Monday, January 21, 2008

Oval Office obstacles...

On the day designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day it's worth asking a question: are Americans more sexist than racist? Or are some isms worse than others? As Americans Ponder Hillary, Obama in National Race (Angus Reid Global Monitor) some adults in the United States believe their country might not be ready to embrace a woman as its head of state, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center: 24 per cent of respondents believe the fact that Rodham Clinton is a woman will help her, and 36 per cent say it will make no difference to voters. However when asked about Barack Obama, 26 per cent of respondents think the fact that he is an African-American will hurt him and 49 per cent say it will make no difference to voters - my point being the 36 to 49 saying it won't make a difference...)

...and the infighting continues (no real surprise?) but still oh so politely, "You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Mr Obama said of Bill Clinton's interventions; as was expected "the two candidates' mutual dislike appears to be intense and growing." [BBC]

Back to the racism/sexism point; this becomes clearer (no I mean more obscure!) when we read in yesterday’s Times Online that Women turn on ‘traitor’ Oprah Winfrey for backing Obama. She’s one of the US’s female favourites but she’s paying a (surprising?) price for her intervention in the US presidential campaign. She was even been accused of racism (!!!) for "siding with Obama when such a well qualified woman as Clinton was running."

Remember this is only for the Democrat nomination; the 'problem' probably won't matter so much later this year at the Presidential election…I suspect however that a white woman would do better than black Barack at the national polls, just a feeling and perhaps other ethnics may hold the key: "It's not clear that there would be a lot of enthusiasm for an African-American from a Latino electorate," [Link] I wonder what MLKJr would make of that! To celebrate his day…

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
Martin Luther King, Jr., speech, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


The Great Gildersleeve said...

Interesting entry and questions posed. I'm afraid though there are some "isms" and some probably should be controlled by law...too many people mis understand what are true "isms" It depends on how a view is expressed, the predjudices of the person saying it and how it is said.

There are also different levels of "isms" often it's political correctness dressed up as an "ism"

You have to prove(in the case of racism)that there is hatred behind it, ignorance is said not to be excuse in law but if you have been conditioned by something in your life, that is different to me(even if that requires taking the person aside and having to re-educate)

I mean anyone in the UK knows that some do not object to the slang terms of Taffy, Paddy, Jock for people from Wales, Ireland or Scotland(I'm sure they have names for people from England)Much as the Aussies call the English Pommes.

But of course some do object. Some people object if you go into a shop and the shop assistant calls them love. I've been called that and had no problem. Some areas of the country use local terms that would be their equivelent like "Duck" "Chuck" etc...some people have a chip on their shoulders.

The other night some women were on tv objecting to having doors held open for them when they go into a shop. I don't think about whether it's a man, woman or child, If I am going in or out of a shop it just seems right to either hold the door open or let them take over the open door rather than close it for them to re-open.

There are serious problems but often we create more problems ourselves.

I am disabled and if someone holds a door open for me or helps me, I really am happy to say thanks and don't feel patronised.

But I digress away from your main point Span...sorry...

I guess what I am saying is everything has to be decided on a one on one bases.

Span Ows said...

Thanks for that Gildy and of course you are right re the 'levels' of isms!! For instance the Oprah part is just pants but I was more interested in the fact that (according to this survey) more think that being a women is more of a burden in the vote-gaining sense than being black.

It get's very complicated because I am of the opinion that you can call soemone a black *****(whatever) WITHOUT being necessarily being "racist"'s just that the PC machine has made the whole thing a bit stupid.

Paul said...

I'm glad you posed this question because I mentioned to NorthStar on Gavin's board at the time of the NJ primary how far it showed America had come in 45 years that they were potentially willing to elect a black man. I had overlooked Hilary Clinton's possible election simply because I wasn't surprised by the thought of a female President. I don't know whether that's because we had Mrs Thatcher, or they have Condeee Rice and Oprah!

The Great Gildersleeve said...

You can remove this comment, it's just to tell you that I have left a private message over at Gavin's board for you...

Span said...

Thanks Gildy, seen it and answered.

Paul...I know what you mean. Funnily enough many African - Americans (I'm with John Wayne on this...I hate that phase and other dot-Americans) think Barack is too white (in his attitudes etc) and wouldn't support them enough...and the thought of Condy as Prez is scary...I get the feeling she'd make GWB look like Winnie the Pooh.