In a world with a 24/7 news cycle but short attention spans and one of in which people are dynamic (not static) and possess intersectional identities, how does one express thoughts about the war raging in a Chicago district? We like to think of ourselves as as a collective who can see "both sides" to just about any situation. In this case Madigan vs. Dunkin (We're really not quite sure what to call it)? However, it/s been difficult to do so as of late because of that thing about intersectionality as referenced above. We'll try to get as many thoughts out as possible but we're sure, in the end, it will still seem clear as mud.
So let's look at the "two-sides". Here's a brief timeline:
Nov. 2014 Rauner was elected > Anti-union rhetoric was part of the Turn Around Agenda > 2 Budgets were introduced with radically different priorities but similar deficits > Budget impasse ensues after all budgets except K-12 were vetoed > the General Assembly began continuous session in June > An executive order was issued rendering 90% of families who previously qualified ineligible for childcare assistance> AFSCME negotiation seem to be grinding to a halt> Bills were filed to address both childcare and state union negations> those bills were up for vote on Sept. 2, 2015 > Rep. Golar left what we now know to be her deathbed to be in session > Dunkin is NY> Bills were called > The Childcare related bill failed by 1 vote; the Arbitration (or AFSCME) bill fails by 3 votes > Petition cycle begins for March primary.
Still with us?
Madigan is not pleased with the outcome of Sept 2nd's votes. Dunkin contends the bills could have been called another time. Implicit, and eventually explicit, to all of the discussion around that day is the notion that Dunkin "cut a deal" with Rauner. The primary season is in full gear and the tension in caucus and on the House floor can quite literally be felt in the air; awkward interactions, speechless public servants, many enraged and removing name plates...
Dunkin's race has been referred to by Chicago media as the "war by proxy" between Madigan and Rauner. Everyone who understands state politics knows Madigan plays to win. Anyone who knows Dunkin knows he's survived more than a little bit and is too ostentatious to cower.
With all that being said there is a third (and even 4th or 5th) side to the images on the mailer sent last week to residents of the 5th district. This alternate view or side belongs to the women and children. No, not the women and children needing childcare subsidies (who, of course are important and in need of advocacy). I'm speaking about the women who Dunkin allegedly abused and the child he did not initially pay child support for...
This mailer simply serves as a means of re-victimizing the alleged victims.
And before the comments fly, we also understand the historical context and the pattern of criminalizing men of color. We aren't negating that nor will we ever support such a pattern. And indeed racial misandry exists. We also do not support hypocrisy, which this world of politics is full of and we grapple daily with the competing needs, complexities, and nuances that lead to the appearances of hypocrisy. And still leads us to those other sides....
Was their allege victimization unworthy of discussion before now? Or only when it is beneficial within the constructs of a society laden with racial, gender, and all sorts of oppression?
Remember the reference to insectionality? All too often on that corner of race and gender, women of color are silenced. For 20 years, such active silencing occurred as it benefited ______________ (whomever you'd like to fill the blank in with). And now that it benefits ______________(again, whomever you'd like to fill the blank in with) it's a worthy topic.
Silencing women of color isn't new. Sojourner Truth asked "Ain't I a women?" in reference to gender roles, the idea of protecting women, and not intentionally harming them. Editors Patricia Bell-Scott and Barbara Smith noted in their women's studies anthology "All the women are white and all the men are black but some of us are brave". And even SNL's writers captured the complexity of the perception of intersecting identities in a clip aired on February 13, 2016 referencing Beyonce:
"She's black?" "But she's a woman? "
"I think she might be BOTH!"
It's as though our duality means men of color will often turn a deaf hear to the concerns of women and White women will often turn a deaf ear to the concerns unique to Black women. And White men are in a position to more often than not, deny gendered and racial concerns. This is what we see concerning this mailer that accuses Rep. Ken Dunkin.