When Hillary Clinton announced earlier this month that she’s seeking the presidency in 2016, the move was, not surprisingly, met with a fair share of both support and criticism. But many were surprised last week when Jada Pinkett Smith questioned Clinton’s objectives when it comes to Black women and politics.
In a Facebook post titled “Race vs Gender,” Pinkett Smith admitted that when she discovered Clinton was running for president, she was “shocked and confused.”
“Hillary Clinton is running for president. When Hillary made her announcement, I was more confused and anxious than excited. Her announcement conjured many old hurts and scars,” Pinkett Smith wrote.
She added, “In the past, I have been criticized for suggesting that Black women extend our media platforms to white women in the way in which White women are making strides to extend their media platforms to us, but Hillary’s announcement reminded me that the relationship between Black and White women on the political platform has been deeply complicated, disappointing and painful.”
Pinkett Smith went on to explain how painful it’s been to observe and experience the racism and classism that has plagued the feminist movement.
“The only question I have been asking myself is if I’m suppose to vote for Hillary because she is a woman; will she take us to the mountaintop with her or will women of color once again be left out and left behind? For example, during the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, Bblack women were specifically excluded because Northern White women feared of losing support of Southern White women if black women were included. What made it even more offensive is that the two women given the credit of pioneering the woman’s movement were at first abolitionists. Those were complicated times, but as time has gone on it seems as if that sentiment of separatism did not let up and permeated through the feminist movement as a place to facilitate and empower white women only. I personally suffered the racism and classism of the feminist movement and now have had to watch my daughter battle even ageism as she journeys to participate in the feminist movement. But she continues to fight the good fight referring to herself as a feminist while her mother refers to herself as a womanist who supports feminism and feminists,” Pinkett Smith wrote.
But that’s not all she had to say. Read the rest of Pinkett Smith’s open letter after the cut.
“How will we reconcile the past to move into the future? Can Hillary, whether she becomes president or not, heal the broken political ties of the women of this nation? I know it takes far more than the idea of being the first female president of the United States to run this country, but as a woman, it sure is an exciting idea. Women of color and White women have been taking on the majority of their fights on the political platform on separate lines; can Hillary Clinton change that legacy through her journey to become president? Because if she can … she would not only have my vote … but she would have my heart.”
“To all my women friends of all colors and creeds, this is a great opportunity for healing and reconciliation… let’s woman up in the spirit of compassion to gain more understanding of one another and the issues we face. Let’s get the conversation started …”