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Fri Sep 28, 2018, 09:58 PM

This is why Race and Gender Matter: EXPERIENCE MATTERS

I've said this before, in other ways and in other contexts, but here we go again.

We are NOT a "post-racist" or "post-sexist" society. For that reason and others, simple role-reversal arguments ("what if the man had been a woman," "what if the black person had been a white person" etc.) do not necessarily prove level equivalence.

We know the claims that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim determined to destroy America somehow. The "defense" has said that his mother was white and he was raised by white grandparents, so he's not really so black. Then a backlash says that being "raised white" makes any claim to cultural blackness - in speech or mannerisms - fake. But our identity unfolds from experience of other's response to us. Obama presents what people see and respond to as a black face. In other words, there is no question he knows the experience of being a black American man.

Even more, we are cast as "Male" or "Female." Generations of women before us have fought for equal justice, knowing it requires equal representation. To get equal representation, I think we need to acknowledge that we are NOT post-sexist or post-feminist. We need to VALUE the experience of women who have lived what we have -- sitting in classrooms where only boys were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up; where men and boys taunted and humiliated us, or worse; where teachers belittled us, or worse; enduring street harassment, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape; feeling silence and shame.

Meanwhile, perhaps, being belittled, criticized, insulted, manipulated. You're too frivolous or too serious; too staid or too sexy; too timid or too assertive; too feminine or too masculine; too professional or too mommy-track; too analytical or too sensitive; makeover, makeover, makeover. We saw Hillary Clinton go through this from the early 1990s on. How dare she think, speak, work, not bake cookies, wear that, bake THAT, say THAT, wear THAT etc. etc.... (cue 2008: "Why is she so guarded?"

Experience matters, which is why I WANT to see women who have LIVED the experience of being women in positions of political power (and specially a president who was a woman between the 1960s and 1990s - I can dream). Women know about CHILD CARE. Women know about HEALTH CARE. Women know about WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT.

WOMEN KNOW.

VOTING FOR WOMEN MATTERS.

*(I reserve the right to take this back if the Republicans come up with a Phyllis Schaffly or Anne Coulter type!)

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