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Stacey Abrams at The 2019 Women In The World Summit in New York City, April 11, 2019.
Stacey Abrams at The 2019 Women In The World Summit in New York City, April 11, 2019.

Not backing down

Stacey Abrams explains why she won’t confirm whether she’ll run for president

By WITW Staff on April 30, 2019

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is unafraid to speak up about the lingering consequences of racism and sexism in American politics.

Nor is she shy about highlighting the importance of empowering women of color, both politically and culturally.

In a candid interview with the New York Times Magazine, Abrams said black women were not only discouraged from “having ambition, but they’re also told that there is something inherently arrogant in wanting more and that we should be satisfied with whatever we get.”

For a long time, Abrams noted, politicians across the U.S. — and particularly the South — had been more than happy to ignore the concerns of black women in favor of white voters, who constituted a larger voting bloc. But after she managed to raise voter turnout during her gubernatorial campaign to 1.9 million Democratic voters — nearly double the 1.1 million Democrats who voted in 2014 — she says that smart politicians realized that many black voters, and women especially, were just waiting for a politician who would represent their interests.

Her refusal to concede to her rival, Brian Kemp, she added, was due to her own sincere belief that she would not have lost if Kemp hadn’t allegedly abused his position as Georgia secretary of state to suppress minority voters and purge 1.4 million people from state voting rolls.

Abrams also said that her decision to not confirm whether she would run for president was due to her anger over the way that media and political analysts routinely dismiss black women candidates as unviable — even as white male candidates such as Beto O’Rourke are seen as legitimate despite lacking clear qualifications.

“There are racial and gender implications to how we think about what leadership looks like in the country,” Abrams explained. “So I thought it was important to say: ‘Yes. This is a legitimate thought.’”

Abrams also opened up about the one aspect of her life where she still struggles with “self-doubt.”

“I’ve jokingly said I wasn’t good at dating so I stopped doing it,” Abrams admitted. “I regret that I allowed self-doubt in that one area to color how I approached an entire facet of my life. I’m working to remedy that, but it’s taken some time for me to get there. So yes, I am capable of self-doubt. It’s usually not in the professional space, but in the romantic-relationship space.”

Earlier this month, Abrams appeared at the 2019 Women in the World Summit in New York for an interview with Tina Brown. Watch excerpts from her appearance below.

Read the full story at the New York Times Magazine.

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