obama across the Democratic finish line with 2,154 delegates.

Let’s cut to the chase.

You’re probably wondering what the only (or almost only) black woman in blogosphere who’s openly admitted to being a Hillary Clinton supporter thinks here the day after it became clear that her candidate had failed to meet the delegate quota and also failed to graciously bow out the race when she had a chance.

Here’s what I’m thinking.

clintonFirst, let me congratulate Barack Obama for winning the Democratic nomination. With Obama’s victory, he becomes the first African American to win the nomination of a major political party and opens a new chapter in American history.  Obama was not my presidential choice, and I can’t imagine being nearly as emotionally invested in the November election and as I have been in the primaries, but I will gladly vote for Barack Obama in November because I believe that the alternative is absolutely unacceptable.

Secondly, I HATE LOSING.

Third, I hate losing the chance to see a woman in the White House. And if you’re wondering, the answer is no, I am not one who would be enthusiastic about an Obama-Clinton ticket. No! 

Fourth, now I know what I always suspected, namely that while racism is a sin, sexism is perfectly acceptable and tolerated in this country. Women are the worst culprits. The outright woman-hating jibes, the prejudice against Clinton as a middle-age woman, the physical mockery, and the anti-white woman rage have not been easy to witness. Clintonhas not run a faultless campaign– far from it. (Her surrogates need to be fired!) But Hillary Clinton the woman and the politician did not deserve the venom, the acrimony, the hatred, and the name-calling commentators and the public heaped on her throughout this race. 

Fifth, I admire the heck out of Hillary Clinton. And her campaign has done a lot to pave the way in the future for women with equal political ambitions. Even though I haven’t always been pleased with her campaign decisions, I’ve admired Clinton’s strength and her resolve. She’s tough, she’s competitive, she has heart, and she couldn’t have been anything less to have survived the ashes heaped on her and the lacerations she’s suffered as the first woman. But she lost the bid. Now it’s up to her to figure out how to bow out graciously and on her own terms. I support her right to deliberate and take her time. Afterall, it ain’t like Obama won by a landslide and goes into the next phase of the election with a mandate. Eighteen million citizens voted for Hillary Clinton, and she has the right to parlay those votes into some promises from the Democratic Party.  That’s how it’s done.

Sixth, the one important thing that has come out of Clinton’s defeat for me is what it’s taught me about black women– and about myself, for that matter.  This campaign held a mirror up to a side of myself that I no longer want to have anything to do with. The harsh, irrational, and ugly things black women have said here on this blog and elsewhere about Hillary Clinton ”and women like her” remind me of an old self. A self I walked away from when I left academia a few years ago. A self I’m not particularly proud of.  Black women spend waaaay too much energy hating distrusting white women. There are admittedly historical reasons for this distrust. But, girl, does it drain one’s energy. Not to mention how self-defeating it can be. It causes us to miss opportunities to build strong, powerful alliances with other women. We spend a lot of energy and time distrusting women who don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about us as we spend thinking about them. Ouch! Hating, excuse me, distrusting white women for their whiteness. Their white privilege. While at the same time coveting that very privilege. 

Take SATC, for example. Many of the same women gushing over SATC and admitting to identifying with Carrie, Charlotte, and Samantha ‘em with all their chic, anorexic, upper-class, materialistic, shoe-obsessed, sex starved obsessions are totally scornful of Hillary Clinton’s tenacious, audacious, middle-age, sexless, resolve and ambition. Maybe if Clinton were younger, prettier, thinner, she might have had a chance with women. She forgives her husband of his philandering and she’s a scheming shrew. Samantha ‘em give their philandering lovers in “Sex and the City” a second chance and these women are sexually empowered goddesses.   

Did I mention that we’re hard on women? We forgive Obama for dumping his black pastor and black church for a chance at the presidency, but skewer Clinton for calling on her white support in the final weeks of her campaign. We forgive men but spit at women for the same transgressions. Something is wrong with this picture. 

And while I’m at it, (you asked what I was thinking) here’s something else that would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Black women are turned off by white women like Hillary Clinton but are willing to conveniently overlook that her bi-racial opponent whom we’ve put our trust in was raised by a mother and a grandmother who have more in common with Hillary Clinton than they do any of us.

We’ve come a long way, baby. And we’ve got an even longer way to go as women if we want to make a dint against the racism and sexism we battle internally and externally every day.

Finally, I hate losing but there’s a lot to be learned from losing. Like how to wrestle much needed information from defeat so you can start over, and, if you’re a woman, smile and look gracious while you’re doing it.

45 Responses to “Gracious in Defeat”

  1. Sylvia Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was anxious to read your response to the end of the nomination process but was fearful that you would be like so many others who have said that “this woman just needs to get over this and move on.” And for one woman who usually does, I am moving much slower this time.

    I have been sickened and angered by the absolute overt nastiness from not only the media, but most people that I know in reference to Hillary Clinton. The manner in which most blacks have made she and her husband the new racists to bolter their support for Sen. Obama was beyond my understanding and it surprised me to hear and see the venom in my own people and I’m usually not surprised by much.

