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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > The level of sexism and racism in the US is distressing

The level of sexism and racism in the US is distressing
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besson3c
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Feb 10, 2008, 04:48 PM
 
One thing that has been made clear to me is that although most of us will deny there being a problem, we have basically skirted racism and sexism under the carpet, but it still exists.

When you use either term, you usually make people quite defensive. They think about the most heinous of acts based on extremist viewpoints, but there are still many mild forms of sexism in our society. For instance, my wife and I decided to keep our last names, but everybody just naturally assumes that her last name is mine, and very rarely the reverse. The whole basis of the tradition of taking the man's last name comes from a time when women were the property of men.

Perhaps sexism isn't the most appropriate term for this, but we do have very distinctive and rigid ideas for what roles should be assumed, and while individually they don't amount to very much, they do add up.

I think the best evidence of this is how race and gender effect democratic voting, and how the media plays off of this. Yesterday 90% of the Black population in Louisiana voted for Obama, and Hillary's strongest base consists of women. I think it is very difficult to say that we are race or gender blind, but the extent in which this is so is rather distressing to me.
     
BRussell
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:18 PM
 
It's interesting that, in states with large numbers of blacks, Obama gets virtually all the black vote and Clinton gets the majority of the white vote. But in states like Iowa with virtually no blacks, the whites vote for him over Hillary.

There's a term for it, I think it's "racial threat" or something, where whites and blacks become polarized when the inter-mixing is greater. When there is no "racial threat," as in Iowa, whites don't polarize and will therefore give strong support to a black candidate. I believe the theory is used to explain how, in the south, where there are more blacks than in other parts of the country, whites are so much more republican than elsewhere.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:23 PM
 
That's very interesting BRussell...

What is the precise nature of the threat anyway? Or, is that just a non-specific label?
     
Ghoser777
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:29 PM
 
Different = threat.
     
Buckaroo
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:34 PM
 
I always thought that there were more to it than sexist.

It was a little religious, psychological and more important a name the child can be proud of.

No matter how hard we want to believe otherwise, women and men are different, both psychologically and mentally.

In the past, it was sometimes difficult for young women to leave their parents behind when they got married (BTW, I don’t think this is much of a problem anymore), and taking on the name of their new husband may have helped alleviate this problem. She was now taking on a new role.

Personally, I don’t think of a wife taking on a husband’s last name as sexist. It is out of respect for a mate that may have to give up his life to defend his family in conflict.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
I always thought that there were more to it than sexist.

It was a little religious, psychological and more important a name the child can be proud of.

No matter how hard we want to believe otherwise, women and men are different, both psychologically and mentally.

In the past, it was sometimes difficult for young women to leave their parents behind when they got married (BTW, I don’t think this is much of a problem anymore), and taking on the name of their new husband may have helped alleviate this problem. She was now taking on a new role.

Personally, I don’t think of a wife taking on a husband’s last name as sexist. It is out of respect for a mate that may have to give up his life to defend his family in conflict.

Women are allowed to (and do) serve in the military today. What conflict are you referring to? What about all of the non-military families? Care to elaborate?
     
Buckaroo
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Women are allowed to (and do) serve in the military today. What conflict are you referring to? What about all of the non-military families? Care to elaborate?
I'm referring (maybe a little more historical than present day) to if you, your wife and children are walking through the park and someone comes up and threatens your family with a weapon, you should stand up and fight the criminal giving your wife and children time to escape. Now if your wife is bigger and meaner than you, then you should take her last name.

hehehehehe
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 06:01 PM
 
Buckaroo: so you're saying that there is really no reason why today women should be expected to take the man's last name?
     
Chuckit
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Feb 10, 2008, 06:29 PM
 
I saw a report a while back on how black women were going to have a difficult decision because they had to pick Hillary or Obama. And then they interviewed black women, and I thought it would have been awesome if one had answered, "The entire basis of this piece — the assumption that black women are invariably Democrats, and, even if we are, that we must vote for somebody who is racially or sexually similar to ourselves — is horribly flawed and highly offensive. Shame on you people." But no, they actually agreed with the piece. They just couldn't decide whether they were more enthusiastic about being sexist or being racist. That made me sad.
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Buckaroo
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Feb 10, 2008, 06:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Buckaroo: so you're saying that there is really no reason why today women should be expected to take the man's last name?
I have a question for you. What if next year your wife changes her mind and decides that she wants to change her last name to yours "Besson"? Would you tell her NO, I will not allow it because I believe that it is not right?

What if she asks you to change your last name to her last name? If your name is Besson and hers was some nobel or famous last name, would you change?
     
davesimondotcom
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Feb 10, 2008, 06:48 PM
 
I think there is some element of racism and/or sexism so ASSUME that because someone is black, they'll vote for Obama, and if they are female they'll vote Hillary.

