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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Issues of Gender, Race and Judgment

On the issue of gender vs. race, I was moved by the story of the black lady who said that she had to think long and hard to find discrimination on the basis of her sex but that she faced racism often. She described herself as being well dressed with a purse nicer than the white lady in the elevator who clutched her purse as if the black lady might grab it.

Sad. That was very telling.

On the issue of judgment to be President, Clinton always touts her
"experience" and has gone so far to say that "McCain is qualified, she was qualified, but Sen. Obama was not."

A news report I saw described how first lady Hillary took Chelsea, her young daughter, into a war zone that was so dangerous she was told by security to move Chelsea to an armored part of the airplane -- as the plane took evasive actions to avoid being hit by rockets at Bosnia. It was her choice to be there and to take her child.

Since when does taking a young kid into a hot war zone an exercise in good judgment? Is that the 3 A.M. experience that will help our country? If she chose to risk herself as first lady--fine, but not her daughter.

With that experience, she voted for a war (Iraq) where other people's kids have been sent to be shot at, killed or injured without even reading the intelligence report sent to members of Congress. Her own daughter has been nowhere near that war.

What kind of experience and judgment is that? First jeopardizing your own kid then risking the lives of other folks kids by voting for a war that took our eye off Al Qaida in Afghanistan and created a whole new unstable environment for Al Qaida to grow.

Since when do you vote for a war with costs exceeding $1 trillion and will kill a lot of other people's kids (nearly 4,000 so far) based on flimsy evidence without reading the only intelligence report available?

What kind of judgment is that?

And what kind of respect is it for the candidate trailing in the delegate count to suggest that the person who has received the highest number of votes and delegates might be her Vice President?

That kind of judgment seems arrogant and distorted; It is not the kind of judgment we need to build a coalition of what Sen. Obama calls "Democrats, Independents, and Republicans finding common ground." Even the Europeans are fascinated by this change.

THAT is the type of judgment we really need now -- not more of the same old divisive politics and the same two families controlling the White House for over 20 years.


Gwenny said...

She described herself as being well dressed with a purse nicer than the white lady in the elevator who clutched her purse as if the black lady might grab it.

Excuse. But that is projection. The darker skinned woman interpreted the lighter skinned woman's actions as nothing being a sign she was scared but that she was scared of the darker skinned woman because of her color.

I have a lot of experience with issues around race, being multi-racial appearing white. Let me tell you about an experience I had. A couple of years ago I attended a training session for mortgage origination software. This is the Bay Area, so the group in the nearly full room was quite diverse.

As I sat there, waiting for a friend to show up, I watched the people around and fairly quickly noticed that while Asians, Indians, Hispanics and Anglos were all sitting together, there were two tables that were only blacks, there were no blacks among the other tables and they were tightly packed in. I was astonished. This is San Francisco. We don't do segregation.

I thought about it for awhile, watching more people enter to room. I was worried that in some way "we" had made the blacks feel unwelcome. And I decided that I would attempt to make the next black person feel welcome.

In a few moments a young black woman walked through the door. I caught her eye as she scanned the room and smiled and nodded to the empty seats in our row. She frowned at me and looked away. Her eyes settled on one of the rows filled with blacks. She frowned again and looked around the nearly packed room, avoiding my eyes. Then she sighed and squeezed in between two black men.

I'm open to suggestions about what folks think motivated her to ignore my invitation. It can't be MY behavior, not only am I a half breed myself, my youngest child is half black and dark skinned.

Texas Viking said...

Very Interesting. I am beginning to think ALL of us has some cultural quirks that we need to figure out.

Since the early black experience was being transported and worked in segregated groups, I wonder if somehow it is reflective of a cultural "habit" that would led to one group staying separate. But then San Francisco is unique - most places I've been each group tends to do the same. THANKS for the thoughtful note. We'll have to keep exploring it..

Gwenny said...

Oh, totally agree about us all being quirky. LOL The trick is, how do we move past it. And how do we learn not to blame our quirks on others. How can I, as a light skinned person, make a change in the world, if every dark skinned person I meet assumes I'm a racist and will treat them badly?

This has been, increasingly, my experience. And it's been very difficult for me, as I grew up in a "white" step family that never let me forget my "impure" status and began, in college, to affiliate myself with non-white groups. I even had a friend express deep shock that I ended up marrying a white man. LOL But as I get older, I find it more difficult to be accepted by them.