    But what I learned from this is what you have said: sexism trumps racism in what is acceptable bitterness to be publicly vented and the disappointment is that so many people (women) went along with it. In a church service I attended on Sunday a visiting evangelist said that he had walked off a plane because it had a female pilot because there are some places women didn’t belong. In my shock and horror, I looked around at the audience of women, some 95% strong, and watched some giggle. I gathered my stuff and walked out and prayed after leaving that one day, all women would stand up to this sick treatment and stop shaking (and filling) the hands of those who perpetuate this sin against them. But I also wondered if this vile political climate and Hillary hating has not unleashed this demonic spirit to uncover itself more in public.

    Sorry about the length though I so much appreciated yours. I have needed to vent. My entire family and friends have been against me during this entire campaign and I have to say that I, too, hate to lose but unlike you, I’m not so gracious.

  2. Renita Says:

    To the tenacious person who reposted her comments thinking that maybe there was a tech failure that prevented her previous comment from reaching me and appearing here on the blog — I chose not to post your comment.

    I’m a gracious woman, but not so gracious here today to allow any comments that take yet another jab at my candidate, even the nice-nastiest of comments. I refer you today to the scores and scores and scores of other blogs out there moderated by folks who love to skewer Clinton.

    Pokes and jabs and spitting were allowed on previous posts about Clinton here on this blog. But not today. Moratorium.

    Clinton lost, but I rule this domain. Find something else in the blog piece to poke jabs at.

  3. Lynette Says:

    Oh Renita,

    I agree with you. I have been asking black women, why do they hate Hillary so much? Further, it is saying something about us when we spew this hatred toward her. A friend of mine stated the hatred of Hillary for women has to do with self-loathing. I told her, I hope that is not true. This was painful to watch and hear. I would also go so far at to say, I remember hearing the same kind of hatred for women in leadership position that men mostly held. Until this campaign, I really did not know women hated Hillary for staying with Bill. Well, I like Hillary and Bill.

    I am trying to like Obama. To be honest, he lost me the first day of his presidency announcement, when Dr. Wright was not allowed to pray openly. I felt then and now, that if you could walk away from letting your own pastor pray, you will walk from anything and me when it is convenient.

    I am sad, but will pull myself up and I wrote to Hillary in support of her taking time to make the phone calls and comfort those who thought in their lifetime they would see the day of a woman being president. Some of those women will pass away with that hope. I hope still to see the day; whenever it is…

    The Dobbs Show poll stated 61% of their audience, believe Hillary should run as an independent.

  4. Sis. K Says:

    We should also applaud Clinton Campaign Manager Maggie Williams, who made a difference, just a little too late.

  5. adomani Says:

    i have been waiting to share my half cent. you are NOT the only black woman who is a fan of hillary. i AM her #1 fan.

    i am happy for senator obama,i am honored to be alive and here in this hemisphere where i was not born and see a black man get the nomination. but i have questioned a lot of things. ex. what is it that he is saying that, for example harold ford of tennessee or any other black man with his credentials could say and still not get the same reaction and response from white people. what makes him so safe? but i am happy for him and wish him well. by the way, my white husband is PRO obama.

    hillary is my model of strength and tenacity. can she stand up to the boys or what? she teaches us women to stop sitting back and only fighting for our kids. what about ourselves? sure we need to fight for our kids but those are the only people we fight for and leave ourselves vulnerable.

    hillary has shown us that we can be 50+ and passionate. that we are capable of having that fire in the belly and pursuing whatever we want. nothing is outside of our grasp or desires.

    women labor in the church for years but time for elections for office, the man who has been invisiblle gets the nomination and votes. where are our voices? where is our passion? where is our fighting spirit? i know where…. we hide behind God’s skirts and say, “it is God’s will!”

    nothing is too good or no office is too high for us women. and as for the nasty jabs at the clintons by black folks, it is shameful. i appreciate the pride in mr. obama and i,too, am proud of him,but to be so hateful as the blogs have been and continue to be, is`so wrong.

    no, you are not alone. i, am alsoa fan of hers and i am so proud of hillary!

  6. Tammi Says:

    Well, Rev. Dr. Weems due to tornado storms the power is out in the city but thank God for extended laptop battery life. Yes, forgiveness was in SATC and I am proud to say I also was a fan, supporter, and voter of Hillary even her forgiveness to Bill. Even my co-workers knew I waited anxiously for the day she would become a presidential candidate. Even us young sassy sista’s (some of us) recognize the empowerment of a woman leading politics. We can run homes, churches, businesses, and I pray one day this country. I remember being in a high school AP class when I was introduce to Hillary. Not as a presidential candidate someday but as a bad person because she was at that time married to the up and coming president. It was then when my female teacher in her banter against democrats that she would attack this woman drove me to find out “What kind of woman was Hillary” even then before her days to come in mainstream politics another female of her own persuasion would be so against her. It was then I recognized the power to support women being a young woman not knowing the road ahead. This is a bittersweet moment for me but I am glad to say I do understand the need to support another woman for one of the highest positions in this country.

  7. sharonevolving Says:

    Oh Renita,

    I waited anxiously to see what you would do on this. This is one of the best pieces I’ve read yet on the subject, and it profoundly nails so many things for me. There’s a lot of backlash and nastiness out there in the MSM and blogosphere against the ‘whiny Clinton loser women’ - as though this helps anything!

    It seems that in protesting such rampant sexism, women are now seen as taking a giant step backward, and playing victims. I think the backlash that attitude has generated within the Clinton supporters against the media and the DNC is going to leave folks reeling for a while.

