Sara Whitman

The Inexcusable

Filed By Sara Whitman | March 25, 2008 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Democrat primaries, election 2008, feminism, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC, racism, racism charges, sexism

I was forwarded an article today by Linda Burnham, The Tightrope and the Needle.

"Liberal feminists have every right to spend down their political capital on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hard choices have to made; political debts have to be paid. But it will not count as progress if a Clinton win is purchased at the cost of deepening the racial divide. It is inexcusable to support a candidate in the name of feminism while deploying racist argumentation, minimizing the existence and impact of racism, and denying the advantages of inhabiting the racial space called "white." It will not be excused. Nor will it be forgotten."

Excuse me?

I believe Clinton is a better candidate.

Period. Pretty darn close between them. They have voted over 90% of the time the same way. very very little is different. I think Clinton's additional term in the Senate is important but not the end all and be all.


I like her health care plan better.


They both suck wind on LGBT rights.


I have read their positions. I have listened to the debates. I have thoughtfully considered each candidate. They both have weaknesses and strengths.

You can call me racist, and that's fine. You can call me the political machine of old and that's fine. Keep bringing it on and I'll keep shaking my head. I don't agree.

Is the only way I can embrace the struggle for racial justice is to vote for Obama? If I don't, I'm reverting "to the primacy of sexism over all other forms of discrimination and oppression. All the tendencies that got feminism tagged as a white, middle-class women's thing are, brutally, back in play."

It can't just be a difference of opinion? Honestly, I wish I had someone to vote for that had Kucinich's politics, Romney's hair, Ann Richard's humor, St. Teresa's police record...

But I don't, do I?

I could go through the entire essay, line by line and argue every point. My blood pressure would skyrocket.

Mostly? It hurts.

I am highly attuned to gender frames. I am highly attuned to homophobia, gender identity, stereotyping, class differences... I live them every day.

And I am highly attuned to race and racism.

The author refers to me- old, white woman voting for Clinton- as "blissfully (willfully?) ignorant?"

That's an insult to all the work I've done in my life, professionally and personally.

I chose a different candidate.

And now that makes me a racist?

Are some people supporting Clinton racist? Yes. And some people supporting Obama are racist, too. No one has played this campaign cleanly.

No one.

I believe deeply and strongly that we need to have a discussion on race in this country. We are in a historic moment and we are all spitting at each other and throwing blanket statements in order to elevate our candidate...

What a waste. We should be having this discussion TOGETHER rather than pointing fingers.

We are pulling apart each thread of the fabric of these campaigns- these two democratic campaigns- and scrutinizing every gesture, every word, every supporting cast member...

In the mean time? John McCain doesn't even need to fund raise. Why bother campaigning? He just has to sit back and wait for the bloodied victor from Denver to step forward.

We all have a lot of work to do. The discussion about race- and gender, and class, and homophobia- is essential to creating social change. We must come together for this discussion.

Long after this presidential race is decided, we will all have to work together because a single person in the role of president is simply NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

Are we all war lovin', Republican morons because George Bush has been our president for 8 years?

I didn't think so.

"It is inexcusable to support a candidate in the name of feminism while deploying racist argumentation, minimizing the existence and impact of racism, and denying the advantages of inhabiting the racial space called 'white'"

There has been so much about the political/candidate discussion that I find inexcusable. I could flip that statement right back at the author.

But I know it's not that simple. There isn't a single line to draw to get from A to B with race in this country. This is complex. There are many different things happening at once.

Mostly, though? If we blow this election because we are so busy navel gazing and pointing fingers at each other because we can't see beyond our own rhetoric?

That will not be forgotten.

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The author refers to me- old, white woman voting for Clinton- as "blissfully (willfully?) ignorant?"

How do you know she was referring to you? Was there something in the full article? Do you have a link to that?

Because in the part you blockquoted, there's really nothing that says that all feminists supporting Clinton are employing racial arguments. It just implies that there are some.

And there definitely are some. I'm sure there are quite a few white people supporting Clinton because she's white, just as I'm sure there are more than a few people voting for Obama because he's male. But I don't see how that's an indictment of everyone who supports either candidate....

John McCain doesn't even need to fund raise.

He's stopped fundraising?

Hmmmm...Sara, did you read the rest of the article?

Here it is posted on another site in its entirety

She wasn't just focusing on white women but providing commentary on the way people vote and how their opinions aren't necessarily about the most qualified candidate.

She is a black woman, obviously pro-Obama, and her opinions are definitely skewed for her candidate.

Michael Bedwell | March 25, 2008 1:43 PM

Well considered and written, Sara, but I fear any attempt to reject absolutism is howling into the wind.

As heated as the discussion has been here, except for the hallucinatory harangues of a couple of posters in previous threads, I've seen and experienced worse elsewhere.

Some time back, an Obamoonie at Towleroad finally simply hurled, "Bedwell, you have done nothing but attempt to pick Obama apart for the past several months. ... It is clear at this point that Obama will be the Democratic nominee. Unless you want to further besmirch by association the reputation of your good friend Leonard Matlovich, I sincerely suggest you re-examine your goals in this process and get with the program. You're a repulsive embarrassment to Matlovich's memory. ...I can only question what he ever saw in you."

If we "get with the program" will we get a souvenir T-shirt?

Matt, thank you for posting the link to the entire article. I agree that it is one woman's perspective on the current electoral process. I read her essay as a criticism of a certain type of feminist - not of all white women and certainly not of Sara in specific. I find the essay to be valuable in that it questions the mindset that women and pro feminist men have some sort of duty to fall in line behind Senator Clinton. There are a great many women of all creeds and colors, including LOTS of feminists , who object to that line of thinking and support Senator Obama. I am thankful for Linda Burnham's perspective and am glad to be made aware of her essay so that I may share it with others. Thank you Sara for sharing Linda's essay with all of us.

