It Looks Like There are Two Elephants in the Room — Gender and Race

Mon, February 25, 2008

Making Our Political Voices Heard


Critics of women bloggers, and mommy bloggers in particular, want the rest of the world to believe we don’t want to talk about anything more complicated than potty training, soccer schedules and another new way to make hamburger for dinner.

It turns out that we are the ones brave enough to take on the political question many are afraid to talk about this political season:

Is this country really ready to elect a woman or a black man to be President?

We all like to think that in the 21st century we’re so much more enlightened and that we’ve moved past old prejudices and ways of thinking. Even I was hoping that we had.

But what evidence do we have that we’re ready? I don’t see a lot of examples in the real world.

We live in a country where less than 20 percent of law firm partners are women.

The numbers are close to that for women executives in accounting firms.

Women CEO’s? At least in Fortune 500 companies, you can count them on your fingers and toes.

So if our business and professional service firms across the country are still basically run by men, what makes us think that we as a nation are willing to see anything but that in the Oval Office?

Plus, if some random rudeness I’ve recently encountered from men in line at Starbucks or at traffic intersections is any evidence, there are a lot of guys out there who just don’t think they have to be considerate of a woman in any position, even if it’s just being ahead in line for a latte.

As for race, I don’t see a lot of diversity in large law firms and corporations. When pictures are included in articles, there’s still a sea of white men’s faces and very little color.

As I ponder questions about why one person gets treated differently in the media than another, it’s hard not to acknowledge that our biases, no matter how ugly, are there. And we have to factor them in when considering what can realistically happen in the presidential race this November.

We’re not as blind as Lady Justice — heck, we know that even she takes off that blindfold sometimes. So we may as well acknowledge those elephants in the room and talk about them like grown-ups.

Who knows, we might even start a trend.

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2 Responses to “It Looks Like There are Two Elephants in the Room — Gender and Race”

  1. Professor J Says:

    I think gender and race are both significant, but I think that gender is proving to be the greatest obstacle to political success. I do not think that Sen. Clinton is perfect by any means, but it does worry me that there is so much misogynist rhetoric out there. I don’t hear the same sort of racism (perhaps it is further underground).

  2. Julie Pippert Says:

    I’m with Prof J. I’ve heard others say race is, but I think it’s gender. As one commenter said somewhere “at least Obama’s a man.”

    Even though bigotry is alive and well in all forms, I think it’s more *acceptable* to discriminate against women.

    So yes, let’s talk…keep it up.

    P.S. Some men have this unbelievable idea that women wanting equality means they want people to act like jerks and treat them without courtesy. I’m not sure what disconnect happened there but I think it’s a personal problem.

    P.P.S. And in an effort to utterly discredit myself, if this was in any doubt, just watch one episode of Millionaire Matchmaker and see what Patti has to say. ;)


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