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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 1 comments


The recent addition of Gov. Sarah Palin to the presidential campaign has suddenly reinvigorated the sexism debate that was bubbling during the democratic primary. Unfortunately, because Sarah Palin is a Republican, it makes it harder for anyone to compare these sexism charges against her to the racist overtones that haunt Sen. Obama's campaign (without making him look even more like a black candidate, "playing the race card"). But, as we are an op-ed publication it is my duty to opine about the following question:

Is sexism worse than racism in America?

Now let me state, for the record, that Sarah Palin has faced a degree of sexism in her media coverage....A minimal amount and an amount that pales in comparison to that which Barack Obama has had to endure. "Can she be Vice-President and still take care of her family?" is a legitimate question if we are to believe that she was this folksy stay-at-home hockey-mom, who was a mother first and governed on her spare time... The truth is that she's a regular working girl, like the "cosmopolitan" women she seems to hold in contempt. She's not the patron saint of women homemakers throughout the country and her son was only in hockey for two years (that was over sixteen years ago). She's a career politician, make no mistake about it.

On the other hand, if Barack Obama looked like Mitt Romney then would the media really be asking questions about whether or not he's Muslim or Christian? Would they be covering whether or not he's black enough for blacks and too black for whites? Would Rev. Wright have been as much of an issue if he looked liked Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell?...

Keeping in mind that Sarah Palin posed for the cover of a magazine with the headline "America's Hottest Governor", do me a favor. Go to Google images and look up "Obama and racism" and surf. Then google "Sarah Palin and sexism" and see what you get... Here's what I got after a few short minutes:





In who's shoes would you rather be. I don't know about you, but Sarah Palin makes being treated with sexism look like fun, that is if you really want to call that sexism... Can anyone say the same about 'Samb-Obama'?

If we were being honest, we'd admit that both Hillary and Sarah Palin were using sexism as weapon to whip up sympathy, excitement, passion and votes. They were able to have it both ways... 'Vote for me because I'm a woman' but 'don't not vote for me because I'm a woman'. They were/are explicitly able to play offense and defense with their gender, while Brack Obama had/has to play offense against his race. They can wear their gender boastfully like a pair of Prada pumps. He, on the other hand has wear his ethnicity like a Fruit Of The Loom T-shirt... you know it's there but you can't see it. But to be fair, Hillary Clinton faced legitimate sexism, Sarah Palin has not. The reason it was more acceptable to treat Hillary with sexism is because she's not "A Real Amerian" and Sarah Palin is.... Speaking of T-shirts, get a load of this these:
















A While back I was on the New York Times online caucus blog and the topic of discussion had something or other to do with racism and sexism. I read a number of posts wherein, white women were angry about the feud between Senators Clinton and Obama, and of course this lead to the most unproductive debates in recent history... "Which is worse, sexism or racism?". Below is my response (mistakes and all) to one person's ignorant comment(s) on the matter:

WOW!!! You just don't get it! In your remarks comparing the woman's suffrage movement to the civil rights movement, You said:


"I don’t mean to minimize the tragic history that blacks share and the racism that still exists, but I think until blacks begin to minimize their history and thank God for the future and the present, they will never heal"


But that's exactly what you did... Minimized the tragic history of blacks in this country... This is what gets me... I believe that blacks can generally SYMPATHIZE with women's issues, gay issues, Hispanic issues and the like because we see in them the same prejudice that was the root of our tragic history. HOWEVER! where we divide is when ANY GROUP has the audacity to hint to us "get over it" and then even more audaciously begins the asinine comparison of who's history was worse.


LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR. IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY NO GROUP HAS SUFFERED MORE AT THE HANDS OF THOSE IN POWER AS AFRICAN AMERICANS!!! (That is with all due respect to my Indian heritage)


Please stop trying to go tit-for-tat with us (black folk) over what wrongs have been committed.... No other group comes close! I wish that weren't the case because at least then we might find kinship in another group who, having gone through the same thing would understand that "just move on" doesn't sit well... Groups that would see the gross insensitivity in statements like this from S----- B A-----y (#18):


"The history of women is most countries, including this one, is that we were considered chattel, (property) until very recently according to the law. Women could not own land, have a job, have custody of children, even sign in the emergency room for treatment of their child! This was not changed until the sixties! Like many other minorities in this country, women have chosen to move on and to never forget, but to raise ourselves up from the sexism that still exists."


