Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Why Racism and Sexism aren't Equal
Thanks to Samhita at Feministing for this one. Donna Brazile gives a moving discussion of the imapct of Obama's candidacy, her experiences growing up with racism in America, along with a vision of our collective future. I figure Donna Brazile and I are about the same age.
Trust me. I never had to move to the back of the bus. My mother never had to warn me to be careful of anything more than someone offering me candy. I never had to be careful not to look someone in the eye. Had I gotten into Harvard (sorry, had to stop laughing there for a minute), no one would have called me uppity or thought that I got in on a quota system.
Oh, I might have had to deal with my share of "sweeties" and "dears", and I'm sure I lost a job opportunity or two when I was studying architecture due to my gender. I couldn't play little league baseball. My grandfathers didn't really want to take me fishing with them. But I never had to fear for my personal safety at far too early an age because of my gender. Puberty brings on a whole world of new concerns for women at a time when men begin to look on you as a sexual object, but that reality isn't exclusive to white women. We all deal with that equally.
There is no way you can convince me that electing a woman president or vice president is nearly as cutting edge or will have nearly the social impact as electing a black president.
It's funny. I went to school with a kid just like Obama. Biracial. Very popular. Our class president, in fact. Dated one of the prettiest white girls in the school. He went to the naval academy on a scholarship and served for a number of years before getting out. Last I heard of him, he was selling insurance. I wonder sometimes if his experiences outside of our small high school were as accepting of him. I'll never know.
But I know where Donna Brazile stands, and I stand with her.