Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geraldine's Race and Gender Comments

Was Geraldine Ferraro being honest, stupid, racist, or some combination of these when she talked to the Daily Breeze?
If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
Slate has a commentary by Mickey Kaus that defends Ferraro and Huffington Post has a commentary by Eric Deggans that is critical of her.

Hillary is both helped and hurt by being a woman just as Barrack is both helped and hurt by being black. At some point in his life, Obama was probably helped by the color of his skin, but he was probably hindered by it at least as often. Same goes for Clinton. She has benefited at times and been hurt at times by being a woman. That's just the way it is. Anyone who pretends to think that race and gender are not factors in this election is really not living in the real world. Anyone who thinks that either candidate is only being successful because of gender or race is insulting the candidates and the electorate.

I have heard this argument from a few women: our country is more sexist than it is racist. It's interesting to me that as their candidate is in a fight, they turn away from the candidates' messages and positions and straight to prejudice. It seems the ultimate denial and arrogance to say that if you disagree with me, you must be prejudiced. I don't assume that anyone who dislikes me only hates me because I'm black, but some of Clinton's supporters seem to be following that sort of logic.

From a more practical perspective, Ferraro's comments were just plain stupid, but not because they are so contrary to the truth. Her comments were so stupid because they represent yet another example of the Democrats eating their own. They just don't know how to behave like a coherent political party. This sort of attitude had better evaporate from the Dems or they will grasp defeat from the jaws of victory. A good, spirited dialog is a great thing. Divisive, insensitive attacks will weaken the party. If things turn nasty, then some of those who supported the losing candidate could become disillusioned and could stay home in November.

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