The Double Standard With Which Gender and Race Are Treated in the Current Presidential Campaign
As the 2008 presidential campaign continues, I frequently think about the manifestations of racism and sexism that Obama and Clinton, respectively, are confronted with because of who they are. While I idealistically believe that there should be equal rejection of the sexist and racist cracks that I frequently encounter on the internet or hear from friends, I wonder why blatant sexist and anti-woman remarks, such as “iron my shirts” and “get back into the kitchen” are often unchallenged and routinely spewed out, whereas racist ones are usually not cackled at and are considered more offensive.
As Clinton seeks to become the first woman elected president of the U.S., the fact that she is a first-time front-runner as a woman may clearly constitute the ground-breaking nature of her campaign. But is Clinton’s gender a heavier burden on her than Obama’s race is on him? If so, have we become desensitized to sexism more than other appalling social injustices? While Hillary could very much not be the perfect president for the nation, one sees that just from the degree of our tolerance to racist and sexist remarks, sexism has become more of an endemic—a more natural phenomenon—than racism. The implications this tolerance has may be devastating, not only nationally, but also internationally in nations where more serious practices such as female genital mutilation continue.
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