    I think the hardest thing of all for me was to watch the Democratic party effectively shut women out, when they tried to force her to quit. Jackson, Kennedy, Reagan - all carried their fights to the convention floor with far less in delegate counts than Clinton has. She got half the vote! But I feel they did everything they could to stop a strong woman, and it makes my stomach boil.

    Republicans have always done this, but they’ve been open about being thugs, I have to say. The Dems were supposed to be different.

    Thank you for working such a strong piece here. It gave me immense solace to hear a strong woman on the subject.

  8. Arlender Says:

    This is my first comment on any of your blogs but I read all of them faithfully. I was quite moved by today’s comments because you expressed, so eloquently, many of the same feelings that I have about the entire Democratic Party primary.

    As a Black woman who has worked as an executive officer in the financial services industry I have had to fight sexism all of my carrer life. I too used to dislike/distrust White women but after working for Black males bosses for the last 25 years I can tell you without any doubt that sexim is much worse than racism in this country.

    I, too, openly admitted to friends and relatives that I supported Hilary Clinton and nothing has been revealed during this campaign season that makes me regret that decision. I do not believe in supporting candidates based on skin color or race. I honestly believe that Senator Clinton would have been the best President of these United States.

    My professional experience has taught me that if I want to get a job done effectively, efficiently and timely I want a woman/women on my team. I truly think that she would have been the person to make the “change” that of Mr. Obama’s supporters seems to think the Junior Senator will make.

    Over the years I have forged freindships and working relationships with White women and now understand that they face many of the same challenges that Black women face. I hope that as we continue to mature as a country and as a race of people that we can do a better job of determining whats best for us.

  9. Ruby Sales Says:

    Dear Renita,

    When people eat at your table, take your husband’s gifts and reassure you and your husband both publicly and privately that you are great people, then is it out of pocket to feel used by their wrathful betrayals? Hillary was stunned, and so am I. I know that some will say that’s politics, but I say these Black folk came calling as friends and left calling cards labeled friends. I am neither a Barack or Hillary fan, but I believe fair is fair and friendship is to be valued in all arenas of life.

    Hillary obviously believed the loud proclamations of friendship and lost her bearings when the truth came out.. color trumps friendship. So, she was left with very little choice but to go home to her folk. Yet, pundits and members of the Black community call her going home racist. Where was she to go?

    Yet, Barack was never called a racist because Black people support him. The difference between him and Hillary is that he claims to be a homeboy while talking white and neoconservative much too often. Go figure why we make a fetish out Barack while demonizing Hillary. Nor did we ask a sensible question, why did he join Trinity when there are hundreds of churches that he could have chosen? There is Black elite power within those walls that you must go through in order to climb up in Black Illinois and Black elitist America that is bound together in a tight and common knot. What better place to begin than under the loving care of beloved Jeremiah Wright, the prophet of audacity and hope. I am not jumping to any conclusions, I am merely suggesting that it’s a fair question worth asking.

    I think that is a grave sin to use a people’s unconditional love for your own career. This ain’t Black power or Black love. It is domestic abuse! On AOL today, a headliner celebrating Barack’s victory said, “Now is our time.” Another headline said Barack promises unconditional support to Israel. This he promised as a Black man from a people who in the words of Howard Thurman “live with our backs pressed to the wall.” So, do Palestinians. What does it mean to gain the world and lose our soul and good name all over the world? We learned too well from white patriarchs.

    What futures do we bequeath to our children? Where and to whom will they appeal when they find themselves persecuted and victims of ethnic cleansing. It will happen again because white rulers are building an Empire while we are blowing wind and building sandcastles. This is a hard world that requires both dreams and realism. Only the just and righteous survive in the long run! I am a sore loser too, when the present and future are at stake.

    Ruby Sales

  10. Fal Says:

    Ashe to Ruby’s analysis,

    I could not have said it better myself!

  11. Leslie D. Callahan Says:


    You know that I too have been a Hillary supporter. Every now and then, I just drop it in conversation with my Black, intellectual friends to see their shock. Tonight, though, I just couldn’t have the argument with the group I was dining with at Hampton. I didn’t want to have to explain to a group of 3 women and 1 man why I liked the white woman who, as they tell it, so obviously feels entitled to the presidency on the basis of white privilege.

    Let me say to you that through the primary season, I have counted on your voice. As long as you were supporting Hillary, I knew I wasn’t the only one. Thank you.

    And I’ll add this, I hope Black people remember to hold the nominee accountable to propose and later institute policies that benefit our subset of this larger community. We have thus far asked very little of Obama and have forgiven much from him that we would have decried from others. Supposedly, people voted for him because he seems more principled than “The Clintons,” let’s see how principled we are as his constituents.