SUSAN...While white women were "considered" chattel in this country... (and let's face it, for the most part the only women that have been comparing the plight of Black Americans to the plight of American women are white women... specifically concerned with their (white woman's) place in society more so than women overall)... was black folk were chattel... Stored like chattel, fed like chattel, worked like chattel, auctioned and sold like chattel, bred like chattel, separated from their young like chattel, whipped like chattel and put to death like chattel... AS A MATTER OF LAW.


Also, in your assessment of the comparison of white women and blacks, you seem to omit that during that time period that you speak of, White women were legally owning blacks as chattel, while they were merely "considered" chattel... I would call it ironic, except for the fact that you grossly exaggerate the relative degree to which your status in society was subject to the will of white men.


Of course I could go on and on and on... but my point is this. Our cause for equality for all people is not better served when other disenfranchised groups make comparisons about who's plight was worse, because the matter of fact is that one's group's (Black's) history was more tortured in this country and when that recognition is ignored by other groups who say "the blacks should get over it, because our group is..., or our group was..., or our group has..." we can't help but detect a haughtiness that sounds very similar to the group that has oppressed us all.


Once again, I'm not angry, nor do I have problems with any other group (having friends and FAMILY in a number), but I can't help but feel as if there is a failure to understand that the reason that many groups enjoy the freedoms and advantages they have is (in large part) because of the lynchings, church bombings, bloodshed, rioting, marching, jailing, beating, praying, fighting, crying, burying and HOPING of African Americans. There never seems to be a sense of gratitude for our history (in fairness that applies to our own people as well).

One Response so far.

  1. ORJ says:

    Although I appreciate the overall theme of this post, you have a problem with your comparison of sexism to racism. Assuming it is even a worthwhile comparison (and I'm not sure that it is; it doesn't further either side's cause, and--as you pointed out--ends up minimizing what are very real problems), it's not a complete picture to only use images/examples that highlight the more "positive" side of sexism: when it focuses on a woman's attractiveness. I put positive in quotes, because it is not positive at all--by insisting that Palin be a sex symbol, we refuse to acknowledge that she has any value at all other than her ability to be of service to men. But as you mentioned, "hey--at least people thinks she's cute."

    But what of sexism that rejects women merely because they insist on walking through the world with the same confidence that men do, or because they reject the world's insistence that they be pleasing to the eye? HRC (I can't believe I'm actually defending her) is the best example. She's a bitch. She's a nutcracker. She has cankles. She's harsh. Her hair is stiff. Her pantsuits are unattractive. Her laugh is abrasive. And all because she was an assertive woman who refused to pretend that she was not as intelligent (if not more intelligent) than the men around her, and because did not get caught up in her hair and lipstick color. The damage that sexism does to our daughters, black or white, is as traumatic and limiting as the damage of racism to our children.

    Moreover, in even asking the question regarding which shoes one would rather stand in (sexism, or racism?), you offend black women in the same way that Hillary, and white feminists did. By asking us to choose a primary identity, you refuse to acknowledge that black women can be equally defined by both. And why not? We have (and still do) certainly suffered for both identities, at both the hands of white people, AND at the hands of our black brothers. Of course it's obvious to you which pair of shoes you'd prefer--you're a man. It seems you cannot understand just how demoralizing it is to walk through the world where your gender is thought inferior.

    "Which is worse..." is a futile question; utterly useless, even assuming you think you can arrive at an answer. That being said, if you still want to make the comparison, you have to show the full spectrum so that a proper comparison can be made.

    Finally, I don't know about Blacks suffering more than American Indians. I mean dude--at least we're still here.

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