Hillary Clinton is getting a raw deal. That’s not in reference to her politics; it’s in reference to her gender.
The never-ending race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Clinton and Barack Obama is peeling back layers and layers of this country’s long-shot hope for equality.
Sexism vs. racism — which is more offensive?
Ideally, we want to believe that both are regarded with an equal degree of seriousness, because both are forms of discrimination — plain and simple. Realistically, however, that isn’t the case. Realistically, we tolerate sexism far more than we do racism.
Way back in January, while addressing supporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Clinton was interrupted by two men who stood up with signs and repeatedly yelled, “Iron my shirt!” The signs matched their moronic proclamation. Soon after the outbursts, the men were escorted out of the building, not to be heard of or from again.
Ah, the remnants of sexism â€” alive and well,” Clinton said after the commotion subsided.
Upon hearing the news, reaction around the newsroom consisted of incredulity mixed with laughter. There was something about the incident that prompted some to chuckle, and conclude how ridiculous certain people can be.
Now, I’d like to present another scenario:
Let’s say that Obama was at a rally. And during his speech, two individuals stood up flaunting signs and yelling, “Shine my shoes!”
What would the reaction be to that? Would there be chuckles? Would the occurrence be chalked up merely as ridiculous? Would we forget about it three days later? Or would the media latch on to the episode to spurn scores of news stories and analyses about race relations in America?
We’d quickly describe “Shine my shoes!” toward Obama as hate speech. But never once have I heard someone describe the “Iron my shirt!” demand toward Clinton as hate speech.
Sexism and racism are both, by law, equal forms of discrimination. Yet they don’t prompt equal responses.Â