Which is More Change: “Madam President” or “Mr. Black President”?

January 17, 2008

First, let me point out that I am absolutely unbiased between Obama and Clinton, and strongly believe that either of them will make a fantastic POTUS. But one thing I am certain about is that I want CHANGE, and want it in the most massive dose I can get in this election.

Today’s NY Times got me thinking. It has a video on its site which shows some interviews with black women in South Carolina. It was apalling to see how this hairdresser talks about how only a man needs to be President because a “man is stronger than a woman,” and she “wants to be protected by a man.” Imagine if NY Times had a video in which a voter said, “I only want a White person as President because the Bell Curve has shown that Blacks are less intelligent.” Very correctly, NY Times would have been flooded with protest letters–Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have led street protests, every media outlet would have tried to outdo itself on restoring “fairness.” Don’t get me wrong. You won’t find a more vociferous critic than me about the Bell Curve theory–as an economist trained at one of the best schools in the country, I know how to take that stupid theory apart, and from my own work, I know that the Bell Curve theory is BUNK.

But that’s not the point of this post. I find it appalling that nobody expresses outrage at the sexist comments of this woman. Sexism is so ingrained in us that we whistle past such comments even when we see/hear them. Which media person will pick this up and talk about it? I can bet you NOT even one will portray this as a gender/sexism issue. Not one of those “pundits” (I hate the misuse of this revered Sanskrit word) who are absolutely at liberty to make sexist comments about Clinton. As Carl Jeffers points out in his post at the Huffington Post the media piled on Clinton, because piling on a woman is not a aberration, while the equally unfair piling on a “black person” is taboo.

Sexism has become too “normal” in our society, too “status quo” to raise concern. It’s like the N-word was in the pre-Civil Rights era. And this despite the fact that when we think of “domestic violence” or “rape” we can safely hazard a guess as to who is abusing and who is being abused.

Which is why I am beginning to feel that “Madam President” of the United States is a BIGGER change than a “Black President”. Yes, even if the “Madam President” is Hillary Clinton.


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