On White Female Leadership: Why Kathy Hochul Isn’t the Progress Anyone Needs

Sam McKenzie Jr.
5 min readAug 27, 2021
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaking in Albany on Aug. 24. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Kathy Hochul will never be my governor. But that will not stop me from commenting on her leadership. Hochul has made me realize that I can’t celebrate white female political leadership. White women in political office is not the progress anyone needs. I live in a country where a Black woman has never been governor anywhere — ever. Too often white women are the first ladies and the first first ladies. Damn all these types of “white firsts.”

Based on my recent piece “How White Women Got White,” it should be clear that for me white women and white men “occupy the same structural position vis-à-vis a man or a woman of color,” as Frank B. Wilderson III says. If that’s the case, if white women already occupy the same structural position as white men, why do I need white female leadership? It would seem that I already have too much of it.

And we can extend this to business leadership.

In their book “Elite White Men Ruling” Joe Feagin and Kimberely Ducey discuss white women CEOs. They say white women CEOs come from the same class backgrounds as white men. And they make the case that white women CEOs, in particular, “generally behave in important decision-making much like their white male counterparts.”

I think it’s fair to say that white feminism and white female political leadership are rooted in the early intentions and expressions of tomboyism. An article in The Atlantic on the history of the tomboy says, “Amid fears that white people would become a minority as more immigrants arrived and abolition neared, white women were encouraged to lead more active, outdoorsy lifestyles. The tomboy became a perfect cure for white malaise.”

White women are the plan B to white dominance. And that’s why there are some “firsts” we don’t need.

Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, Angela Merkel, and that lady from New Zealand do nothing good for me. They are still whites. I can’t celebrate white female political leadership, the way I can’t celebrate white gay political leadership. What’s new about it? White identity has always done something for lower-level whites. I will not celebrate white pawns advancing. It is not a victory on my side.

As a Black gay man, the white gayness of Pete Buttigieg and Ned Price is not helping me. Being the “first openly” while white isn’t remarkable either. “First openly” while white is just whites getting to be maskless during a white pandemic. That’s nothing for the history books.

Buttigieg and Price are in their seats because a higher level of whiteness finally got around to gay whites and gave them a turn. I’m not celebrating that. I’m critiquing that. And I don’t care how close you put together the G and the T, Caitlyn Jenner and I are not in the same community.

Rainbow sprinkles on top do not change the flavor. You can have new orientations and not change the direction. You can add more lanes to a highway and still be white bound. In 2014, the group Who Leads Us found that 90% of elected leaders are white. You can’t ameliorate 90% of elected leaders being white by adding more white women, white gays, white trans people or other white nouns that say their time is now.

Now I’m sure those numbers have changed from 2014, but I’m also sure whites still have too many political seats. And by too many political seats, I mean the United States is a white democracy, which is not a democracy. Cuomo and Hochul are the same problem because white identity is the political scandal. White identity is Black harassment.

We don’t need to experience any more shades of white identity, and we shouldn’t have to endure one more iteration of white identity. The repackaging and remodeling of white identity is a tactic of white tyranny. It’s a way to hold the line. Didn’t Malcolm X say, “Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year”?

Well, whiteness is doing the same.

By the time we have our first gender-neutral or nonbinary president, I hope to God they aren’t white. I hope to God no one is white. By then, white identity needs to be gone because an identity that finds its entire coherence in my subjugation should’ve never been.

My view here is predicated on the belief that the existence of white identity and white being is oppressive to Black people. If someone is white today, someone Black has paid for it and is paying for it. My only solution is to sideline and gut the political power in white identity.

In the political landscape, whites already hog too much space. That’s the reason for polarization in American politics. Due to the gross overrepresentation of white identity, voters should block every white category imaginable from holding elected office. I don’t want to experience the entire bench of white leadership. When does it end!? It doesn’t. That’s the point. And that’s why we don’t need another white female governor, and we shouldn’t elect a white woman for president.

Yes, I mean that: Cancel all white women running for president. Little white girls shouldn’t dream of the presidency because whites shouldn’t dream of the presidency. It’s not the gender part; it’s the white part. We shouldn’t have to suffer under more white political leadership just because white women haven’t been president. F that. More white leadership is the definition of insanity. Let white women identify with the political successes of Black women and other women of color.

Figuring out how to stop white identity should be enough work for whites. And then there’s the ideological side to whiteness because Clarence Thomas, Tim Scott, and Candace Owens do exist. We have other layers to deal with.

Under the current political system of whiteness, the white male and the white female are the difference between a king or a queen. Either way, the white king and white queen make a white monarchy, and America shouldn’t have a monarchy.

That’s not the progress anyone needs.