***Guest Blogger: Rashida Y.V. MacMurray***

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Rashida.JPGOutraged, frustrated and appalled. Just a few words to describe my thoughts after reading Gloria Steinem's article entitled Women Are Never Front Runners. Steinem's comparison of race and gender is offensive and condescending. Race and gender are not interchangeable. Unless I am mistaken, African-American women do not have the luxury of deciding when, or if, their life experiences are shaped by gender, race or both.

 

According to Steinem, being an African-American male is more advantageous than being a white woman. Because society has more faith male leadership, Senator Clinton is not getting her fair shake in the media. While I concede, men outnumber women in leadership roles, I disagree that Senator Clinton is not being taken seriously because of her gender. Yes, African-American men had the right to vote fifty years before any woman but African-American men also suffered years of lynching, intimidation, and other acts of violence to prevent them from voting or seek public office.

 

Since African-American men were granted a constitutional right to vote, there have only been three African-American governors! In comparison, there has been over three times the number of white women governors since women received the right to vote. In 2004, for example, the country had nine white women governors. White women are making progress in the fight for gender equality. But what about African-American women; who advocate on our behalf?

 

To assert that Senator Obama is being promoted in the media only because he is an African-American man is laughable. Senator Obama is succeeding in spite of the media's subtle negative associations about his race. Senator Obama is succeeding despite the fact that African-American men continue to be victims of violence. Just ask Michael Bell, Rodney King, Amadou Diallo and Michael Griffith, if they thought being an African-American male was such a privilege.

 

Steinem also ignores the unique issues that African-American women professionals confront on a daily basis. We are women AND we are women of color. Society says we must choose, but how can we? Is it really that absurd that if Senator Obama was an African-American woman, he would not be a serious presidential candidate? Ouch! 

 

Is that new-aged feminism at its best? Her example is just as insulting to African-American woman as the notion that the media is being unfair to Senator Clinton. I am tired of the rhetoric and the blatant disregard for woman of color, especially African-American women, as if we are non-entities. Wake up America, it is 2008!  African-American women have voices; hear us roar!

  

Rashida Y. V. MacMurray is a practicing attorney affliated with a large national firm specializing in the areas of construction disputes and sustainable design development. Rashida received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Virginia. She is currently a resident of the District of Columbia.

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3 Comments

Anonymous said:

"African-American men had the right to vote fifty years before any woman but African-American men also suffered years of lynching, intimidation, and other acts of violence to prevent them from voting or seek public office...Senator Obama is succeeding despite the fact that African-American men continue to be victims of violence."

Women suffered the same sort of horrific acts as you portrayed African-American men as suffering. I understand that you are upset with African-American women being having been portrayed as almost a non-matter during the Democratic Primaries, but I don't think it was the purpose to argue that African-American women have it worse or better than any other demographic. I think it was just that Hilary was being undeniably portrayed in a more negative manner than Obama (which could be attributed to sex trumping race in terms of discrimination). It is a theory that has been continuously looked at throughout this election and even some other local ones. I think it is wrong to deny the possibility that it may be true. As for African-American women, it may be that they are not looked as highly upon in the media as African-American men when it comes to political candidacy. I don't know if this is true because I cannot think of a time when an African-American man ran against a woman of the same race (if there is such a time at all).

"Since African-American men were granted a constitutional right to vote, there have only been three African-American governors! In comparison, there has been over three times the number of white women governors since women received the right to vote."

As for this statement, you have used statistics incorrectly in order to suit your point rather than using them in a manner that would more accurately depict reality. Instead of looking at this two raw numbers, you have to look at percentages. You cannot compare how many times each have been elected governors, but rather you must compare how many times each have been elected governors with regard to how many times each ran for governor. For example (and these are hypothetical numbers), say African-Americans have run for governor 6 times and only won 3 times while women have run for governor 25 times and only won 10 times. This means that African-Americans have been elected 50% of the time while women have only been elected 40%. Now the percentages may still come out to prove the same point, but when using statistics you have to use them correctly. There are also other factors that may play into these differences that have nothing (or very little) to do with either race or gender: qualifications of the two candidates, experience, policy objectives, fundraising ability, friendliness within the community, name recognition, running against an incumbent or running to fill the position of a retiring governor, etc. My point is that there are many conclusions that can be drawn, but if you are going to draw conclusions that obviously point to what you want to prove (which is the wrong way to go about using statistics analysis in the first place), you should make sure that you use the correct method of statistics. Thank you for your time and I fully support the work that this site is doing in reaching out to inform women about what is going on in politics. Empower all voters to be informed at the polls. That is the most important thing that we as Americans can do.

Polichicks Author Profile Page said:

Thank you for your kind words about Polichicks. We hope to interest and engage more women in the political process, because we are all about chick power!

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on race, gender and voting in such detail. This is an important topic that we all need to learn more about and discuss thoroughly in order to find solutions that will help America move past our history of discrimination and violence against African Americans, women and other groups. We hope that Rashida's blog and your comment will be the start of such a discussion.

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