Lately, it seems, feminists who should know better - including feminist academics - are saying some really cringe-worthy things in the course of defending Hillary as a candidate. For instance, I'm really sick of hearing - and I have now heard this from several sources - that overt racism is no longer acceptable while overt sexism is, and that therefore, Hillary is getting the worst of the abuse. Yet, some of these same (White) people will turn around and confide that they are worried that if Obama were elected, someone would assassinate him. I have not yet heard from anyone the concern that Hillary would be a target for an assassination. She might be told to iron someone's shirts, and she might have her appearance repeatedly analyzed, and she might have to pander to the American public's need for her to be both strong and warm, feminine and powerful, but she is probably not in great danger of assassination for being a woman.
It may not be acceptable to say "the n-word" on broadcast television, but it is apparently acceptable to let hundreds of Black people drown rather than rescue them from a flood that everyone knew was coming and that we had resources to rescue them from. The number of Black men in the prison system is epidemic, and they are there while White men who commit the same crimes receive lesser sentences - or no sentences. Black women are far more likely to die from preventable and treatable diseases than are White women because they do not have access to healthcare and because the healthcare system doesn't give a damn about them when they try to get help (witness the woman who just died in her home in the Twin Cities because her doctor didn't believe anything was wrong with here when she went to see him, and sent her home). Is someone really going to tell me that this is not overt, public racism?
I've also heard more than one person refer to this as being another case in which Americans must decide who goes first: Black men or White women. If that's true, and if people are really thinking this way, then it is also likely to be another case in which White feminists will sell out American Blacks without a second thought. Again.
I've heard a lot of talk about how, if Obama were a woman, no one would look twice at him, at that Obama woman with "no experience." (No one ever mentions that being Black might have anything to do with that - nope, it's all about gender.) I've heard that if Hillary weren't a woman, she wouldn't have had to deal with all the scrutiny and nasty comments (probably true) and would therefore be way ahead in the race (like John Edwards, the White guy?).
But so far, I haven't seen anyone really examine what it might mean for the race if Hillary were a White man. So let's consider it, and let's think particularly about what kind of support she'd be getting among feminists and among women more generally.
If Hillary Clinton were a White man, then all the White feminists who are furiously fanning themselves at the thought of having to choose between betraying womankind and looking like a racist would immediately back Obama. They would point out that we've had enough White men in the White House, and that this is a historic moment for change. National feminist organizations would be falling all over themselves to be first to endorse him. Meanwhile, they would be pointing to Hillary's war record as signs of disregard for the poor people and people of color who have had to give their lives for the war.
If Hillary Clinton were a White man, her comment about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work only coming to fruition because of the work of a benevolent president would have drawn criticism from White feminists.
If Hillary Clinton were a White man, there would be more, not fewer, remarks about how she would continue Bill's legacy (were she his son).
If Hillary Clinton were a White man, we'd be looking now at a race between Edwards and Obama.
If Hillary Clinton were a White man, no one would accuse female Obama supporters of voting with their crotches. (Interesting that no one said this about Edwards supporters. And, what, are there no lesbians supporting Obama? Hmm.) Instead, they'd be accusing female Clinton supporters of voting with their crotches.
If Hillary Clinton were a White man, at least I wouldn't have to listen to what is passing for feminism but is really thinly disguised racism.