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Sexism v. Racism: Is there really a winner?

(Credit: Politirazzi)

By LaShawnda

I’ll go ahead and put it out there: I’m a black woman.

There have been a couple of instances in life when I’ve felt a sense of double discrimination. However, there have been innumerable occasions where I’ve cringed on other’s behalf -- usually minorities and women. I think Marie Cocco’s Washington Post article is a bit biased and blind to the realities of the personal attacks on both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Cocco blatantly and stupidly suggests that there would be more of an uproar in the upper echelons of the Democratic party if Barack was characterized as a blaxploitation film character versus Hillary being reduced to a character who is paid for her sexual services.

Sorry, but Obama’s critics didn’t give him the courtesy of comparing him to an overproduced black film character. This week alone, the week of Ms. Cocco’s article, Barack has been likened to the monkey, Curious George and to the monster, Adolf Hitler. There is no red carpet of niceties laid out on the road to the presidency for either candidate. All the personal attacks are demeaning, belittling and reprehensible. For Cocco to suggest that Clinton has it harder because she’s a woman is, frankly, insulting. It’s offensive to my intelligence. Is it offensive to yours?

(continued) Hillary Clinton is a very accomplished woman. In many respects we can say she’s had it all and is still striving. Husband, child, career, a country -- at the risk of offending hard core feminists, isn’t that what we all want? We want our life to be the way we envision and design it. Hillary’s campaign is what she has made it into. Nothing about her suggests she is a victim of America’s sexist whims. Try another argument.

I am not arguing that sexism is not there. I am saying Hillary Clinton is not a victim of it. She has prospered in spite of it. Small-minded people resort to name calling. Hillary has been called the B-word and the C-word; Obama’s been called the M-word and the non-P-word -- all because of how they look. I haven’t yet seen the N-word in reference to Obama, but I’ve seen variations. But neither has folded up their chair to leave the beach. Did the names they were called stop me from voting? No. Did the images likening them to critters change my opinion of them? No. My mind is bigger than that. The media writes at a fourth- to sixth-grade level, unfortunately they assume things that interest sixth graders also interest adults with grown-up size issues and concerns. I think the media stay in business by creating conflict. Conflict makes for a bigger headline. Usually it’s all smoke and no substance. There have been a lot of write-ups on McCain’s age, Obama’s blackness or lack thereof, and Hillary’s semi-femininity. Did you read it? I did. But were you indoctrinated? I wasn’t.

I’m bigger than that. And that’s not a reference to my actual size.

The –ism’s being tossed around in this election cycle are only working because the candidate’s platforms aren’t so vastly different that they can be tossed into the fire for their viewpoints. So they are being attacked, written up and profiled based on personality, lifestyle, stereotypes and prejudices this country is known for. All in practice of freedom of speech. The media’s mistake is in thinking we all think the same. We, as in Americans. We don’t. I am aware and appreciative of our differences as Americans. I’m not hurt that 20 percent of West Virginians said race was a factor for them not voting for Obama. I’m surprised more people didn’t feel comfortable expressing their opinion. I don’t make the mistake of thinking we are a kumbaya country -- thinking, crying, praying and singing in unison. However, I don’t think we are as divided as the media portrays us with their demographic breakdowns, simply because we share the same basic needs: water, food, shelter, employment, liberty, dignity, opportunity and hope.

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