Where and When we Enter: Black Women and Election 2008

| Mon Jan. 14, 2008 4:53 PM EST

Gloria Steinem was right: a black woman with Obama's exact pedigree wouldn't register as more than a blip in a presidential race; whether it was Achola or Jaquita Obama, she'd couldn't get elected Senator let alone seriously contend for the White House. Let alone be seen as The Great Black Hope who made white folks eurphoric at their own generosity. Obama's race is seen as unifying while Clinton's gender is seen as divisive.

It seems pretty obvious that, rather than deal with Steinem's potent argument, folks are focusing on what she (i.e. feminism) didn't do about Bill Clinton and on disparaging the "hierarchy of oppressions" (gender v race) angle when that's her very point; progress on race has always taken a back seat to progress on gender - black men did get the vote before women, however impossible it was to exercise. Let's not forget that non-white men benefit just as much from sexism as the white ones do, a reality that made my military years much more a battle against sexism than racism. Keeping women in their place is the one thing folks with a penis can agree on. How deeply we feel our own oppression, how blase we are about others'.

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