Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I have been reading some interesting blogging about a recent incident involving Cynthia Mckinney and her recent altercation with a security guard on the hill. This post is not about that incident as I don’t really have much of an opinion about it since I don’t feel that enough information has been presented for me to judge her or the security guard in question.

This is a post about the subtle racism and sexism that I see in others and maybe even in myself a little bit. I am not talking about the overt racism like the comments of Neal Boortz but rather just the things that are hard to notice. I have noticed that a lot of blogs on the right have picked up on this incident and part of me wonders if their focus might be related to race. But then I also think that if my representative in congress (John Dingell) were to do something similar, it would probably get a similar amount of attention. I think so but I don’t know so.

And then there is the outcry in many of these blogs that if McKinney dares to suggest that this incident *could* be related to race she is “playing the race card” or whatever. Maybe she is. Maybe they are correctly pointing out one small bit of black privilege. I think about how reaction would be different if a white male congress person did the same thing. He wouldn’t be able to say that the guard was stopping him because of his gender or race. But he also would know 100% that the guard didn’t stop him because of his gender or race. Mckinney simply doesn’t have the luxury of knowing that. The guard himself probably doesn’t know if his decision to stop her had anything to do with her gender or race because often such thinking is done on a purely subconscious level.

And why might McKinney “play the race card” so to speak. Maybe it is purely for political gain if that kind of rhetoric goes over well in her district. But maybe she really feels a sense of discrimination. There are 13 other black women in Congress out of 535 members of the House and Senate. That is not a representative sample of the total number of black women in this country. There are only three reasons why such a group is so under represented in such high power positions. Either white men really are superior to everyone else and are getting into Congress solely due to merit (unlikely), or white men are more likely to want to be in Congress than other groups (slightly more likely than the former theory but still pretty unlikely), or there is actually discrimination somewhere in the process (very likely).

I have no idea how to deal with this racism in our culture other than to talk about it and point it out where I see it. The big problem though is that there are probably a lot of areas where it exists and I don’t see it.

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