The first criticism of Kamala Harris I saw on Twitter last night after the debate was exactly the one I thought I would see: a criticism of a woman of color for her facial expressions.
For me, as a voter, Harris’ ability to not scream at the deceit coming from Pence was phenomenal. I wouldn’t have been able to be calm in a room with a member of the death cult administration. I was amazed at her cool.
White people voting for the death cult Trump/Pence cried foul on facial expressions. Is it because Pence can lie with a creepy calm soft voice? Is it because everyone’s political style must be measured by inscrutable faces of white faces in suits? And why are white people afraid of facial expressions? Why is the go-to bottling up all emotions so you one day explode?
The expression-less of this regime have given us manifest their emotions by taking away other people’s civil liberties and stripping basic human rights. Give me a facial expression; it’s far healthier.
This whole facial expression thing reminded me of the time my ex-husband (Mexican-American)was written up by the school district he works for because they said his face was too expressive and he was too animated in public. Translation? He wasn’t white enough. I brought this up to his boss and she stared at me blankly. Such was the limit of her interaction with anyone other than white people in management.
It reminded me of being the only Latina faculty member at the college I taught at for 13 years and every meeting where I had to keep my face as blank as possible so as not to disturb the white teachers with emotion — even when we were discussing policies that were detrimental to students. We were expected to not be passionate because dominate culture never wants to actually feel the repercussions of its actions.
I’m anxious to get to a place in our culture where we don’t have the aggressive and often violent — what my Mexican mother calls the “white polite” face as the center of our public life. It is the face of PTA meetings. Of school boards everywhere. The face of ruling white elite: social cohesion uber alles. They want all their violence and aggression normalized.
Pence was for all intents and purposes his usual soulless robot self. We who have followed his record in Indiana know what and who he is: a hateful man obsessed with dismantling the rights of LGBTQ and overtly sexist in his inability to be in the same room with women unless his wife is there because of his assumption he’ll be tempted to sin (as if the women in the room would be interested in the soulless robot). His self-espoused Christianity does not lend itself to any tenets of Christian charity or he’d have stood up for the separations of families at the border (among a gazillion other crimes against humanity this administration has instigated).
Kamala Harris in the debate was a real person and did the balancing act of knowing she could in no way appear angry for fear of being labeled ‘angry black woman.’ What’s being thrown literally at her face this morning is completely unfair. Expression in a woman’s voice is hysteria. Yet we’ve had nearly four years of Trump tantrum-ing daily and that’s not expressive?
Or as Megyn Kelly says, take it like a woman. Does she mean take it like a white woman? Those misogynistic women who vote to uphold white supremacy and patriarchy. Women who vote against other women don’t want to see anyone making a face about it.
It’s my fervent wish that as more people of color run for office and hold office in this country that the default white polite face of passive aggressive harm goes the way of the dinosaur. I’m looking forward to more of Harris’ face telling it like it is.