by iamold, Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 02:35:36 PM EDT
IM BLACK. I AM A WOMAN. I CAMPAIGNED ACTIVELY FOR HILLARY CLINTON. I supported her because I just god damn like the woman, despite any of her flaws. (And YES, candidates are flawed and a segment of supporters of BOTH Obama and Hillary are equally cultish.) And I also supported her because I interned for 2 years in her DC office. So my support is insanely loyal and genuine.
Anyhow, here is my experience campaigning for Hillary08:
I would be in a campaign office, or at a town hall and I had a few instances where I would walk into a room and sometimes fellow hillary campaigners would hush up or pretend they were talking about something else, because they thought I would hear what they were saying about the racial aspects of the primaries, or when they were saying racially insensitive things about Obama. I once had some old guy in a car stick his finger at me and say FUCK OBAMA. People I would approach when I campaigned assumed I was from the Obama camp just because I was black, and sometimes reacted with glares or outright hostility to me.
This is just to tell you where im coming from.
When i campaigned, there were A LOT of racist comments made regularly in the campaign offices where I worked (Indiana and Pennsylvania) and at the rallys and town halls she did. I would hear "nigger" or "uppity" thrown around about Obama. Did it deter my loyalty or support for her? NO.
Sexism is a LOT harder to detect and people can be mysoginistic without knowing it. Frankly I thought it was mysoginistic when the men in the MSM praised Hillary for having "testicular fortitude" as if she needed to have aspects of masculinity to be a good president. Like Bernie Mac, it was a JOKE right?
But like you feel about the Bernie Mac joke, I thought the mere implications quotes like that are seriously more damaging to the idea that a WOMAN could be a strong leader in the US. No one here said anything about that, in fact I saw people here praising that. Same with the idea that being an intellectual is being "effete" as the media calls Obama. Or the idea that for the white male dominated media, he's not black enough for them but sometimes too black! It smacks of white paternalism, most people here however didnt see that. Both Hillary and Obama had to tip-toe around this messy and obscure lines of race and gender, and both sometimes had some missteps.
So onto Bernie Mac's sexist and racist jokes, I dont think Obama realized the sexist extent of the joke as he realized the racial aspect of it. A slip up. I forgive him. But while Obama made none of the comments himself, it seemed that he was giving tacit approval. He wasnt, at least not intentionally.
Out of all the racial slip ups i've had to endure while working for the Clintons, and seeing some of the tactics which came from above which I do think were racially divisive and disappointing to me, I still was intensely loyal to her. In NO WAY do i think the Clintons are in any way shape or form, racist! The "southern strategy" can be used without one being a racist. Another example: Karl Rove's father is gay and he has a very close relationship with him, so obviously he is not homophobic. But he created a religious right backlash against gays, using gay marriage as a wedge issue. One can use these divisive tactics because they work, not because thats their hidden homophobia, racism, or mysoginy. I stood silent when I saw Clinton using racially divisive tactics. I know the code words. Dont tell me i didnt hear them.
But trying to push the idea that Obama is a sexist is just false and wrong. He is a little absentminded when it comes to gender issues, and of course he doesnt see the line as clearly as women do. He's a man. But that fact doesnt excuse anything. But I can understand it. I also understand that Obama is probably better at seeing the faultlines on race better than Clinton. Does it mean Clinton was a racist and doesnt care about issues regarding racial disparities economically just because she said something divisive, at times, unknowingly? Absolutely not.
I dont expect pure political correctness from him as I didnt with the many instances of political incorrectness coming from Hillary's campaign with regards to race was foregone by the Hillary herself, the Clinton campaign, its surrogates, supporters, and the media. I only supported Hillary because I once worked for her and liked her all my life, and oh yeah, I actually care about keeping her legacy intact and getting healthcare passed, and getting my 3 brothers out of Iraq (they're on their 3rd deployment), and my aunt lost her house from the mortgage crisis...so I think I kinda want that solved...