Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's the Gender, Stupid

Just when I thought we had this whole democratic campaign issue nailed that the press was overstating a case for Obama in the lead, and therefore further killing Hillary's chances, two academics--Abigail Thernstrom is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Stephan Thernstrom is a professor of history at Harvard University; they are the coauthors of "America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible," published in 1997--try to set the record straight that it's the end of racism in white American males.

How does that song go?--

Oh give me a break,
where the buffalo roam,
and the pundits and pedantics plaayyyy...

But seriously folks--the editorial in today's Los Angeles Times, titled "Taking the race out of the race," (well, we all can't be as cute as me) is an amazing stab at micro-analyzing the results of polls in the latest primary elections. Seems that white women democrats "...have been drawn to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton through a strong sense of sisterhood," while "...In a remarkable number of states, according to exit polls, Obama won more than 40% of the white male vote."

Now comes the literally incredible conclusion: "If Clinton weren't running (and pulling away votes based on her gender), there's no reason why Obama's numbers among white women wouldn't be as high as his numbers among white men."

What's my problem with this obviously logical reasoning? Unless you're supremely altruistic and so is everyone else who votes, then the logical converse has to be considered, which is what if all those unbiased white guys were not voting FOR Obama as much as they were voting AGAINST Hillary? Not even a glancing mention of this point in the editorial. Not a chance. Sisters vote for sisters, and white men vote for men with a partial African-American heritage. Makes total sense to me--not!

The editorial concluded that we are entering a new age of enlightened lack of racial bigotry: "Today, it is even clearer that race has become less of a factor in voting...The enormous and heartening appeal of Obama among white voters certainly suggests that is the case. Whites refusing to vote for black candidates has finally gone the way of segregated water fountains. Or so we hope."

Well and there it is--"so we hope." Guess they're not entirely sure either.

So as usual, incensed as I became reading of the death of racism by isolated eastern intellectuals once again in our racist-ridden society, I fired off this letter-to-the-editor of the L. A Times:

While micro-analyzing why so many white males overcame any racial prejudice in voting for Obama, your conclusion as to motives misses a bigger point about gender bias: it's more likely the white male voter was "choosing the lesser of two evils" by voting against a woman in favor of a man of any color.

I hear the undercurrent of racism, homophobia, and xenophobia every day in simple conversations on the street, in supermarkets, even with family. But the overwhelming emotional irrational constant claim of one man to another, "because she's a woman"--rather than because she's a nut or because she's ignorant or whatever other excuse for an attitude problem--will trump racial enmity every time.

I'll let you know if it gets published.

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