I think Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s Letter to Barack Obama expresses what a number of his supporters feel but perhaps cannot put so eloquently. (full disclosure: this blogger supports Senator Obama)
Monthly Archives: January 2008
Where do black women stand in the purported race/gender divide in the 2008 election? Presuming we will vote for the presidential candidate who will best address our needs, what matters most to black women at this juncture in the 21st century? Are there political concerns that are exclusive to black women and at what points do our concerns dovetail with those of women in general (healthcare, reproductive matters, poverty, childcare …)? Are we still pulled between race and gender loyalties?
Weekend America‘s Desiree Cooper broaches some of these questions.
I like and respect Gloria Steinem, and usually agree with her, but to me this piece wreaks of the rhetoric that sowed a racial division in the early women’s/suffrage movement that has yet to be bridged (i.e. why so many black women still think feminism is some white woman shit). Certainly sexism is operative in some voters’ opposition to Hillary, just as “quiet as it’s kept,” some voters will not support Obama simply because he’s black. But to suggest that all the animosity against Hillary has to do with her gender is ridiculous. There are many other reasons to distrust Hillary (along with her 35 years of experience is also a lot of baggage and mistakes, including voting for the war in Iraq, a mistake that, unlike John Edwards, Hillary never expressed regret for). Some other conscientious voters think Hillary is “bought and paid for,” and will offer “more of the same.”
Steinhem opens her article, imagining that if Obama were a (black) woman, his candidacy wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar. She’s probably right, and if Hillary were a black woman, she would be just as unlikely a candidate (but Steinhem, like most of her generational counterparts, does not complicate the way race is gendered and gender is raced). Once again, polarizing “race” and “gender” produces the raced woman as a ghost in a very old drama between “blacks” and “women.”
This piece in the Times by Judith Warner is interesting for thinking about transnational feminist ethics. Is outsourcing surrogacy in this way exploitative? Is every (read Western, wealthy, and most likely white) woman entitled to a baby?:
“The legal issues in the United States are complicated, having to do with that the surrogate mother still has legal rights to that child until they sign over their parental rights at the time of the delivery. Of course, and there’s the factor of costs. For some couples in the United States surrogacy can reach up to $80,000.”
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