If nothing else, the results of the 2016 presidential election exposed the deep political chasm between Black women and white women. After all, more than half of white women voted for President Donald Trump, a man who has proven time and again — even before the election — to be squarely anti-women. On the other hand, nearly all Black female voters threw their support behind Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent. Now, with the 2018 midterm elections underway, comedian Chelsea Handler is calling on white women to vote with Black women instead of voting against their own interests.
Handler made her call to action last Thursday during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she discussed her forthcoming Netflix documentary that will exam white privilege and racism in the age of Trump, according to HuffPost. During her chat with DeGeneres, the Chelsea Does host began to discuss the voting records of each group in the last presidential cycle, noting that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight, while 94 percent of Black women voted for Clinton, as Essence reported. And it's these oft-cited statistics, she continued, that prove just how far removed white women are from their own interests, as HuffPost reported, often to their own determinant.
Handler told DeGeneres during the interview, as heard in a clip being shared on social media:
We always have to look to black women. Black women always vote in their best interest... Black women vote in their best interest, always, historically. They always know what's up and we have to be sisters to them. We have to vote in their best interests, as well.
Handler, of course, isn't pulling her opinion out of thin air. As reported by Broadly in the wake of the 2016 election, a large majority of white women have historically voted against women's rights. After all, Trump isn't the only Republican candidate to win over half of the white female vote: 55 percent of white women backed Mitt Romney in 2012 and former President George W. Bush in 2004, respectively, according to Presidential Gender Watch.
But, after the last two years, that tide may be changing. The comic continued during her Ellen DeGeneres Show interview, according to HuffPost:
There’s a really beautiful moment happening with women coming together. We all know now there’s power in numbers and there’s power collectively, so it’s so important for us all to make each other aware of what your options are on [Election Day]. ... We all can just do more than we’re doing.
Part of doing more for Handler is unpacking the white privilege that allows white people to vote not only against their own interests, but in a way that harms marginalized populations, according to Yahoo!. The comic, who, in the past, has been problematic on the topic of race, told DeGeneres that, after Trump's electoral victory, she began reading more work from Black authors she hadn't read before because "I was stuck in my own world," as Yahoo! reported. She continued:
I just started to think about all the privilege I’ve benefited from in this industry... When I started to look around at people that don’t have as successful of a career or are working twice as hard to achieve the same things, I started to feel very gross about myself.
Handler added, according to Yahoo!:
For me, it’s an important subject matter right now. It’s like, "What are the people that are benefiting from this gonna do about it?" And I’m somebody who’s benefiting from it.
Handler's call-to-action is one every white women should listen to, even if you're a liberal Democrat. White women, including myself, could do more — so much more — to support and raise up the voices of Black women and other marginalized groups, even those we may belong to. And this midterm election cycle is too important to drop that ball.