“Is Racism Worse than Womanism” in America?

Ellen Mrja ellenm53@gmail.com posts this anecdote:

Eileen writes to the SRC:

I have both Hillary 08 and Barack 08 buttons on the visor in my car. Recently I picked up my friend’s 10-year-old boy from his baseball game. After buckling up and settling in, he asked, “Do you want Hillary or Barack to win?” I’m not sure, I said. I like them both for different reasons.

“Well, I’ve thought about it a lot,” he said. “And I want Barack to win because I think racism is worse than womanism in this country.”

At age 10 he’s given the upcoming election more thought than most people I know.

Well, bloggers, what do you think? Is racism worse than womanism in this country? Could this ten-year-old be expressing — so innocently and purely — the great unspoken taboo that underlies current presidential election reporting? I look forward to reading your analysis.

Ellen Mrja

22 thoughts on ““Is Racism Worse than Womanism” in America?

  1. BrittaRuth says:

    Racism is almost like a religion in this country. It is a feverish, heated passion that some take up as a creed. I have not seen the same level of hatred in sexism. Belittlement and manipulation, but the raw hatred? Perhaps I am wrong– people never cease to amaze me with their intolerance.

  2. I’d have to think about an answer to your question, but what I don’t need to think about: I want to meet this kid.

  3. Curtis says:

    I don’t think I have enough information and experience to speak on this subject (being a white male and all), but I’m so glad someone is talking about it. I’m disappointed in the mainstream media’s lack of coverage on this groundbreaking election – possible first African American and woman president. Why the lack of coverage?

  4. Ellen says:

    I would agree with Charlie, except that racism and womanism are, indeed, tied into richism. But, richism does pay for most of the Piper’s tune..pun intended.

    But, to return to the matter at hand of the 2008 presidential field, the vox populi will have a clear choice this time out that might prove vexing: to vote for a minority male or a white female? (Only old codgers remember that Shirley Chisholm hit both buttons in the 1970s. The 1070s were SO much more progressive than the 2000’s are proving to be. Would we EVER allow “All in the Family” on network t.v. today? I think not.)

    My guess: America is ready to vote for a white woman..but still not a minority. If the nation were, we’d have had a President Brandeis or Powell or Gonzales by now.

  5. What a choice.
    My brothers and I used to play a game as kids — “OK, would you rather have a third hand growing out of your forehead or have skin like an alligator?” Sick. Both are awful.

    Racism seems both more unmentionable and more understandable than sexism. I grew up in a college-educated smart family but still heard racist terms that came from fear, from not knowing, from stereotypes. “Property values in the neighborhood will go down when the negroes move south of Minnehaha Creek.” I carry some of that racist viewpoint with me still from the world I grew up in. People fear and dislike what’s different from them. Not good, but understandable.

    The majority of power and influence in this country is still white male. Blacks stick out even more, in that crowd, than white women. Fact of life — it may be harder for a black to overcome racism than for a woman to overcome sexism. And, if you look at the conditions of blacks and women in this country, as a group (income, education, infant mortality, disease, incarceration) blacks are in worse shape than women. That evidence would say racism is more pernicious than sexism.

    I’m married to a strong feminist, but neither of us likes Hillary. And it’s because of what Loveland wrote about in “They’ve got issues.” It’s the personal stuff about Hillary. I saw a bumper sticker I liked — “Not This Woman.”
    I agree with Clinton on most issues. I just don’t like her. She seems condescending, overly ambitious, canned and calculating.

    If Olympia Snowe were running (I know, she’s a Republican, but a humane moderate) I’d be enthusiastic about having a chance to vote for the first woman. Snowe seems like a person. Clinton seems like a product.

    So am I sexist about Hillary? I hope not. I heard, as a kid, all that blather about women couldn’t be president because of emotions and hormones and all that crap, so that’s in my background, but I’ve flushed it, I hope.

    Still, I think Obama has a bigger hill to climb than Clinton. Even the fact that Obama is what Joe Biden said he is — good-looking, attractive, well-spoken — shows the racism that still governs America. Could U.S. Representative John Lewis have a shot at the presidency? His skin is darker. His deep-South-black accent is thick. His facial features less fine than Obama’s. He looks more like the stereotypical “negro” of the Civil Rights era (of which he is a courageous hero). I think he’d scare more whites, get fewer white votes.

    Tough choice, Ellen. Both are cruelly harmful, both show how little progress evolution has made once it came up with humans. The hope is in the kids who see people, not women or blacks.

