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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Black Man versus the White Woman

There is no doubt that American culture is both racist and sexist. I think it's more sexist than racist.

Observe that black men were able to vote in the USA in 1870, almost fifty years before that same right was extended to women by the nineteenth amendment in 1919. It seems plain to me that that same lag is true today, particularly, of course, in considering the campaign race for the Democratic presidential nominee.

The worst tragedy, in my mind, is that the culture of oppression of women is so insidious and pervasive that women do a fine job openly oppressing themselves. On NPR, I have heard vox pops segments in which women claim that the USA shouldn't have a female president - that it gives an impression of weakness on the world stage in a dangerous time. Can you imagine a black person saying that the United States shouldn't have a black president for the same reasons?

While women are among the strongest supporters of Hillary Clinton, they are also among her most vehement detractors. I don't buy speculation that this has anything whatsoever to do with her policies. This is an election based on hearts, not heads. And it seems some women's hearts are stuck quite firmly and openly in a subservient position.

God help black women.

I suppose I have fairly "radical" views when it comes to American politics. I come from a country where quality education is cheap or free, people are willing to pay higher taxes for better public services, and socialized health care is the norm. While I may be significantly further left on the political spectrum than the Clintons, I know that sudden "radical" change isn't feasible. When students protested in Beijing in 1989, they didn't achieve any kind of freedom for themselves; in fact, they made their situation far worse as the government tightened controls and further suppressed their rights. The vast majority of the Chinese population today - even the educated students - haven't even seen the pictures of a lone man standing before a tank which are so famous in the West. The real changes that have occurred in China in the last twenty years have been made slowly by liberal progressives within the Communist Party, with minimum chaos and upheaval. It's the same process of change that has occurred in this country, in the opposite political direction, with the rise of the neocons. If we are to reverse this process, it needs to be done slowly, and electing a "centrist" may well be what needs to happen. Even if she's further right than Nixon.

Now you've seen it all - I, the stereotypical Arian Monkey with a penchant for living as quickly as possible, am advocating patience. Am I growing up?

Hopefully I'll live another fifty years and be around to see the day when a female American president will have a chance.
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