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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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