  6. Lisa DJ says:

    What’s worse is the invisible wealthism in this country. Marjorie Kelly’s The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy is fascinating required reading. From a summary about the book on business-ethics.com, “We think of shareholder primacy as the natural law of the free market, just as our forbearers thought of monarchy as the most natural form of government. [Kelly] articulates six aristocratic principles that corporations are built on, principles that we would never accept in our modern democratic system but which we accept unquestioningly in our economic one. “

  7. Kelly Groehler says:

    The vote should come down who will best lead us on both the domestic and world stages. I can’t yet tell who is best suited for that role, however, because I’m purely focused on who will best represent America on those stages before he-she utters a single word.

    After reading Anna Quindlen’s current Newsweek column, I’m reminded of how utterly worthless a woman’s life is still considered – not trusted to think for herself; easily punished or forsaken for someone else’s beliefs. That sorry state of reality transcends the races on the domestic agenda – and is a socioeconomic problem for the globe.

    So, then, does a president of color help bring about that equity women (of color, and otherwise) deserve – equity that is so essential for solving problems domestically and abroad? Or does a white woman in the office make a difference?

    Tricky. Very tricky.

  8. JT says:

    Hillary would make a nice VP for Obama. She’s unelectable as a presidential candidate though. In the words of Susan Estrich, “Hillary will never be president.”

  9. ellenm53 says:

    Sen. Obama would make a nice VP for Sen. Clinton. He’s unelectable this time out as a presidential candidate, probably. In the words of President Bill Clinton, “It’s your turn now.”

  10. jl says:

    Re: bbenidt’s point about John Lewis: It’s also true that a white guy with Lewis’s looks and political skill set (e.g. charisma, star power, speaking style, ability to touch a wide range of national audiences) would also lose to white guy of Obama’s looks and skill set. Like Nixon v. Kennedy. It’s not just people with ordinary African American cosmetics who have a handicap in politics; it’s ALL people with more ordinary cosmetics. For the same reason, some get excited about more attractive women such as Hillary Clinton and Conde Rice candidacies, but not Barbara Mikulski or Madeline Albright. It aint pretty, but voters often seem to prefer pretty.

  11. Ellen says:

    (Remember when W. put his hands on her shoulders and began massaging her at the G-8 summit..how horrified she was..how she actually recoiled..how we were horrified and embarrassed that this boob represents us on the world stage?

    Well, I don’t think W. would touch Obama without Obama’s consent.

    Womanism is still THE problem in 95% of the world.

  12. jl says:

    Whoa. I didn’t say women never get elected anywhere in the world. I said being perceived as attractive is a big asset in American politics, whether you’re white, African American, female or otherwise, and that may explain why an Obama is probably more electable than a Lewis. Relative attractiveness is not a guarantee, but it’s a significant asset.

  13. jloveland says:

    Agree that the G-8 embrace was bad judgement. But I disagree that he would never touch men without consent. Do a search on Google Images “Bush hugging,” “Bush embracing,” “Bush kissing,” and “Bush arm around.” You’ll see that he’s an equal opportunity groper.

  14. Kelly Groehler says:

    “What happened to the dream of the girl president? She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent.”

  15. Rachel H. says:

    The this-or-that nature of the question in this -’08 election demonstrates (to me) 2 things: 1) Whether grudgingly or with enthusiasm, the people of this country are awaiting a tangible symbol of the greuling change in the status quo, and 2) we haven’t changed much at all. Both racism and sexism are rampant in this country, but when it comes down to it, the U.S. has a historical trend of women following men -all men- into forums of status and power (suffrage, worker’s rights, reproductive rights, etc.) As much as I would love to see a woman president, it would be insulting to Clinton to give her my vote simply because she is a woman. Bottom line, Hillary is far more experienced than Obama, but Obama will win because he is the compramise between white elitism and a “raging hormonal administration.” Not to be cynical, but I am steeling myself for the sting of witnessing an experienced, brilliant woman lose to a less experienced black man…don’t even get me started on the sex appeal factor and the role it is certainly playing.

    Ellen: Sorry I ditched the code name -this was less depressing.

  16. EMM says:

    Rachel H. is correct in reminding me that women still do follow men, all men, into forums of status and power.

    The U.S. Supreme Court first veered from the WASP course when Louis Brandeis was nominated to a seat; the first black man, Thurgood Marshal, came along in the 60s. It wasn’t until Reagan’s presidency that a woman..Sandra Day O’Connor..was nominated.

    Did she make a difference on the Court? She was an exceptionally hard worker, a good negotiator, and served as the critical fulcrum on many important issues of the day.

    I believe she DID make an important difference. Now, did Reagan nominate her because she was a woman (much the same as Rachel saying it would be insulting to vote for Clinton because she IS a woman)? Of course he did. Do I care? Not at all. She was the right woman at the right time.

    Much like Hillary Clinton is today.

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