Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro Resigns After Racist Remark

Yes, and I'm calling them racist because they were racist. Here is the comment she made (and stood by) that caused her to resign:

If Obama were a White man, he would not be in this position. And if he were a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught in the concept.

He's lucky to be what? Black? Being a Black guy is better than being any color woman? Because White privilege doesn't exist? Because the only discrimination that can affect a person is sexism? Because it's OK to call Obama a Muslim and that terrorists will dance in the streets if he's elected, but it's much, much worse to call Hillary Clinton a monster?

It's pretty upsetting when the feminists of the second wave continue to be racist, but we as third wave feminists have to still kiss their asses. That seems to be the sentiment of way too many people who comment at Feministing. It's either that, or it's just more "sexism is worse than racism" or "But Obama does benefit from being Black!" I thought feminists were better than that.


Anonymous said...

I am confused as to why the person in Obama's camp resigned after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster"--they call her worse things on CNN. This seemed a bit excessive to me. Instead, Obama should have fired the staff person who advised him wrongly about the meetings on NAFTA. If everyone keeps talking about the importance of the issues, then why was a media frenzy not made over something so important when the media did, have a one-week festival with Hillary Clinton's teary-eyed moment a few weeks ago?? It seems that whoever is trying to come to the aide of Hillary Clinton (whether it be Ferraro or Mr. Clinton) they seem to make things worse...or it is as least perceived as worse. Why is that? I have noticed that the media coverage of these campaigns has been overwhelmingly focused on the issue of race and completely dismissed the most ancient of discrimination problems, that being sexism. That is not to say that sexism trumps racism, but what I am saying is that women are judged under a much harsher microscope than men and that is no more evident than in this race. I am not too acquainted with what Ferraro said, however from my small understanding of it perhaps it can be interpreted as "Obama is young and unexperienced in the realm of international affairs and is lucky to be in the position of running against Clinton for presidency who is not well-received by many because she is seen as divisive (because she has a vagina)." Does this make me sound racist?

FEMily! said...

You're absolutely right about how these firings over who says who's a monster and whatnot does distract people from the important mistakes the candidates have made where it matters -- in Congress. And you know who comes out the biggest winner of all? John McCain. When all we hear is "Hillary's people are racist -- Obama's a Muslim -- McCain is a maverick -- Hillary's a crybaby -- Obama's people are sexist -- McCain is a straight-talker," nobody talks about anyone's record and people just remember the sound bites. The fight between Obama and Clinton is a much sexier topic than John McCain being a homophobic war-mongering anti-choicer.

I think racism and sexism are equally bad for different reasons. Probably the worst thing to call someone is a racist, but it's not because being a racist is bad. It's because people don't even want to begin to believe that racism exists and how they may benefit from it. With sexism, people can say all the sexist things they want, but those statements aren't taken seriously. So people react indignantly to accusations of racism and react dismissively to accusations of sexism, and neither reaction sparks any real discussion about discrimination.

Do you sound racist? I think a lot of people make the mistake in seeing Hillary Clinton as just a woman and Barack Obama as just a man, and then think "Clinton is obviously more oppressed than Obama because she's a woman." That line of reasoning is predictable but faulty. People ignore that Clinton is white and that Obama is Black, and I think that kind of shows that we as a nation are really uncomfortable with discussing race. In an effort of being "color blind" and not racist, we ignore that Obama has to deal with being Black and that Clinton benefits from White privilege. Barack Obama is a Black man and Hillary Clinton is a White woman, and it's important to recognize that those descriptors have social implications.