Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are we racist and sexist? Yes.

I listened to parts of Obama's speech or racism yesterday and thought what I heard was well put together. I have no doubt, however, that there are people that think he is wrong. I don't.

After years of living in the south I moved back to my beloved New Mexico because of the cultural mix here. I remembered that the native Americans, Hispanics, and Anglos got along great. I also immediately noted I hated the word Anglo. Research into my roots shows an ample amount of black Irish (Moors). And it bothered me that the Indians and the Hispanics get to make such a big deal about what they want to be called but I don't get a choice. I even hate those little boxes on census forms and applications. Went through a period of checking Other.

I moved to Questa where my husband and I were at the time only one of three "white" families and I got to experience "reverse racism." When Marc and I came to a splitting of the ways, in part because of the difficulty of living in that community, I moved to a largely "Anglo" community. Not because of the racism but because of the sexism.

Men seem to forget that women still do not have equal rights. The Equal Rights Amendment for women was never passed. The constitution of the US declares blacks as equal but not women. Sorry, Hillary. We still earn less, have to fight harder for better jobs, and are the following spouse where relocations are concerned. But that is just with the white male majority of this country. Make that fundamental Christian and women are suppose to wear skirts, follow their husband's dictates in all things, and home school the children. But any women into the Hispanic culture of say Questa and you will find she is considered owned by her husband to do with as he sees fit. Fine if he is a benign dictator. Not so fine if he considers discipline corporal.

I was considered a witch in Questa because I carried a gun into the forest on walks, and had the nerve to actually irrigate our fields. A single white woman that was my friend was considered a whore (punta) because no other woman would live alone without a man. On the Navajo Reservation the men ride in the cab of the pickup and the women in the back regardless of weather. No camping cover either. Even the dogs get front seat. In short, to this day, a woman's status in the United States defers to the status of her husband and the sub-culture to which he belongs. Would Hillary have gotten as far if Bill were a garbage collector? I don't think so.

We (the educated middle class and above) are all making noises about how wonderful it is to have a black man (hey, at least half white) and a woman run for the office of President of the United States. But come election day it will be the white males that will walk into the booth, and their wives voting as they have been told, and McCain will be our President. The third term of the Bush Presidency. We will still be in Iraq, the economy will still be in the pits, New Orleans will still not be rebuilt and Sexism, and Racism will be even more rampant because our dream of a New America was not realized.

If we are lucky there will be no rioting in the streets, women will not move out on their husbands, and we will be bought out by a benign country. Or we could try getting our shit together before that happens. You can only fix what it is you admit is broken. It probably is time for some honesty among the citizens of this country. We are here because we tried to pretend we were all equal before the law and each other. We aren't. Or that racism only goes one way. It doesn't.

I have to applaud Barack Obama for finally speaking out on this issue. We have swept it under the rug for entirely too long. We need to cast aside our differences and unite not only to end the repression of this current administration but to battle those problems facing the United States and the world that have no race or sex or religious boundaries. We are humans and we live on this planet together.