So a thinking woman can't vote for Obama? Or a thinking black man can't vote for Hillary? And neither of them can vote for McCain?

I'm not allowed to vote for Obama because I'm a white, 33 year old man who normally votes Republican?

I always thought it should be the goal to get beyond these stupid assumptions and vote for theperson you'd think would lead us best, regardless of what is (or isn't) between their legs andthe color of their skin.

Maybe I make the same point that the OP besson was making. I'm not sure. The media certainly exploits the "differences" between Clinton and Obama - unfortunately, they don't talk about the political differences between the two.
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besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 06:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
I have a question for you. What if next year your wife changes her mind and decides that she wants to change her last name to yours "Besson"? Would you tell her NO, I will not allow it because I believe that it is not right?

What if she asks you to change your last name to her last name? If your name is Besson and hers was some nobel or famous last name, would you change?
There is nothing inherently wrong with choosing the man's last name. Choosing to go with the man's last name based *solely* on historical precedent, some flimsy argument that does not hold true to today (like your guy with a weapon argument), or just assuming that a woman would do that "just because" is arbitrary. Your choice, but no great justification there. The continuation of this based solely on these same flawed reasons is backwards thinking, and can be a little offensive to women - especially in cases where there are other factors that work against these arguments (e.g. the woman being famous, the man being abandoned by your parents, not being terribly proud of his family, etc.)
     
davesimondotcom
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Feb 10, 2008, 06:57 PM
 
For the record, my wife chose my last name because, well, it was better to be Amy Simon than Amy Peck. At least in her opinion.
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Koralatov
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
I saw a report a while back on how black women were going to have a difficult decision because they had to pick Hillary or Obama. And then they interviewed black women, and I thought it would have been awesome if one had answered, "The entire basis of this piece — the assumption that black women are invariably Democrats, and, even if we are, that we must vote for somebody who is racially or sexually similar to ourselves — is horribly flawed and highly offensive. Shame on you people." But no, they actually agreed with the piece. They just couldn't decide whether they were more enthusiastic about being sexist or being racist. That made me sad.
I agree that the report is incredibly insulting, though not just to black women (even though they were focus of that particular piece). It makes the assumption that people are idiots, and incapable of deciding on who to vote for on anything deeper than their race or gender. It completely disregards what should be important in choosing a leader: where they stand on the issues that matter to you. Unfortunately, it seems that this is the direction that Western politics is heading in; it's less about issues, and more about a slick campaign and a candidate's USP.

With regards to a woman taking a man's name, I'm not particularly angsty about the issue. If I got married, I'd leave it entirely up to my wife if she took my name or not; I'm not going to force her to, and I'm not going to force her not to if she doesn't want to. I think the taking of your husband's name is meant to symbolise the close bond that is formed by marriage--it's just societal inertia from a more patriarchal time that means it's usually the wife taking the husband's name.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by davesimondotcom View Post
For the record, my wife chose my last name because, well, it was better to be Amy Simon than Amy Peck. At least in her opinion.
That decision would have been even easier if her first name was "Hen".

Am I the first person to point this out to you?
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Koralatov View Post
With regards to a woman taking a man's name, I'm not particularly angsty about the issue. If I got married, I'd leave it entirely up to my wife if she took my name or not; I'm not going to force her to, and I'm not going to force her not to if she doesn't want to. I think the taking of your husband's name is meant to symbolise the close bond that is formed by marriage--it's just societal inertia from a more patriarchal time that means it's usually the wife taking the husband's name.
What would you say if she asked you to take her last name?
     
Koralatov
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What would you say if she asked you to take her last name?
I'd tell her to get stuffed. As far as I'm concerned, changing your last name is a choice; she can do it, or not do it, if she wants--I'm not forcing her either way. By the same token, I would expect a similar response from her and, as she's leaving it to my choice, I choose not to. I quite like my name, and (more importantly) it takes me about a month an a half to remember that it's a new year, so I imagine trying to remember a new signature would be a real pain in the ass.
     
davesimondotcom
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
That decision would have been even easier if her first name was "Hen".

Am I the first person to point this out to you?
Yes. But her dad is named Dick.
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besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Koralatov View Post
I'd tell her to get stuffed. As far as I'm concerned, changing your last name is a choice; she can do it, or not do it, if she wants--I'm not forcing her either way. By the same token, I would expect a similar response from her and, as she's leaving it to my choice, I choose not to. I quite like my name, and (more importantly) it takes me about a month an a half to remember that it's a new year, so I imagine trying to remember a new signature would be a real pain in the ass.
So her choosing not to wouldn't be contentious?

That's cool, you couldn't say the same about many guys...
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 07:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by davesimondotcom View Post
Yes. But her dad is named Dick.
Well, I have a cousin whose name is "Anita Hanchob".


Actually, no I don't, but that would be pretty cool...
     