  12. valerie bridgeman Says:

    Renita et al,

    I am not feeling exhilarated at all. I like a good fight, really. I believe in a healthy debate, honestly. But what passed as politics in the end left me cold. I came into the primary deeply respecting both Hilary and Barack, and come out knowing that I wouldn’t have been happy either way. And, yes, I will probably swallow and vote Democrat, but like Hilary, I need time to recuperate and weigh my options. I’m tired. As for Obama, when Dr. Wright got thrown under the bus and referred to as an old, angry uncle, when Father Pfleger got targeted, etc., I more than pause. I do not want a black man or a woman of any color in the White House at any expense. I am not convinced that the price will not rise and the screws won’t get tighter. What else will Barack be asked to “give up” and who else will need to be betrayed for him to be “acceptable.” So, I’m not sure that I’ve seen “in my lifetime” what I imagined I would see when an African/American/hybrid became the nominee for a major political party. As for the “sexism is acceptable,” it certainly seemed so; yes, she made missteps, and she turned me off at times, but the violent, brutal misogyny (I think it’s more than sexism) is overwhelming… (OKAY, calling it in before the ruler comes out)

  13. Ruby Sales Says:

    Ashe, Leslie, and Valerie, Fallon, Renita, and all of the brave sisters who have the courage to go against the collective gain for all of our sakes. These are troubling and crazy times. I still cannot get over my sister and brother Civil Rights Veterans who support a Black man that dismisses them as a part of an embittered generation who belonged to an era that is no longer relevant in a world beyond race and injustice. Victoria Gray Adams is rising up in her grave, and I hear her in your voices!

    Thanks from an irrelevant Civil Rights Veteran.

    Ruby Sales

  14. Teresa Fry Brown Says:


    I rarely “voice” my opinion in a public space (other than preaching) but I had to write to say “Thank You”. I have tried to be on a “news sabbatical” due to a case of debilitating mental/spiritua/intellectuall fatigue and disappointment. I was beginning to think the cause was my chronological age and extensive experience with the American electoral process. Addtionally, I became disturbed by the overt sexist/racist/bigoted/elitist statements by some Black women I had come to respect as colleagues intermingled with the challenge “You have to vote for Obama because he is Black” and “that’s what ‘real’ Black people do”. As you know, I think the knee jerk reactions by Mr. Obama regarding Dr. Wright and TUCC are a chilling precursor of things to come. How much should an election cost? Where are the boundaries? Who draws the “No Welcome” line? How does one define loyalty and respect for who broke the path for us?

    I, too, eventually will swallow my disappointment and vote Democratic since “none of the above” or staying home would disrespect all the people who died so I could vote.
    Thank you again, I am beginning to get some feeling back in my spirit.

  15. Renita Says:

    Thanks Leslie. Thanks also Teresa for adding your voice of comment here on the blog. I know what it took given the end of the semester fatigue you must be feeling right now.

    I know of no other place where black women who have reservations about Obama and who are alarmed at the rabid sexism and misogynism voiced over the last six months to defend Obama’s candidacy (and what that bodes for the rest of us) can congregate and share our concerns.

  16. Danielle Says:

    Dr. Weems,

    I am just numb from this battle. It has cast a very harsh light on sexism, racism and power in America. I have never been able to shake the feeling that I have much more in common with Clinton than Obama. It has been difficult finding the words or places to even discuss these feelings since I work in a republican environment and my family and friends have been in an Obama frenzy for months. The Jeremiah Wright issue and the treatment of Clinton (especially since Tuesday night) are reasons why I have been quite apathetic about politics for most of my adult life. I have tried to understand all of the ins-and-outs of the game and that old adage of not being able to make change unless you understand and get in the game. But the events of this primary and the looming memory of the 2000 election debacle leave me numb to it all. I have this conspiracy theory in the back of mind that there are about 25 power players that rule the financial, political, and global entities that impact us all. These kinds of events (the phenomenon of a black junior senator) only reinforce my theory to me. So in the midst of my rambling, I want thank you for keeping some balance in reporting of a woman who has withstood so much and is still standing.

  17. crt Says:

    I too have been a Hillary supporter and have found it interesting how people, especially African Americans (and African American women in particular) assume that you are an Obama supporter. Once they discover that you’re not, they reason or accuse you of having some inherent flaw in your reasoning, perspective, or even Blackness (as if Obama has ever toted himself as being the candidate for the Black people…use our pulpits and other forums to woo the vote…yes, but unless I missed that press conference I haven’t heard it). I have tried to take it in stride though there have been some moments. I have continued to struggle with how free people have been to tear her down, make her out to be racist, attack her femininity, go out of their way to be rude, nasty, and hateful. I get why…women, power, leadership, misogyny…I get it, but I am having a hard time pressing through. I do not need to swap fashion, cooking, or makeup tips with my president. I’m not married, but if I was I wouldn’t look to my president or her marital situation to help me navigate through my own relationship territory. I have sister friends for these things. Now I have not agreed with everything she has said or done, but I believed and still do that she was/is the best presidential candidate.
    I spent the entire day grieved yesterday not merely that she didn’t get the support to carry the nomination, but because it should have been a day to celebrate that an African American did. My continued struggle, call it discernment, caution, suspicion, whatever…is that the Obama of it all in the end will not go as so many have “prophesied.” I was in a soul food place yesterday and they had the Michael Baisdon show on. He was going on about how Hillary ruined the moment for Obama and Black folk and she has lost, needs to concede and just get out of the way! “What’s the point? She’s lost…she’s dividing the party, it’s our time!” I thought to myself, no…she had done the preliminary work, she had paid the dues, and 18 million votes later though he may have gotten the nomination, it was HER time!

  18. Georgia's Angels Says:

    @Dr. Weems, Dr. Sales,
    I’m a terrible loser and so i’m very disappointed in the outcome for all the same stated reasons. I live in Newark, N.J. and recently we had a home boy supported by none other than Oprah become the Mayor of our city. Now the promises that were made have been forgotten and the people that made this happen have been forgotten as well, when they complain to me I tell them you voted the dream now live the nightmare. This was not a HRC loss this was a loss to women. Those of us that have lived long enough to see the outcomes of the civil rights and women liberation movement understand clearly what this means. Last night my sons, Obama supporters came over to share their victory (or torment me) i simply told them November will tell the tale if this man was willing to walk away from his church and others in order to fit their mold what else will be cast aside for him to get in.

