Why White America Needs to Watch Lucy Worsley’s “Suffragettes”

Forgive me by my going off subject this once in the few years since I began this blog, but baking is impossible right now, let alone writing about it during the current situation in our country. I hope those who read my blog for recipes and southern baking will excuse me as I go off on a rant.

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

First, I like so many millions around the world, am horrified by the continued brutality and injustices aimed at the African-American and other non- Caucasian people in America. I also know our police forces have a very difficult job to do and it requires a personality that can endure situations putting their lives at risk. I have a nephew in law enforcement and I worry about him when I hear of these vicious acts.

Many of you may not be familiar with British historian, Lucy Worsley. Her documentaries are journeys into the unspoken facets of British lives in a time long gone by. I have been a fan for years. When I watched her BAFTA award-winning documentary, “Sufferagettes,” last year on the streaming service, Britbox, I was moved to tears. The reenactments and portrayals of the women who fought and endured horrifying acts of brutality for the right to vote, was a turning point for me. I often shoo away politics and vote on occasion, but now I feel a sense of duty to uphold the rights women suffered so much to gain for future generations. That includes me whether or not I asked them to do so on my behalf.

It wasn’t comfortable to watch reenactments of women being slandered, molested, assaulted, inprisoned, and strapped down in chairs and force-fed as a doctor pours liquids down a tube shoved in their noses and down into their stomachs. But this didn’t stop them. They were determined to have the right to speak, to vote, to have a voice after millenia of being treated as chattel. It was not an easy fight and not easily won. Women were killed, and many died from mistreatment in the process. Eventually, after decades of being denied their right to vote, these women employed terrorist tactics to get their points taken seriously.

The documentary is more than just a fact-by-fact telling of this happened on such-and-such date; instead, it brings these women to life and we, the on-lookers, are a part of what they endured.

In watching “Sufferagettes,” I see the parallel with the struggle of African-Americans and their struggles with equality. They want what those brave women around the world fought for 100 years ago, to be treated like a human being, and nothing less. I can’t say I understand what the feelings are of being black in America, but I do appreciate their feelings of anger. I have had encounters with police in the past over traffic violations that left me wondering…is it because I am a woman? Why is this happening.

No woman feels safe driving dark roads at night. Blue flashing lights in rear-view mirrors are cause for a quickened pulse. My mother and I experienced this when we were pulled over one winter night by a police officer asking, “why we were out at night.” And his reason for pulling us over? Driving too slow. (We were only slightly under the speed limit.)

Another, more recent occasion occurred during the day on a two-lane country highway. My mother and I were going out for a shopping excursion one afternoon when we made a right-hand turn into a two-lane country highway. (Not the same on as mentioned above). A police car driving in the opposite direction turned around in the highway and proceeded to follow us. We thought nothing of it thinking he must have received an emergency call as he was closing in on us. Imagine our panic when another police car topped the hill opposite of us and drove straight at us ay a high rate of speed, blocking our path!

“Oh my God!” I cried. “Do they think we just robbed a bank?”

The officer that had pulled up behind us proceeded to lecture us very curtly that we had, “just rolled right through that stop sign back there.” He continued to lecture us that the sign says, “S-T-O-P! Stop! Not Y-I-E-L-D!” (Yes, he spelled it out to us.)

With racing hearts and apologies to the officer he returned to his patrol car and left us to wait for I assume to check our insurance and license information we had provided. He returned with a written warning but not before spelling out the Stop sign again. And to make sure we remembered that. All this for performing what is known simply as a “California stop.” Yes, I know it wasn’t right, but did it require such aggressiveness?

I certainly do not place those isolated incidents on the same scale as what happens with people in the black community, but it gives me reason to wonder why these police officers needed to pull us over, two white women, alone on lone country roads and proceed to talk to us as if we were children who had committed a wrong and needed a darn good scolding from someone in “authority.”

I am not a child, and I don’t like being treated like one. And that is how people of non-white, non-male, society have dealt with and continue to endure.

Lucy Worsley concludes her documentary asking what we are willing to suffer in efforts to demand our rights as human beings. The women of long ago triumphed because they were willing to do whatever it took to have their rights. They didn’t want to endure what they suffered, but their hand was forced. Too many years of violence against them stirred them to the extremes of violence in response. It runs on the same lines of what we see in society today.

I am writing this because I am angry and tired. I am sick of watching people being murdered. I am tired of excuses and complicity. Please, I ask if you don’t understand the anger in these protests, watch “Sufferagettes.” It is available for viewing on Britbox. You can join their service for the free trial period, watch the documentary and cancel afterward. This is too important to people everywhere and the only way we can end these senseless acts of criminality against each other is to listen and understand what others who are different from them endure everyday of their lives.

Thank you for reading and may God bless you all.

Author: Sissy1Pip

Born in Georgia and raised in North Carolina, I inherited the baking bug like so many of us; through childhood memories and standing by my mother's side as she prepared our family meal. I began this blog as a way of sharing my love of Southern baking and its treasured heritage.

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