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For the 10 people who haven’t yet seen “Black Panther,” the King of Wakanda has a powerful fighting force of fierce Black women called the “Dora Milaje” who have shaved heads and an unwavering dedication to the nation and culture of Wakanda. Anyone with an ounce of sense would not mess with the Dora Milaje. The writer and filmmaker understand some important aspects of Black culture. One such aspect is that Black women are not afraid to fight for their own — their children, their culture, their families, their faith, their dignity and self-worth. And, it appears that the current occupant of the White House is really afraid of the Dora Milaje!

The pattern of attacks against Black women by this man is relentless and I understand why. First and foremost Black women were NEVER a real part of his base. Despite being faced with a less than ideal presidential candidate, Black women voted OVERWHELMINGLY for Hillary Clinton (94%) in the 2016 election while 53 percent of White women voted for Trump. With the exception of Diamond, Silk, Stacy Dash, and Omarosa we were not in the Trump camp!

As clueless as Trump is he can see that we are not his base and it is unlikely that he will make any inroads with us. White women, on the other hand, cannot be counted on to stand against his excesses, his incompetence, his infidelities, his racism, his sexual assaults, and his outright dangerous decisions that place the nation (indeed, the entire world) in jeopardy. His attacks against Black women are not coincidental. There are at least 3 reasons why he fears us.

● Black women WILL vote: In the Alabama special Senate race Black women mobilized and fought hard to ensure that Judge Roy Moore, an accused pedophile did not earn that seat. For the first time in decades, a Democrat defeated a Republican in a very “red” state. Despite Donald Trump’s endorsement, the “Dora Milaje” of Alabama closed ranks to make sure their voices were heard. If other Black people are discouraged from the ballot box and/or disenfranchised because of past felony convictions or lack of “government issued ID,” the sisters will find a way to go vote. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and church mothers taught us long ago that we HAVE to vote. Too many people fought and DIED for our right to do this and to not vote is to dishonor their sacrifice. We got that message loud and clear!

L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) with the Dora Milaje
(Marvel Studios 2018)

● Black women WILL organize: Although there are male organizations that are wonderful counterparts to women’s organizations, nothing beats the organization of women. The Divine 9 sororities (AKA, Deltas, Zetas, SGRhos), the Links, Top Ladies, National Council of Negro Women, 100 Black Women — hey, even the Bey Hive — will get it together to mobilize, organize, and act for the culture! Twenty-seven years ago, Professor Anita Hill was under attack for speaking up about the sexual harassment she experienced while working for Clarence Thomas. Over 1,000 Black women academics took out a full-page New York Times ad, titled, “African American Women in Defense of Themselves” to express our solidarity with our sister. Now, with the co-optation of the #MeToo movement people are re-thinking Professor Hill’s testimony and realizing she bravely stood up and told the truth! She was a real Dora Milaje!

● Black women WILL speak truth to power: Last weekend, Trump traveled to whiter than white western Pennsylvania (says, a girl from Southeastern Pennsylvania, aka Philly) and two of the people he decided to attack were Oprah Winfrey and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. He claimed to know Oprah’s “weaknesses.” Seriously? Oprah has told the world about her personal pain and trauma. Oprah’s weakness is bread! And, O…girl, so is mine!!! There is nothing to see here folks. Oprah is an open book, warts, billion dollars, and all. Then Orange Cheeto had the nerve to take on Auntie Maxine! No! No! No! The Congresswoman has called this man on his “stuff” (it’s a blog read by young folks, too) from day one! She refused to attend his inauguration or his State of the Union address. She’s not trying to kiss up to someone whose ethics, morals, and sense of loyalty are more than questionable. Auntie Maxine is a real Dora Milaje!

Trump is afraid of Black women and it was clear in the midst of the 2016 campaign when he went to speak at a Black church in Flint, Michigan. When he took to the pulpit and started disparaging Hillary Clinton, Pastor Faith Green-Timmons stood up and tapped him on his arm and “low talked” him. “Mr. Trump, we didn’t bring you here for that.” Every Black person I know knows what it means to be “low talked” by a sister. Trump started stumbling over himself and was clearly flustered. She was telling the reputed billionaire, “I don’t care how much money you have and who you think you are … you not coming up in THIS church with no foolishness. She was a true Dora Milaje!

So, we have the 2018 mid-term elections starring us in the face and once again the Dora Milaje will strap on their “vibranium pumps” and knock on doors, staff call centers, and register folks. And then we will pick up our spears and head to the polls. When you ask, “Will you kill me, my love?” We will respond, “For Wakanda (our culture)…without question!

Written by Gloria Ladson-Billings

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Gloria Ladson-Billings is the Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies for the University of Wisconsin.

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