    In any case those of us that understand will make it, we have already overcome for such a time as this.

  19. revmamaafrika Says:

    Good afternoon to all,

    First, Sis. Ruby, thanks for your comments here. Sis. Valerie, your comments about how high the price, how tight the screw, I feel ya; time will tell. :)

    Secondly, and respectfully, I certainly hope none of us here take things personally if the candidate we support wins or loses. For many months, on this blog spot and many other places, I have simply stated my POLITICAL disagreement with BO and HRC; I’m sure they are both very nice people, but my criticisms of them have been POLITICAL, not PERSONAL.

    As a member of the Green Party, I am a supporter of Cynthia McKinney, based on her long history, experience, travels, accomplishments, voting record, etc. I must admit, I’m very dissapointed that so many long time radicals/progressive folks who are very knowledgeable about McKinney made a calculated decision not to support her candidacy or decided to ignore her altogether, but that is a POLITICAL DECISION they have every right to make; I assure you, I didn’t take it personal, I didn’t as they say, “bet my mortgage money on a particular horse in a particular race.”

    The interesting mix of gender, race and class, etc., has been a great learning experience for everyone; now, with what we have learned, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Have a great day! :) :)

  20. Renita Says:

    Taking it personal? Give it a break, RevMamaAfrika.

    No one here is taking it personal. We’re not paralyzed and giving up on life. There’s still laundry to do, dishes to wash, flowers to plant, papers to grade, hair to comb, church work to do, businesses to run, and jazz music to sway to.

    The women here are simply voicing their disappointment with the primary race, and I’m giving them the space to do so without jabs from dissenters. (Despite my better judgement, I’m gonna allow your plug for your Green candidate and let Ruby or someone else respond, if they care to do so.)

  21. wisdomteachesme Says:

    greetings sister weems,
    well, i also felt a let down sigh pass through me..
    i voted for hillary when NC did their things in may.
    my partner and i both voted for her.

    i have Always wanted to see what a woman would do in the white house. (we’ve seen what the men will do)
    the thought about her skin color never really crossed my mind.
    i also saw the true colors of “some” of their black friendships coming through all the ‘clinton lovers’ as this race gathered speed.
    i expected it-though it still saddens me that it happened.
    no canidate will be perfect as there are no perfect people. and none of them can part waters. so whoever gets the seat will will have enough to do trying to repair 8 yrs of messes and mazes that bushandchenny left us with.

    the thought crossed my mind about what do black people think he is going to do for ‘us’…?
    but i don’t give it much energy and time as there are too many other things i have to do that Are within my power! lol

    2 Cor. 9:10-11

  22. crt Says:

    “the thought crossed my mind about what do black people think he is going to do for ‘us’…?”

    Be the Messiah now come!

  23. Kesha Says:

    Sen. Clinton is to be congratulated for what she achieved. The presumed Democratic nominee should be also congratulated for what he achieved.

    Losing does hurt, but it is how you run that is also important. We run to win of course - but are so out of breath and beat down at the end of the race or can you pick up and join another one?

    I received this e-mail about what second place slot of HRC says to young girls. Paraphrased, the e-mail said that one woman (an HRC supporter) told her daughter - “honey, maybe you’ll grow up to be a cheerleader because you can’t be president, I’m not lying to you anymore.”

    Sad. We certainly don’t want young girls and women to be discouraged to the point that they don’t feel any progress.

    So I did some quick research.

    There are 192 members of the United Nations and 2 independent states outside, a few self-declared de-facto independent states and many self-ruling depencies. 19 have got female leaders at the moment.The 6 female Presidents are in Argentina, Chile, Finland, India, Ireland, Liberia and The Philippines.

    Find out more at

  24. revmamaafrika Says:

    Thanks for sending that Sis. Kesha,

    Someone told me about that list a few weeks ago. I must say, it warms my heart that Mother Africa gave us an elected woman president before the U.S. It also warms my heart that once again Africa stepped up, with Azania/South Africa’s new law allowing same gender loving couples to legally marry, also before the U.S.

    Now quality is more important than quantity, so we must also see if the election of women leaders is a further extension of justice for all; will they be good leaders, non-corrupt, less war like than some men have been in the past? Time will tell. :)

  25. wisdomteachesme Says:

    lol–see, that is what i feel they think also! i also feel ‘a stand back and look’ position with him…can’t put my finger on it–but something that i just can’t be at peace with about him.
    I know she did a very good job-and i know that the path that she paved is wide enough for the next woman to step up and run for the prez seat.
    and i’m hoping & looking for that one will be raised up to do so!
    see, i didn’t get into the word on the street that he did not have
    ‘many of us’ working for him in his present position.

    i agree with you when you said that black people look at you funny when they see you are not speaking up for him or flat out say you are not for him. i got that response also.

    my granddaddy use to say, “just because you black-don’t mean you got my back!”
    i have learned Exactly what that means
    throughout my 46 years of living.
    i’m keeping my eye on all ‘the people’–they jump from side to side a bit too quick for me without looking!

    again, i Know she did a BLessed Good Job!

