Sexism Vs Racism & the Democratic Candidates
By Charley Earp at Feb 16, 2008
I formed my activist perspective during the late 80s as various syntheses of the 60s social movements were being offered, such as tri-systems (gender, race, class) socialist-feminism by Ann Ferguson, and complementary holism by South End press collective. There was a lot of talk about how to incorporate anti-racism into things like
socialism and feminism. In a perfect world, we'd have a black woman running, so that this sort of divided loyalties would not occur, but here we are. Barbara Ehrenreich, one of my favorite socialist-feminists, has come out in support of Obama.
I voted in the Green primary in my state, but I know that only a Dem or Republican will get into the presidency this round, probably for at least the next decade. I will vote for the Green candidate, hopefully Cynthia McKinney, but even Nader is more progressive than Obama or Hillary. As for whether Hillary or Obama is "more" progressive, I
would say that Obama has a shorter record, so may have a few less strings attached to his use of power, but that will change if he gets into office. On the issues, there is a mixed record. On Iraq, Obama was more consistent in opposing the war, but has voted for the war in a few cases, Hillary in more cases. On abortion, Obama has mostly been solidly pro-choice, but his attempts to woo Evangelicals away from Republicans has led to a dialogue stance on the issue. One could say he talks compromise, but votes solidly pro-choice. Hillary is as
solid, if not more solid. She, too, has offered olive branches to pro-lifers who consider voting Democrat.
As I do a sampling of their websites, flipping back and forth on various issues that concern me, I find both of them playing to the center, but also saying things that I agree are reforms that are in a left direction. Obama seems slightly more generous, on healthcare, education, poverty, and climate change. Since I've already voted and
will probably vote for the Greens, I don't know if I want to make up my mind on the complicated question of who's more progressive. Either of them is better than McCain. The only value I can see in deciding for one over the other is that I can try and influence those Democratic voters still have primaries ahead of them. My influence is
pretty tiny, so I leave that to others.
There is no way, as far as I can see, to decide that racism has created more total world suffering than has sexism. Racism has some extremely brutal consequences and most of the world is non-white and poorer. Sexism afflicts 50% of the planet off the bat, and males suffer under it, especially gay men and boys. All children as well grow up in a sexist world. I am a both/and kind of guy. I don't want to choose between racism and sexism. If forced to choose, I would have to be given very distinct factual reasons for doing so. I suspect that in some cases the scales tip to one side of the other, but over all, they cancel each other out, both racism and sexism are terrible.