Maxine Waters, Black women, Trump, Steve Mnuchin, Trump's taxes, white fragility

VIDEO: Maxine Waters to Trump’s Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin: ‘I have the gavel. If you wish to leave you may’

Women of color in power still trigger stress for white men. Sorry, not sorry.

Democrats questioned the secretary of treasury for three hours about when he will respond to requests for access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. But Steve Mnuchin had a date with a foreign dignitary. In his haste to leave, he went after Chairwoman Maxine Waters, threatening not to testify again if she didn’t end the meeting so he could keep his appointment.

Waters responded: “The secretary has agreed to stay to hear all the rest of the members. Please cancel your meeting and respect our time.”

When he asked her to use her gavel, she quipped, “Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee.”

Why is it he felt the need to instruct a Black chairwoman on how to do her job?

This is consistent with how white politicians, who are uncomfortable with vocal women of color insist on claiming inadequacy.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces it as Republican men obsess over her, including critiques of her Green New Deal; Rep. Ilhan Omar faces it in light of her position on the US relationship with Israel; Rashida Tlaib was critiqued on “decorum in Congress.” Women in power face it, period.

Related Story: Black Arkansas Senator Slams ‘Stand Your Ground’ as White, Male Colleagues Are Dismissive: Video

White Fragility

“[Commanding respect] doesn’t allow Black women to be in leadership roles where they have power over others, especially white men. We can be assertive, but we can’t be the boss,” said Katherine W. Phillips, a professor of organizational management at Columbia University.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility, says that examples of the kinds of challenges that trigger racial stress for white people include being presented with a person of color in a position of leadership (challenge to white authority).

With a Congress that is now the most diverse in history, people of color in the committee hearings and chairing them is a challenge to the hundreds of years of white men in power in those meetings.

“Not often encountering these challenges,” says DiAngelo, “we withdraw, defend, cry, argue, minimize, ignore, and in other ways push back to regain our racial position and equilibrium.”

Waters said after the meeting: “When he said that he had somebody important (to meet), I don’t think that there’s anything or anybody more important than the Congress of the United States of America trying to find out what exactly this secretary is doing.”

Waters still did her job, despite Mnuchin’s tantrum and desire to be placated.

The Impact on Black Women’s Opportunity

The fragility around Black women being in charge also dictates how little the doors are opened for them.

“That’s clear from the underrepresentation of women of color in executive positions, and research also shows that black women who do become leaders are punished more harshly than men when they make mistakes,” says Phillips.

They’re also punished when they don’t make any errors. But we keep on trucking…

While Mnuchin has already said he’s not going to turn over Trump’s tax returns, Waters said she wants Democrats to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.


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  1. This corrupt lady constantly shows she has neither the temperament nor the intelligence to be heading up anything. She is a disgrace.

  2. Amen. I want to see those tax returns. Every other presidential candidate has disclosed. tRump is not special and should not have EVER been allowed to get away with non-disclosure, though I suspect it will incriminate him. Thank you to Congresswoman Waters for staying on it on my behalf.

    • Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

      Let’s just say the tax returns show that trump is a tax cheat, liar and chronic scofflaw, who’s “business” has been propped up by Russian financing for years. Anyone going to be surprised?

      No. The guy has been a parasite his whole life. He’s a human barnacle with an orange bouffant. He’s better at getting away with criminal behavior than law enforcement is competent. He’s surrounded by other liars and rub/tug patrons. Yada yada yada. Who cares at this point?

      I think the democrats need to move on and focus on policy and talent development so they have a chance at winning 2020, taking the Senate and expanding the majority in the house. Pelosi, Schumer and Hoyer average almost 80 years old each. The poll front runner is “creepy old dude” Biden, almost 80 himself.

      I’m sick of the trump bashing. Sick of the no-solution democratic leadership. Viva AOC. GO MAYOR PETE.

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