  26. Woman in Transition Says:

    I purposely avoid discussions about politics as much as humanly possible, even with my own people, because of the “you-must-vote-Obama-because-he’s-black” attitude out there, and also because I want to make up my own mind without any influence. I made up my mind early on that I was going to stick with my party regardless of who gets the nod and pray that my vote would not be in vain. I will say that Hillary was a serious opponent and I have learned a lot about women, politics and power from watching/listening to her these past few months.

  27. Fal Says:

    Okay, I am upset! I forewarn you this is a rant!

    Pundits are wanting Hillary to bow out “graciously.”

    We do not ask men to do such things we ask them to fight gutter ball dirt in eye better watch yo back it ain’t over till its over aggressive unrelenting fight.

    I am tired of the media pundits and bloggers and black people and white liberals and yes even black feminist painting Hillary as some depraved whiny woman who does not know when to exit with her “tears.”

    How easily we forgive Barack Obama and his many transgressions and if the shoe was on the other foot we would want him to fight bare knuckle sweat drench slung in face fight to the Democratic convention.

    For many people there is a disconnect between Hillary’s gender and her “gutter ball” will to fight. We expect women to “graciously” bow out while men are expected to be “anything” but gracious.

    In the words of Fannie Lou Hammer, “I am sick and I am tired” of blatantly sexist jokes about Hillary this week.

  28. Georgia's Angels Says:

    If there is a next life I coming back as you.

  29. jbd Says:

    I, too, am sickened by how support of Obama has become a “badge of blackness.” And apparently, as I learned from a heated conversation with my father last night, now it seems that any defense of Clinton not only means that your commitment to the black community is questionable, but so is your mental stability. Before I go any further, I should ‘fess up and say that I voted for Obama in the primary. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve been blind to the blatant sexism and misogyny throughout this election process. I may be guilty of jumping on the youthful idealistic bandwagon, but I ain’t clueless (at least not entirely).

    What I’ve throughout this process is that while folk may give you hell for pointing out the sexism that Clinton has withstood, they will darn near crucify you when you suggest that Obama has experienced a level of privilege because of his gender. There’s no way that anyone can tell me that a (black) woman running for president with Obama’s same credentials would receive the level of fanfare and political support that Obama received…even in the black community (Cynthia McKinney, anyone?). They criticized Clinton early on because she was “stiff.” But it takes more than a charming smile and appeals to change for a woman to get elected. Perhaps that’s why “experience” was so important to her campaign. When talking with other sistas about our support of Obama, I found that it often seemed that his masculine, cool “mystique” and bravado was just as much a topic of conversation as his grassroots organizing. Gender politics clearly played a role in Clinton’s loss of the nomination; I’m convinced that it also played a role in Obama securing it.

    I’ll add that I’m usually one to stand by my decisions. But if Obama’s treatment of Jeremiah Wright and Trinity is any indication of his presidency, I just might end up regretting this one…

  30. Susan Says:

    I agree with you.

    Though I have been an Obama supporter, I have watched Senator Hillary Clinton brave some very unfair waters. She has been tough, which every woman in a leadership position has to be.

    I have been dismayed at the way women have talked about her and treated her … but again, it’s so normal. There are some WOMEN who declare that another woman will never be their president. I I have heard them say it, and it really bothered me. Who knows that the world wouldn’t be better if a woman was at the helm in these United States? People have criticized her for everything - from her hair to her pantsuits to her show of emotion earlier in the campaign. It hasn’t been right. She has been remarkably resillient, in spite of everything, and I respect her for it. She could have come off as a hateful feminist, but she didn’t. She told her husband that she could run her own campaign. I guess that bothered some women who still think women are supposed to fall at the feet of their husbands. She not only did it, but she did it knowing it would be public knowledge. I was overjoyed when she announced her candidacy; then I was conflicted when Obama announced his, because I am a black woman.

    In the end, for me, I supported Obama because my ethnicity had a stronger pull than my gender … but as time went on, I found myself more and more conflicted. Senator Obama may have clinched the nomination, but much has been lost in the process, and too much sexism has been revealed, only to be ignored. Obama’s victory for me, then, is bittersweet.

  31. Fal Says:

    @ jbd,

    Ya know this is why you are one of my good sisterfriends!

    @ Georgia’s Angel,

    i want to come back as you, my wise fiery passionate woman who run with the wolves sistah!


  32. Renita Says:

    Thanks for your respectful comment Susan.

    I’ve risked offending and alientating many of my loyal blog readers who are Obama supporters by my refusal to let through here on the blog today their “Hillary’s problem is/was” comments.

    I stand by my decision to give this particular comment section wholly over to those who support Clinton and/or those have a comment to make about the insidious way race and gender politics played out in the primaries that doesn’t end up as yet another dig at Clinton.

    I wanna let Hillary supporters have their say since there’s nowhere else in blogosphere (or around the family dining room table) where that’s possible without getting shouted down.

  33. Hagar's Daughter Says:

    Hi All,

    Since the announcement that Obama has received the required number of delegates, I have had a renewed interest in Senator Clinton. I am waiting with baited breath to see what her next move will be. I am taking notes on the power plays of this powerful woman.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that some people thought Senator Clinton would “play nice” because *ladies* play nice. As a result of these expectations, I think Senator Clinton critics and pundits were meaner. I can’t believe some of the things that were said. I’m proud that Senator Clinton doesn’t “hit like a girl,” but rather like a WOMAN.

