Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The Contest Ends...

So, it appears that after the decisions regarding Michigan and Florida, Obama has the nomination wrapped up, and Hillary is saying she'll be veep if asked. That outcome has appeared inevitable for some time now, and I reckon we'll hear some announcement from Hillary soon. Since I've always liked both candidates, and wished they were not running against each other (tho preferring Hillary--for THIS race) that's fine with me.

But, what's not so fine with me is how people have been acting in the process. As purely a social observer, not as someone with a stake in the outcome (right, as if that's really possible!), it's been interesting to note how much both misogyny and racism have been uncovered in this race. What's telling (and disconcerting) is that while the racism has been overt (voters in Kentucky say straight out "I won’t vote for a colored man. He’ll put too many coloreds in jobs") the misogyny is more subtle--and therefore, harder to confront without seeming to be sour grapes, or just general whingeing, or worse, playing the "woman" card.

One of the things that has intrigued me as I talk about the nomination with people is the different attitudes of Hillary supporters vs. Obama supporters. Even the kindest, gentlest Obama supporters seem to become rather viciously unhinged when they talk about Hillary; while Hillary supporters, though able to articulate their support for Hillary or their concerns about Obama, don't seem to make personal attacks on Obama.

I suppose the Obama fanatics will say that it's because he's so saintly there's nothing bad to be said about him, while Hillary is [insert your favorite invective here]. But, I think there's something more to it than that. First of all, that's too simplistic, and too dichotomous. And, it's too emotional--these people practically foam at the mouth. I think there's two (connected) factors at play here. I think it's partly that racism is a greater taboo among many in our society than sexism. And I think it's also because people are not confronting their misogyny, because they're in denial about it.

And, I'm not excusing the female Hillary haters, of whom there are many. But, I will explain it: internalized oppression causes women and people of color to subscribe to the prejudice of the larger culture and, often, be harsher on others of their group than are those of the dominant culture. It's sort of a useful phenomenon as far as the dominant culture is concerned--like self-policing! No need to be heavy-handed in enforcing the limits when those limited will limit themselves--no fuss, no muss!

I suppose it's useless to hold unconscious attitudes against people, as they're not acting with intent. But, is it real lack of awareness or wilful ignorance?

Damn! Finally somebody else who understands internalized oppression. I tried to make that point months ago and got the proverbial blank stare.
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