Is it gender or race that is shaping the Democratic Party nomination? After a spirited debate with a colleague, I walked away from our conversation convinced more than ever that it is really both, just in very different ways: sexism in a very overt fashion, racism in a very subtle, covert way.
Let’s be clear, in spite of what polls say, many people (particularly male voters) will not support Senator Clinton because she is a women. Moreover, while separating the disdain some in the media have for her and her husband from the sexism is sometimes hard, it clear that the media treatment of her has been shameful and biased. Remember the sexist portrayal of her show of emotion and passion just before the
Not surprisingly, the torrent of media bias is having an effect on voters, even female
Much has been made about the gender gap. According to national polls, throughout much of this campaign season, Senator Clinton has been ahead of Senator Obama and enjoyed disproportionately strong support from women. However, recent
While I think that some whites will vote for Obama because he is man, I think that more whites will vote for him because he is black; which, if I am right, may be just as racist as refusing to vote for him because he is, well, black.
Let me explain.
Again, let’s be clear. Obama is one of the most intriguing political personalities in, at least, the last 40 years. His message of hope, change, and transcendence has generated a surge of excitement in not just the Democratic Party, but all of
Generally speaking, most whites do not believe that they are racists. As a matter of fact, many whites claim that they do not even see race, just people. It is certainly true that the beliefs that once buttressed Jim Crow segregation, such as, the arguments that blacks are stupid, lazy, or immoral are rarely made except by the most extreme white supremacist.
But, is racism really a “thing of the past.” The answer to that question depends on who you are asking.
According to a January 14-17, 2008, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll survey, a large majority of blacks think that racial discrimination against blacks is very (26 percent) or somewhat serious (35 percent) where they live, while only about a quarter of whites thought that racism was very (4 percent) or somewhat serious (21 percent). A whopping 56 percent of blacks and only 12 percent of whites thought racial discrimination was a very serious problem in the country.
Most whites also believe that blacks would do better if they would stop complaining about alleged acts of racial discrimination. Moreover, many whites believe that we would all “get along” if blacks would stop looking for handouts (for example, welfare, affirmative action, reparations) and simply work as hard as white people do. According to the same survey, a paltry 13 percent of whites, compared to 38 percent of blacks, think that “black have worse jobs, income and housing than white people” mostly because of discrimination.
Regardless of the cause, black’s perceptions of racial inequality are on the mark. On nearly every indicator of social and economic well-being, blacks lag far behind whites. According to the Census Bureau, 43 percent of
Claiming to not see race, that is, color-blindness, allows whites to explain away the persistence of racial inequality and the role race and ethnicity continues to play in shaping life chances and opportunities. A vote for Senator Obama will make many white people feel good about how color-blind they are and how far their (our) country has come.
But perhaps, most importantly, for many whites, an Obama victory will, once and for all, repudiate any claims made by blacks (or any other racial or ethnic group) that racism and white supremacy continues to shape and define American society.