Not Your Mule?: Disrupting the Political Powerlessness of Black Women Voters

55 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2021

See all articles by Chinyere Ezie

Chinyere Ezie

Columbia Law School; Yale University; The Center for Constitutional Rights

Date Written: June 2021


On the one hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, this Article reflects on the legacy of Black women voters. The Article hypothesizes that even though suffrage was hard fought, it has not been a vehicle for Black women to meaningfully advance their political concerns. Instead, an inverse relationship exists between Black women's political participation and their relative level of socioeconomic and political well-being. Taking recent national elections as a case study, the Article identifies two sources of Black women's political powerlessness: “caretaker voting” and the "trapped constituency problem.” The Article concludes that Black women's strong voter turnout coupled with their reliable support of the Democratic Party has had the perverse outcome of cementing their irrelevance in the electoral system. To disrupt this trend, the Article proposes a new path forward.

Keywords: race, women, voting, nineteenth amendment, crt, critical race theory, racism, trapped constituencies, caretaker voting

Suggested Citation

Ezie, Chinyere and Ezie, Chinyere, Not Your Mule?: Disrupting the Political Powerlessness of Black Women Voters (June 2021). University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 92, No. 659, 2021, Available at SSRN:

Chinyere Ezie (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

Yale University ( email )

493 College St
New Haven, CT CT 06520
United States

The Center for Constitutional Rights ( email )

666 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

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