Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Bit Overwhelmed and Are Americans More Sexist or Racist??

Sorry for the lack of postings as of late. I've been working on updating and substantiating a course for those pesky uber-curious and talented Macalester students (I should wish such a problem on all professors: interested and talented students!). Check out the resulting course here and let me know what you think. I have about tripled the reading in terms of length and difficulty, so we'll see (oh and any typos pointed out would be great too -- Fischer! I know you're out there editing this as I write!!). The topic is pretty much my specialty, and the class is pretty much my baby, so be gentle.

I have been avoiding commenting on Hillary and the whole debacle that is this primary season for fear of repeating what's already been said out there in the blogspohere (I have been, recently, re-infatuated with Echidne of the Snakes (so much so that I have actually assigned one of her discussions to my class). She is not only a great source herself, but also she reads some other great blogs (oh yeah, and other news sources) and has really great and voluminous comments.

I got the following from her after Hillary teared up in New Hampshire and, although I'm not sure I'm on the Hillary wagon, I can't help but feel for her that she is getting the short straw both with her sex and her last name. From a cogent analysis by Matthew Yglesias of Steinem's NYT op-ed piece supporting Hillary:

"But here's where being black is less of a handicap than being a woman. American society is awash in certain negative stereotypes of African-Americans, especially African-American men. But it's possible for any individual African-American to "transcend" those stereotypes by simply not living up to them. So Barack Obama can't afford to show the kind of populist outrage John Edwards expresses lest he be deemed a threatening radical, but if he avoids falling into pitfalls of stereotype he winds up getting praised in a somewhat condescending, but still helpful to his political career, manner as "one of the good ones."

A woman faces a very different problem. A woman who's seen as possessing the stereotypical characteristics of femininity won't do well in presidential politics. But a woman who's seen as lacking those characteristics will be penalized as well. The female politician can't be too femme or too butch, and she can't be androgynous either."

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