    I will quote the wisdom of a 16-year-old young woman, “That lady ain’t no joke.”

    Thanks so much for this post.
    (BTW, my candidate from another party didn’t stand a chance, but I knew that when I pledged to her my support.)

  34. adomani Says:

    thank you sis renita for this priviledge. it is sickening to hear the anti hillary bashing and anti clinton meaness. thank you for giving us this space. may it be open for us to express our thoughts.

    love and blessings to everyone out there!

  35. John in Atlanta Says:

    As a middle-age, civil-rights-era, child-of-the-’60s African American man, let me first thank Dr. Renita Weems for her enlightening perspective on the Democratic primary. As a man, I admit that I can identify racism more readily than sexism, having been the target of the former on many occasions – but, of course, never the latter. Nonetheless, I understand that sexism is alive and well, witness it all-too-often, and remain eagerly educable on the subject. As many recognize, sexism was far more blatant publicly in this primary campaign than racism, which most commentators tiptoed around. In short, I heard sexist remarks far more frequently than racist comments. (Check out the sampling at

    Early in the race, I was delighted to see Sen. Clinton enter the fray. I have always admired both Clintons, although I stopped short of joining those who proclaimed Bill the “first black president.” During Bill’s successful administration, I was very impressed by Hillary’s engaged and influential role as First Lady, especially her determined battle for universal healthcare and her refusing to stay close to home, bake cookies, and limit her involvement to some uncontroversial public issue. Sen. Clinton is a smart, experienced, and tough public servant committed to progressive solutions to the issues of the day, certainly quite capable of serving as president. Initially, I saw Barack Obama as a possible VP running mate for the more experienced senator from New York. As the campaigns progressed, however, I gradually moved to the Obama camp, attracted primarily by his appeal as a unifying candidate. But I’m not writing to argue Sen. Obama’s case. I would still like to see them on the same ticket. In fact, that may be the only way to get the White House back into responsible hands this fall. I trust both candidates to make the best decision in that regard. (And I’m confident that VP Hillary can manage the “Bill factor” in Obama’s administration as well as President Hillary would have managed it in her own administration.)

    Three closing thoughts. First, let’s remember that many black women and men – regardless of who we may have voted for in the primary – continue to sincerely respect and appreciate Hillary Clinton, applaud her lifetime of extraordinary achievement, and look forward to her continued public service in whatever capacity she chooses.

    Second, each primary voter had to decide which candidate to vote for and why. If they wanted, folks could have voted for Obama simply because he’s black or for Clinton simply because she’s a woman. But, let’s not insist that others are obligated to vote solely on the basis of race or gender. Fortunately, there were and are more important reasons to support either candidates. And, come November, let’s remember that – whether or not there’s an Obama-Clinton ticket – we either put aside our differences and vote Democrat or suffer through another Republican administration. I believe most Democrats, especially one as committed to the party and the nation as is Sen. Clinton, clearly see it that way.

    Finally, I must take issue with the mother who, according to one reader’s comment, suggested to her daughter that the child’s opportunities are limited because Sen. Clinton did not win the nomination. I would never suggest to my preteen daughter that Clinton’s race was a failure. On the contrary, Clinton’s campaign, like Obama’s, has moved us as a society inexorably forward toward the Beloved Community that Dr. King described. (By the way, Kesha noted in her comments that 19 nations currently have female leaders. Don’t forget other world-stage leaders in living memory, such as Bhutto, Gandhi, Meir, and Thatcher. Clearly, our “cradle of democracy” is long overdue to put a woman in the White House, a fact I am proud to have noted in an editorial nearly two decades ago.)

    More than enough said. Thanks for a gratifying and thought-provoking dialog.

  36. Renita Says:

    Thanks John, I think.

    I’m going to allow your comments because they are emblematic of just what we’ve been talking about.

    The condescending, patronizing, patriarchal male voice comes on to scold women (voters), feeling the need to instruct us as to what the REAL issues are. As though we don’t know what the real issues are. Condescending to teach us what really important things we should be focusing on, instead of these little petty matters of gender (and of course, race). War. The Economy. Housing. Street Violence. Health Care. Immigration. All issues that transcend race and gender, I presume. Real Democrats suck it up and fall in line, and follow the man that won.

    And then the infamous (SATC) male kiss off, “THanks for a gratifying and thought-provoking dialogue.”

    [Ok, everyone, I’m not trying to be rude and mean to John. I just couldn’t resist this one.]

  37. Sojourner 4 Truth Says:

    I strongly support Obama’s campaign AND I voted for and will continue to vote for Hillary if she remains my senator.

    Simply put, Hillary strengthened Barack as a candidate. I am not referring to the campaign mishaps that may have given him an edge but rather I am referring to her political acumen, focus and her ability to endure 15 years of public vitriol. Hillary is strong, tenacious and strategic. And why should she/we have to apologize for these attributes?

    Her very presence forced Barack to develop a better strategy, clarify his message and regroup constantly. No doubt Barack comes to the game with many assets, yet there is something about the energy of a woman that continually shifts the paradigm. Even when making mistakes we cause people to elevate their thinking and way of being. Women must continue to shape and lead the conversation.

