Leading from the Left

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More on Gender & Race in politics

Last week I wrote that my grandmother, a feminist, poet, teacher, and intellectual, predicted that this country would elect a black man president before we elected a woman. Back when she told me that, sometime in the early 1980's, I was a bit skeptical. Racism seemed more deeply imbedded than sexism. Based what appears to be happening in the Democratic primaries, it looks like she might have been right.

Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted Obama is doing well. He's brought idealism back to America; he has an exceptional ability to inspire his audiences and to remind us of this country's great potential. And it's about time that someone broke through this particular glass ceiling.

But I also believe it's worth taking a step back and examining the broader question of racism and sexism. Is sexism somehow more entrenched in our culture? If so, why? Gloria Steinem has an op-ed in the New York times that examines this issue of gender and race in politics. It's worth a read. She and my grandmother would have seen eye-to-eye on this.