Monday, November 05, 2007

bring it on, boys

My dad brought me to an Italian street festival in the south end of Hartford CT in, I guess, 1984, because Geraldine Ferraro -- the first woman vice presidential nominee -- was speaking.

At the time, I don't think I really "got it" that it was a big deal that Ferraro was on the ticket and I don't think the importance of it really sunk in until about four years ago (20 years later) when I had the opportunity to hear Walter Mondale speak
about the decision to pick Ferraro as his running mate when he visited a grad school class I was TA'ing on the presidential campaign.


Both Mondale and Ferraro were back in the news yesterday, as Mondale endorsed Hillary Clinton and Ferraro, who is also endorsing Clinton, said something that makes me want to vomit in my shoes.

(I don't think the fact that her statement caused me to have intestinal issues is the newsworthy part, but you understand what I mean.)

In response to the debate last week during which poor defenseless Hillary was the target of criticism by her male opponents:

“'John Edwards, specifically, as well as the press, would never attack Barack Obama for two hours they way they attacked her,' said Geraldine A. Ferraro, the 1984 vice presidential candidate who supports Mrs. Clinton. 'It’s O.K. in this country to be sexist,' Ms. Ferraro said. 'It’s certainly not O.K. to be racist. I think if Barack Obama had been attacked for two hours — well, I don’t think Barack Obama would have been attacked for two hours.'

You have got to be kidding me! First of all, it's pretty damn okay to be racist in this country (Dog Chapman notwithstanding). I'll introduce you to some kids in Jena, Mississippi if you're feeling doubtful of this fact. Or maybe I'll just share a really dumb statement that Senator Joe Biden made earlier this year about Senator Barack Obama being "clean."

But, come on, can we PLEASE (I am begging you) STOP this nonsense. They are picking on Hillary because she is the anointed front runner. If they weren't picking on her, THEN, I would be concerned that they were being sexist. And, please, dear G-d, let us hope that she can take the jibes. My guess is that, if she is elected president, she's going to need to stand up to so much more.

Yesterday on This Week, George Stephanopoulos referred to single women as the "new evanglical Christians." We are the most powerful voting group in this election and we like it that way. We have stood up to more in our lifetimes than getting criticized by a group of politicians and so has Hillary.

Like Kirsten Dunst once stated so eloquently, "Bring it on."


7 comments:

k.h. said...

Well said. Of course, now you've gone and made me homesick. (Italian fest is held on the street where my grandparents used to live.)

J. Wilson said...

Hello there,

I am a student from Professor Melander's class, the class to which you'll be speaking this Wednesday at American University.

I was reading through your blog to learn a little bit of your background before you come to speak.

I came across where you said, "it's pretty damn okay to be racist in this country," and I was wondering if you honestly believe that. You've written it, so I believe it's how you feel... but I'm wondering to what extent you believe in that. Because you referenced "Dog" Chapman, were you implying that, in the eyes of "Dog," it's okay to be racist in the United States? Or, are you just using "Dog" to support your own views? According to "Dog's" apology statement, I would be lead to believe that he doesn't feel that racism is okay in this country.

For example, A&E has pulled the show from the air, and cancelled all advertising for it. They did so to illustrate zero tolerance for racism. In my opinion, this is a pretty clear demonstration that it's not okay to be racist in this country. Please share your thoughts with me, I'm very interested to hear them.

You can either mail me at jw6537a@american.edu, or leave a message on my course blog @ eight-thirty.blogspot.com.

Best regards.

J. Wilson said...

Hello there,

I am a student from Professor Melander's class, the class to which you'll be speaking this Wednesday at American University.

I was reading through your blog to learn a little bit of your background before you come to speak.

I came across where you said, "it's pretty damn okay to be racist in this country," and I was wondering if you honestly believe that. You've written it, so I believe it's how you feel... but I'm wondering to what extent you believe in that. Because you referenced "Dog" Chapman, were you implying that, in the eyes of "Dog," it's okay to be racist in the United States? Or, are you just using "Dog" to support your own views? According to "Dog's" apology statement, I would be lead to believe that he doesn't feel that racism is okay in this country.

For example, A&E has pulled the show from the air, and cancelled all advertising for it. They did so to illustrate zero tolerance for racism. In my opinion, this is a pretty clear demonstration that it's not okay to be racist in this country. Please share your thoughts with me, I'm very interested to hear them.

You can either mail me at jw6537a@american.edu, or leave a message on my course blog @ eight-thirty.blogspot.com.

Best regards.

abf said...

I do not think it is okay to be racist, but I don't think that's what you were asking. I think you are asking if I can still say that knowing that Dog Chapman, who was cited in my blog, is not getting away with his racist comments and is, in fact, being penalized.

I'm actually a Dog Chapman fan. Or, I guess, I was. I like that he is portrayed as someone who loves his family tremendously and is willing to express that love to them. The fact that his racist comment actually contradicts this, apparently, idealized persona makes it that much more appalling to me: he used it in a verbal attack against his son.

As far as his apology? I'm not a big believer in apologies, particularly when someone's livelihood is on the line. He has a very large economic (and ego-driven) reason to justify his words.

And A&E's and the advertisers actions? Also economically motivated. Are they the right things to do? Yes. Does it mean that there is zero tolerance for racism in this country? I don't think so.

It was a muddied example. Maybe I should have just left the Jena 6 example there. Or made an example of something that was more about institutionalized racism? Or maybe just made the point that was underlying it all. One marginalized group should not try to undermine another marginalized group in an effort to lift themselves up or demonstrate how marginalized they are.

Does that help?

You should check out some of the open source tools that enable you to follow comments on posts to which you have commented (commments.com is the one I use) or simply click the box in this application to get follow up comments emailed to you. They're both great tools.

Thanks for stopping by. I will see you on Wednesday.

J. Wilson said...

Ms. Fields,

I'm not sure what led you to believe that I don't subscribe to follow-up comments, but I do... so thank you for posting the comment, and sending the e-mail anyways.

Now, the point I was addressing in your blog was your statement that racism is okay: "First of all, it's pretty damn okay to be racist in this country."

I was asking why you believe that racism is okay. How do you justify your viewpoint that racism is alright?

I personally don't believe that it's okay to be racist, and I was citing A&E's actions as an example of America's intolerance for racism.

In your reply to my comment, you've rebuked your original statement by saying "I do not think it is okay to be racist." So I am a bit confused by your reply. It seems to me that you've yet to address my original question... Likewise, if your follow-up comment is true, then why did you write the opposite in your post in the first place?

Just wondering...

I'm at eight-thirty.blogspot.com or jw6537a@american.edu.

Thanks!

abf said...

I wrote that it is "okay" to be racist in this country in direct response to the quote from Geraldine Ferraro that I featured in my post.

Ferraro said, "It’s O.K. in this country to be sexist. It’s certainly not O.K. to be racist. I think if Barack Obama had been attacked for two hours — well, I don’t think Barack Obama would have been attacked for two hours."

Geraldine Ferraro does not condone sexism. Her statement is that she believes it is socially acceptable to be sexist.

When I wrote, "It's pretty damn okay to be racist in this country," I was also not condoning racism. I was mirroring Ferraro's statement: in many social circles, it is acceptable to be racist.

I presume that clears that up.

I was under the impression that you did not use comment tracking tools because you asked me to respond to you via email or your own blog. Good to know that you use the tools, as they are pretty handy.

J. Wilson said...

This certainly clears things up.

Thank you very much for your response!

Jeff