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It's not that there's more sexism than racism. It's that overt sexism is still socially acceptable

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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 04:34 AM
Original message
It's not that there's more sexism than racism. It's that overt sexism is still socially acceptable
Edited on Fri Apr-04-08 04:41 AM by Political Heretic
Racism, has become institutionalized and covert. There's still plenty of it, but our society and the media don't overtly ignore it or embrace it.

Sexism on the other hand in its overt forms is still more socially acceptable. People don't yet have the same kind of universal social agreement that calling women bitches, whores, c***s, or saying that they just "get like that" or how we wouldn't want a "moody, irrational woman" in positions of power, or saying that a woman's place is in the home raising kids, or that a woman should be confined to certain roles or certain places - is unacceptable.

These things are still much, much more acceptable in society and in the media. Sexism hasn't evolved as far as racism has, where it makes the transition "underground" into the subtext of our society while we pat ourselves on the back for "overcoming racism" because its not ok to be overtly racists on television anymore, even while institutionally, racism continues to be a dire problem.

But here's a really important thing to remember:

Just because the fight against sexism is still in its overt stage while racism has moved into the covert and institutionalized stage doesn't mean one is more important than the other, or that one is more significant than the other.

It's true, America has made progress in both the areas of dismantling racism and sexism. But in both cases, both are still very real and present problems and challenges in american society. Just because they rear their ugly heads in slightly different ways doesn't mean we should diminish one to stand against the other.

In recent days, some folks on DU have come awfully, awfully close to almost pitting rejecting sexism against rejecting racism, and have come dangerously closer to trying to diminish their pervasiveness and seriousness of the continuing problem of racism in America and our American institutions in order to talk about the seriousness of sexism. We must not do this. We can not start pitting disadvantaged groups against each other as though they all must fight each other for access to their rights.

Instead, we have to unite together in the battle against prejudice and discrimination in all forms. That's why though I am a man and thus enjoy privilege in this society that I did nothing to deserve other than "be born," the struggles of woman against insult, denigration and deprivation are my struggle - and no support of any presidential candidate is ever going to make me forget that. The struggle of women is not in conflict with the struggle against racism. Neither are in conflict with the struggle against hetero-centrism and homophobia. We are all in this together.

Here at DU, people who think that sexist language is acceptable need to be soundly criticized by black, white, male, female, obama-supporters and clinton supporters. Just like people who use race baiting and racist innuendo deserve such united criticism. And just like people who use homophobic rhetoric deserve united criticism.

One brand of discrimination is not worse than another. And in American Society, any attempt to pretend that racism is somehow not as much of a problem as sexism OR vice versa is tragically ignorant. Don't confuse the fact that sexism is more overt in the media while racism is more institutionally covert for a belief that one is no longer as significant as the other. Please avoid the irrational tendency to need YOUR cause to be "more important / most important" above everything else - please don't see issues of discrimination and prejudice as a competition to see which type is worst.





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napoleon_in_rags Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 04:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. "We are all in this together". Amen.
Wise words. Racism and sexism are different, and that can make us put one against the other. I'm more afraid to have my ass kicked by a black man than a woman, but at the same time I always have a *use* for a woman, though not necessarily a man of another race. In this kind of dichotomy we can easily miss the fact that all this kind of thinking is complete shit, and we are all human beings. That's the really important point here. Peace. :)
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JoFerret Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 04:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good stuff
.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 05:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Are you suggesting people here can't walk and chew gum at the same time?
You're probably right. Plenty, I have found, to my horror, cannot.

What I find troubling is that if anyone called Senator Obama a "fucking (sounds like) Knicker" this forum would explode. And I'd be leading the charge.

However, when Senator Clinton is called a "fucking whore" by Randi Rhodes, a lot of so-called progressive DUers DEFENDED the remark, and tried to MITIGATE it as something other than an offensive phrase designed to denigrate her as a woman. They didn't call her a fucking shit, a fucking jerk, or a fucking meanie--they called her, and Geraldine Ferraro, the first national ticket female VP, "fucking WHORES." Not just "progressive" Randi Rhodes, who is about as progressive as a fucking DOORKNOB, in my opinion, but EVERYONE who defended the comment is guilty of calling these two female politicians WHORES.

And to my shock, people who call themselves WOMEN on this forum defended it, because they perceived that these politicians were "mean" to Obama.

I think Obama is appalled at that language. I don't think he'd like his wife or daughters called that term. I don't think anyone would, to say nothing of mothers or granddaughters...or great granddaughters.

It's ALL BAD. People shouldn't have to choose which term is WORSE, or compare and contrast.

When you cut at the essence of an individual with that kind of deeply personal invective , you're trying to DIMINISH them. To make their IDENTITY "less than."

And it's wrong, be it "knicker", (sounds like) "baggot" or WHORE.

And anyone who defends that shit should be deeply ashamed.
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LulaMay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 05:03 AM
Response to Original message
4. You know that is not what I wrote about. I wrote about sexism and the bias in this election
I did not pit sexism against racism.


You admit sexism is more acceptable. My point entirely, and how it's affected this race (made it far more unfair to Hillary and women). At what point did I say ANYTHING to the effect that sexism in and of itself is worse than the racism, the suffering of one worse than the other? I didn't. I noted how sexism is still more widespread acceptable, and you agree.

Please do not put words in my mouth, or imply women who talk about it are 'irrational', please also avoid coming 'dangerously close' to accusing me of being racially insensitive.

I have fought racism my whole life, since I was a young girl...actively.


I appreciate your attempts here to talk about sexism, I do. But don't trivialize what women are saying about it right now, or how. What have you done to fight it?


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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 05:15 AM
Response to Original message
5. Glass ceilings
end up hurting us all.

Some of us can't see them- hence the glass. Yet they exist.

Major props for seeing that.

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Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 05:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. I, too, am tired of the "competition" between racism and sexism as to which is "worse."
For that, I give you a K&R.

As for that lovely word that starts with W (and I don't mean our pResident), we really have a complicated relationship with that one, don't we?

On one hand, we consider it (and related words that imply that someone is one, such as "pimp" being used to refer to someone related to them) horrible, the ultimate in insult, and sexist to boot (although it's been used here any number of times against men as well as women, especially those in the media).

On the other, we have people here who believe there to be no shame whatsoever in performing the literal form of work implied by the name. In other words, only the pejorative term itself, and its implications in a figurative sense, are a problem; the kind of work implied is legitimate, even noble. "Sweet cream ladies, forward march" and all that.

The other day, we even had a thread here in which someone posted a question to the effect of "Have you ever paid or been paid for sex?" From the tenor of the thread, it was obvious that nonjudgmentalism was the object of the day.

Yet, call someone that word that starts with "W"? Imply that someone else is their "pimp"? Heaven forfend!!

So, how do we really feel around here about the "W word"? Is it an unacceptable, sexist insult? Or would it be perfectly fine and OK if we just replaced it with that judgmentally neutral term "sex worker"? ("I don't listen to her show anymore. She's just a media sex worker." "I won't vote for him. He's a corporate sex worker.")

Maybe it's time we made up our minds. Right now, I think we're being hypocritical.
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-04-08 06:16 AM
Response to Original message
7. Excellent- K and R
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