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The Politics of Sexism And Racism

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"Sexism is a belief or attitude that one gender or sex is inferior to or less valuable than the other and can also refer to a hatred or distrust towards either sex as a whole (see also misogyny and misandry), or creating stereotypes of masculinity for men or femininity for women. [1]. It is also called male and female chauvinism.

Racism, by its simplest definition, is discrimination based on race or skin color. People with racist beliefs might hate certain groups of people according to their race, or in the case of institutional racism, certain racial groups may be denied rights or benefits. Racism typically points out taxonomic differences between different groups of people, even though anybody can be racialised, independently of their somatic differences. According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination." (Source: Wikepedia.com).

The recent Democratic primary was a dynamic real life laboratory experiment of the elements of both.  The question arises as to what extent race and gender had an impact on voters and whether that affected the outcome of the primary.  The basic question that should be answered is whether the issues and personal credibility had a more important impact on the result than either race or gender.  My belief is that the issues and candidate credibility clearly were more important to voters despite the fact that blacks voted overwhelmingly for Obama and white woman to a lesser extent voted for Clinton.

Before I discuss this any further, as a civil rights issue, racism or the belief that one race or culture is superior to others either physically or intellectually has never been proven to be correct scientifically.  Gender differences both physically and intellectually have been determined by scientific studies with some efficacy. Physically, men are clearly stronger than women and women have nurturing and child bearing superiority.  There are also hormonal and aptitude gender differences that have been studied that need to be more publicly discussed. Accordingly, racism is completely without foundation scientifically whereas gender differences have some scientific validity.  And that is where one has to be careful. 

Some of the Hillary supporters have suggested that the media's harsh treatment of her was gender driven.  I could not disagree more.  The harsh treatment of the Clintons by the media was and is gender neutral in that there has been a fascination about the Clintons as a couple since 1992.  The so-called "vast right wing conspiracy" was around in the 1990s and doggedly followed her after she was elected Senator in NY.  The Clinton negative bias is clearly gender neutral.  Furthermore, no Presidential candidate had more natural advantages of name recognition and goodwill among her own party. 

The Republican Hate Machine (RHM) could not seriously have a negative influence upon the Democratic primary electorate.  Ironically as Obama became the prohibitive favorite after Super Tuesday, she was actually getting lots of support from the RHM because they knew that Obama would be a more formidable opponent. Obama on the other hand had to contend with some serious race issues including Reverend Wright and other guilt by association race issues that he had to overcome.  A lesser candidate and especially a black candidate would have capitulated and Obama showed his strength as a candidate by his intellect, oratory, and political skills having nothing to do with his gender.

When Hillary was the prohibitive favorite until February, 2008, the media as it does so well tried to make a horse race out of the campaign by challenging her more.  That was more about who the favorite was at the time than having to do with gender.  After Obama became the favorite, the media went after him with a vengeance especially concerning the black church issue and flag pin patriotism. 

The reason Hillary lost had absolutely nothing to do with gender.  She ran a horrible campaign and never apologized for her vote approving the Iraq war.  She ran a general campaign in a primary having the belief that she would win easily.  She also was betrayed in many ways by her husband who has portrayed the most negative aspects of male sexism and lost her black support almost single handedly. Furthermore, those who support the Democratic Party are overwhelmingly race and gender neutral as to their preferences with the exception of a small amount of "blue dog" Democrats.  The Democratic Party primary is the place to be when it concerns gender and race issues.  That is why it pains me to see woman of my age group suffering through this sexism thing.  I am very optimistic that women in politics have a wonderful future as has been demonstrated by Nancy Pelosi and others and that the 2008 primary should not be a cause for despair for women.

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Sheldon Drobny was the co-founder of Nova M radio and Air America Radio. He has supported many philanthropic causes. Mr. Drobny specializes in business and tax matters and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court as a non-attorney. Less (more...)
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