Black Women: Black or Female?

January 21, 2008

CNN.com has an article by reporter Randi Kaye about the difficult choices facing African American female voters in South Carolina. The premise is who will black women vote for? Will they vote their race or their gender. Read the Article Here.

I think that is a degrading oversimplification about a group of people.  While I highly doubt Randi Kaye is a sexist (Randi is a women) or a racist (she has had wonderful coverage of Katrina and other potential race issues).  The article smacks of racism and sexism.  I expected to read the name of some 65 year old white man on the by line.

Black women are both black and female.  It is not trading on either to vote for the candidate of one’s choice.  The article does not acknowledge until 3/4 of the way through, and only then with one sentence, that black women are capable of voting on the issues.

The tone of the article just didn’t sit right with me.  It takes a serious topic (and a serious portion of the voters in South Carolina) and trivializes it into black and female stereotypes.

At Anjay’s Salon in Charleston, the only thing louder than the hair dryer is the chorus of political opinions.

Salons are a target for the campaigns — across the state they have turned into caucuses of sorts. They’re where women gather and gossip.

Why is it when women are gathered talking about politics a reporter has the nerve to call it gossip.

For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?  No other voting bloc in the country faces this choice.

Race and gender are not the two separate halves that compose black women.  I think if a black women is torn between the two candidates over race or gender, it is about race and gender issues.  There is a difference between voting for Clinton, as a woman, because you believe she will more vehemently right for reproductive rights, and voting for her because she is a woman and you think it is neat to have female president.

It could just be me reading too much into the article.  But I think a few revisions, better selection of quotes, and a little more caution in using stereotypes and this could have been  an actual piece of journalism.


Apparently civil rights don’t include gays or women

October 24, 2007

Homosexuality is a sickness, just as are baby-rape or wanting to become head of General Motors. ~Eldridge Cleaver, “Notes on a Native Son,” Soul on Ice, 1968

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I recently came across this gem of a quote by Eldridge Cleaver and have begun to read Soul on Ice. I have not finished by any means, and as such will reserve final judgment until the end. But so far it has been possibly the oddest read of all times. It has insane range. It varies from brutally honest introspective analysis to preachy ivory tower judgments of others. It varies from oblivious and cocky to self aware and humble. It may be the most offensive thing I’ve ever read (that was not intended as hate speech) towards both women and gays. But at the same time he is very aware of his misogyny and understands his hatred is misdirected. He admits to raping multiple women and practice on girls from the ghetto. There are no direct references really, but it is well known he killed several people over the course of his life.

The book was extremely popular in the 60s, he was a revolutionary (literally and figuratively) and was considered a significant civil rights figure. But his idea of civil rights was extremely limited. He notoriously switched religions at his convenience and after each conversion was a fierce proponent of that religion and its accompanying doctrine. I think if he came forward in our politically correct world and tried to step up as a civil rights leader, he would be a laughing stock. An angry, violent ex con with a disposition towards sexism and homophobia telling us how the world should be equal. Equal for black men at least, all the while flip flopping on religion and trying to assist international revolutions.

As it is with all the crazies, I admire his passion. I am looking forward to finishing his book, and to researching him further. Maybe there is a movie!