    Hillary’s biggest deficit is that she is a woman born before her time. As residents of this “free and progressive” nation, we are not collectively socialized to be in relationship with or follow the leadership of strong women. We must prepare our sons and daughters to respond differently.

    @John - The women on this blog are multi-dimensional and profoundly astute. And collectively, we have wisdom and experience that would take a millennium to unpack, let alone comprehend. Your remarks are patronizing and paternalistic.

  38. Fal Says:

    @ John,

    As someone who tries to stay away from brother rabbit “tar” situations, I will only echo Sojourner 4 Truth and Dr. Weems that your seemingly innocent diatribe is very paternalistic and patronizing. And just in case you think I am picking on you because you are a man, no I would say the exact same thing if you were a woman.

    Furthermore, I hope you learn from the responses to your comment that language is powerful and that the way you assume that “we women” are unaware of Hillary’s tenacity and leadership or unaware of what comes next for Democrats is paternalistic.

    And, the woman who said that her daughter’s opportunities are limited because of the misogyny and sexism evident on the race has every right to say what she said. Every salacious deeply vile sexist joke about Hillary’s tears, thighs, “billary” comments, pant suits, nutcrackers, likeability, etc. is a future slap in the face of every woman who chooses to run for office especially the presidency. This situation is even direr for women of color who stand at the intersections of both race and gender.

    All in all, your male privilege in particular your black male privilege the same privilege that got Obama the nominations shows in your comments, what “third arm privilege” you have to come into a woman’s space and tell us what we should know or what should do.

    Let me stop myself before I fall into the tar!

  39. Ruby Sales Says:


    I agree with your response to John. @ John. For someone who was in the Movement I am surprised that you would support a candidate that supports the genocide, segregation and oppression of our brother and sisters in Palestine. Dr. King would wretch in his grave. Issues. One never should put aside our differences. Dissent is the hallmark of democracy. I know the rulers require conformity from all of us. Any breakage in conformity poses a clear and present danger to their power and control. I agree with Fannie Lou Hammer, we did not come this far to push aside our differences. We came this far to be seen and heard not to lay planks for fascism. Audre Lorde put her hand on the issue when she warned us that “our silence will not protect us, so we might as well speak because were never meant to survive”.

    And, you know “part of the beauty and strength that Black women bring to the world is our determination to tell the world what’s on our minds. No, we won’t keep quiet even for a false issue of unity in a society that is sorely divided by race, class gender, and heterosexism.

    John, as one Movement Veteran to another, you are out of touch. You talk like a talking head.

    Ruby Sales

  40. Robin Franklin Says:

    I cannot say that I have been a Hillary supporter but from the time all of this started I was willing to hear Obama and Hillary out. I do think that there is a bias because Hillary is a woman and because she can stand toe to toe with her male colleagues.

    I have not liked how she has handled a few situations and should have had some serious sit downs with her husband and staff. I also think that if she shows normal emotion, she is seen as fake. If she shows she can do the job, she is hard and some other things that don’t need to be said. When will women truly be able to sing “We Have Overcome”?

    Thanks for writing what you did.

  41. Khadija Says:

    Rev. Weems,

    Thank you for providing this safe space for dissent. Although I don’t support Sen. Clinton OR Sen. Obama, I’ve been disgusted by the Borg-like enforced political conformity in the Black community. As if Black people, Black ministers, and Black houses of worship are REQUIRED to support the career goals of any particular Black politician. As a people, we used to understand the value & importance of dissent. We’ve collectively lost what’s left of our souls.

    Peace, blessings & solidarity.

  42. revmamaafrika Says:

    Sis. Khadija,

    Thanks for your post as well. I really long for the day when we as a people can discuss the issues, policies and political positions of candidates instead of their speeches that ring with buzz words that make us feel good, but lack anything specific about how they will address problems. People need to be brought into politics not just as campaign workers for a particular candidate, but as real, truly progressive community ORGANIZERS engaged in a lasting process. Mass-based, participatory democracy, with training on organizing, research, media, coalition building, political education, use of technology, etc.

    Oh, what a day! :)

  43. Jane Hassinger Says:

    Dear Rev. Weems: I am grateful to the WSListserv for leading me to your Blog. I will stay tuned! Your courage is inspiring. I’ve been grieving during this recent campaign, over the ways in which many (most) writers pull the race-gender issues into fragments, leaving many of us stunned and without voice. It hurts and leaves us weaker as women and as a nation. I do not believe that Obama’s mind works this way, nor Clinton’s. I do believe, as one of your respondents said, that they ultimately made each other stronger candidates. Around the world, gender is trumped by race for reasons of expediency. I see this in my work in South Africa and I see it everyday in my work in the US. We need your voice and your powerful mind, refusing to fragment, to help us all move toward sanity and equality. Many thanks. Jane

  44. AnaLouise Says:

    Thank you so much. As a woman of color, I have been made to feel guilty for supporting Clinton in this campaign. You express a lot of sentiments and thoughts I’ve been experiencing, too. I appreciate knowing that I’m not “the only one” (or two or three….

  45. Clarie June Says:

    I know my posting is a little late, but I just read your post. I want to say, “thank you.” It is time women stop hating on women. I tire of it. This hate is “bad” for our collective communities, children, politics, families, and world. We can no longer, as if we could ever really afford it, afford to be divided based on ill-conceived differences. Every woman has something another woman is envious of. This should be celebrated not hated and torn down.

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