Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mad at Gloria

It always comes to this, at some point in our American conversation.

Gender v. race. Choose your sides.

Gloria Steinem had an Op-Ed in today's NYTimes entitled, "Women Are Never Front-runners."

In it she makes her case that women are never in the lead and that
"Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House."

She also says this:

"That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot,"

I find this unbelievable - that Gloria Steinem can put out such a half-baked version of how race and gender work in this country. The above is a technically true statement, but glosses over the reality of Black men, and later, Black women and the vote in the U.S. In many places Black men had the right to vote in name only - and faced many obstacles before ever reaching the polls - including the threat and reality of violence.

How dare she count that as a privilege.

I have so many encounters that remind me of this useless call to see whose privilege, whose struggle, trumps. In the company of so-called progressives, I am continually amazed by the blindspots in individuals knowledge of American history and their interpretation of how gender and race operate here.

I know that there will be lots of commentary about this Op-Ed - and were I to have the choice, I would love to see Pearl Cleage or Michael Eric Dyson write back on this. (And had Mad at Miles pulled off my own bookshelf and handed to me tonight during my rant on this - that's like fanning the flames, for sure - in the best way possible).

I think I'm calm enough to go to sleep - and I did mention one book!

1 comment:

belledi said...

Well said! It's not about whose struggle is more than! As long as one group remains oppressed in this country we will all have problems.