Well, I am a middle aged, white woman.

If not me, then who?

My neighbor?

Yes, it was a powerful essay. And it is going to evoke feelings.

It hurt.

Well, I am a middle aged, white woman.

I don't see where in the article she called out "middle aged, white women," other than saying that white women over 60 are less likely to vote Democrat than Black women over 60.

But she does call out "Gloria Steinem to Robin Morgan to Geraldine Ferraro to Erica Jong," but not personally, just disagreeing with their ideas. I don't see how any of this is really an attack on white people at all unless recognizing racism is always interpreted as such an attack.

I thought her analysis of how Hillary Clinton's race is normalized and therefore erased to be particularly insightful.

And to everyone: The link to the article was in the original version of this post that Sara wrote up. It got lost due to an editorial error, but it's back up.

Michael Bedwell | March 25, 2008 7:36 PM


"(03-25) 13:27 PDT Indianapolis (AP) --

Chelsea Clinton had a quick retort Tuesday when asked whether her mother's credibility had been hurt during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know maybe, 70 college campuses I've now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business," Clinton said during a campaign visit for her mother, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton had picked out the male questioner as she wrapped up a question-and-answer session at Butler University. It wasn't immediately clear what statement by the first lady the questioner was referring to. ...

Clinton's answer was met with loud applause from the about 200 people in the audience. After the applause, Clinton responded, "and I also don't think that should be the last question."

She took another question on global warming and wrapped up the event."
Hillary Clinton's judgmental remarks about the Rev Dr Jeremiah Wright and her presumptuous remarks about where Barack Omama should or should not worship , ironic in view of Hillary's own controversial religious bedfellows
Donna Brazile on Hillary throwing Jeremiah Wright under the bus

Sara, I can see where you're coming from. But maybe you should follow Bil's lead and take a break from following the election coverage for a while. You seem a little stressed out.

Michael Bedwell | March 25, 2008 10:09 PM

Donna Brazile? Donna Brazile? Oh, do you mean that "undecided" nudge nudge wink wink superdelegate who was happy being one until someone suggested that her peers might, in the process of doing exactly what they were created to do—determine what is The Christ...threatening to hold her breath until her head explods or she can finally pronounce a gerund?

Is it the Donna Brazile who was accused of opposing adding gays to the Democratic Party’s affirmative action guidelines for selecting delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention simply because it might mean less non-gay identified black delegates? The Donna Brazile who helped steer the Swift Boating of the Clintons as racist? The Donna Brazile who worked the same race-baiting angle so well in 2003 that she got laid off surplus BUT BLACK DNC HQ workers rehired? The Donna Brazile who called Jeremiah Wright a “moderate” preacher? Donna Brazile, the “political attack dog” [Salon, 10/11/99] who had to resign from the Dukakis campaign over publicly suggesting Bush pere was an adulterer? Donna Brazile the failed campaign manager for Gore 2000, and “all mouth no cattle” in at least three other failed campaigns?

Do you mean the Donna Brazile who helped engineer the Florida and Michigan primary fiascos? “I believe that in spite of the risk of alienating millions of voters in states THAT COULD ULTIMATELY DECIDE THE ELECTION THIS FALL, Howard Dean and party officials must [not allow a do-over]”? The Donna Brazile who, in 2005, was “the highest-ranking black campaign manager in American history, but frankly, she can't deliver a pizza”?

THAT Donna Brazile? We wonder when she’ll stop scolding Sen. Clinton and spank her American Idol for entirely erasing his "crazy Uncle" Fester er Wright’s picture and endorsement from his site, the candidate she is not, NOT we tell you, having messianic multiple orgasms over every time she hears “Barack” which according to him means “blessed” in Arabic—except when he’s claiming it’s Swahili. -

Not surprised you're still working the McCarthyism shift, BC. And in typical The Gospel According to St. Barack mode—HIS religious associations are above approach; Sen. Clinton's are agents of the Devil. When are you publishing the "Da Clinton Code"?

But your Freudian slip "Barack oMAMA" is a hoot! Thanks—that had all of us down here at the Vince Foster Shooting Gallery laughing our horned heads off!

"[The statements of his minister] not unimportantly [negate] everything that Obama says he stands for by way of advocating dignity and responsibility over the sick cults of paranoia and victimhood. Now, by way of which vent or orifice is this venom creeping back into our national bloodstream? Where is hatred and tribalism and ignorance most commonly incubated, and from which platform is it most commonly yelled? If you answered ‘the churches’ and ‘the pulpits’, you got both answers right. The Ku Klux Klan and the Nation of Islam may be weak these days, but bigotry of all sorts is freely available, and openly inculcated into children, by any otherwise unemployable dirtbag who can perform the easy feat of putting Reverend in front of his name. And this clerical vileness has now reached the point of disfiguring the campaigns of both leading candidates for our presidency. If you think Jeremiah Wright is gruesome, wait until you get a load of the next Chicago ‘Reverend’, one James Meeks, another South Side horror show with a special sideline in the baiting of homosexuals. He, too, has been an Obama supporter, and his church has been an occasional recipient of Obama's patronage. And perhaps he, too, can hope to be called [merely] ‘controversial’ for his use of the term ‘house nigger’ to describe those he doesn't like and for his view that it was ‘the Hollywood Jews who brought us Brokeback Mountain’.

To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come.”


And, here’s a video clip of Obama’s pious pal Meeks in full homohating sail:

Thanks for that eruption Michael,

I'm glad a typo and the mention of Donna Brazile gave you such a good workout.

I think that even outdid your earlier rant in response to my quoting Andrew Sullivan.

Very entertaining - except for your anti-religious bile, which seems to be getting more pronounced just as your candidate grows more desperate.