Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Racism Embedded in the Political Conversation about Sexism

By Jacqueline Haessly, Ph. D.

(677 words)

This commentary is unpublished.

The national conversation this past week, stimulated by morning and evening news shows, radio and TV talk shows, and local and national newspapers, has centered on the role of sexism during this current primary election season, and its role in diminishing the possibility of nominating and ultimately electing the first woman to the position of President of the United States.

There is ample evidence -- backed up by both media and academic research -- that sexist practices abound during this campaign season. I deplore the focus on the attire of one candidate over two others; the use of language that demeans and denigrates; the inability of investigative and news reporters and commentators to hold candidates to a single standard when it comes to the manner in which candidates express their positions on security threats and war. I further deplore the failure of candidates themselves to speak out against such practices...

...The women who challenge the sexism that permeates this primary season do important work. Now, they need to look deeper into their own language and images and begin to examine and challenge their own assumptions about who decides the needs of all women, and to make certain that their vision goes beyond the needs of only white working-class women, because otherwise their concerns about sexism only serve to cover the underlying racial dimensions and even racial prejudice that continues to surface during this primary race.

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Jacqueline Haessly, President of Peacemaking Associates, Peace Education Specialist, Consultant and Coach. Contact her at jacpeace@earthlink.net

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