Koralatov
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Feb 10, 2008, 08:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So her choosing not to wouldn't be contentious?
It wouldn't be contentious in the slightest. She would be Lady Surname before I met her, so I really don't see why I should force her to change to Lady Koralatov. It's just really not that much of an issue to me. The only place I imagine it would get sticky is children's names. I'm not really sure what the precedent would be there, and hypenating is only really an option if it works. (I knew a girl whose last name was Sanchez-Grant, and that put me off hypenating somewhat.)

That said, if the guy has a truly amazing last name, it's almost the woman's duty to take it. I mean, if your husband was called "Van Awesome", how could you possibly refuse?!
     
Chongo
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Feb 10, 2008, 08:06 PM
 
Rumor has it if Hillary wins she will drop Clinton and go by Rodham
I guess AI was rigged by Fox so Fantasia, Rueben, and Jordin would win, otherwise they would have all been blonde haired, blue eyed white kids.

I'm a 7th generation Hispanic BTW
45/47
     
Buckaroo
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Feb 10, 2008, 09:46 PM
 
After a couple generations of hyphenated names, You could end up with a long long last name.

Mary Smith-Johnson married Bob Davidson-Franks, and named their first born John Smith-Johnson-Davidson-Franks. When John grew up, married and had kids, his first born was named Robert Allen John-Smith-Davidson-Franks-Patterson-Swazy-Kramer-Jones.

This just in, bad news, Robert Allen John-Smith-Davidson-Franks-Patterson-Swazy-Kramer-Jones never married, and the blood line came to an end.

This is crazy.
     
Buckaroo
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Feb 10, 2008, 09:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Rumor has it if Hillary wins she will drop Clinton and go by Rodham
I guess AI was rigged by Fox so Fantasia, Rueben, and Jordin would win, otherwise they would have all been blonde haired, blue eyed white kids.

I'm a 7th generation Hispanic BTW
Wasn't there a Chongo in the Banana Splits?
     
Chongo
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Feb 10, 2008, 09:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
Wasn't there a Chongo in the Banana Splits?
Yep. Named my dog Chongo It's actually spelled Chango but i did not want people calling him chang-go
45/47
     
Buckaroo
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Feb 10, 2008, 09:57 PM
 
At least you didn't call him Nova.
     
Chongo
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Feb 10, 2008, 10:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
After a couple generations of hyphenated names, You could end up with a long long last name.

Mary Smith-Johnson married Bob Davidson-Franks, and named their first born John Smith-Johnson-Davidson-Franks. When John grew up, married and had kids, his first born was named Robert Allen John-Smith-Davidson-Franks-Patterson-Swazy-Kramer-Jones.

This just in, bad news, Robert Allen John-Smith-Davidson-Franks-Patterson-Swazy-Kramer-Jones never married, and the blood line came to an end.

This is crazy.
that is the way it is in Spanish speaking countries, but not that bad. Everyone thinks he was called Coronado, his last name was Vázquez de Coronado . Vázquez was his father's surname, Coronado the mother's maiden name. When they married her name became Coronado Vázquez Spanish Surnames
45/47
     
BRussell
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Feb 10, 2008, 10:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
I'm a 7th generation Hispanic BTW
So can I assume you're going to vote for "Juan MexiCain" then?
     
subego
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Feb 10, 2008, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Perhaps sexism isn't the most appropriate term for this, but we do have very distinctive and rigid ideas for what roles should be assumed, and while individually they don't amount to very much, they do add up.

I believe the proper academic term is "gender construction".
     
nonhuman
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Feb 10, 2008, 11:12 PM
 
Two of my friends from college got married a couple years ago. The husband's last name was a hyphenated name 13 characters long (including the hyphen). The wife's last name was a kinda funny sounding Germanic name 12 characters long. We all tried to convince them to both go with a hyphenated last name (26 characters!), but sady they chose to both change their names to the shorter of the husband's two names (only 4 characters ).
     
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Feb 11, 2008, 01:30 PM
 
I guess some things we are NOT supposed to have any opinion whatsoever....
     
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Feb 11, 2008, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
That's very interesting BRussell...

What is the precise nature of the threat anyway? Or, is that just a non-specific label?
I tell you, I am white, and I have NEVER been threatened by a black person. Many, many times by white people though....
     
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Feb 11, 2008, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
It's interesting that, in states with large numbers of blacks, Obama gets virtually all the black vote and Clinton gets the majority of the white vote. But in states like Iowa with virtually no blacks, the whites vote for him over Hillary.

There's a term for it, I think it's "racial threat" or something, where whites and blacks become polarized when the inter-mixing is greater. When there is no "racial threat," as in Iowa, whites don't polarize and will therefore give strong support to a black candidate. I believe the theory is used to explain how, in the south, where there are more blacks than in other parts of the country, whites are so much more republican than elsewhere.
So shouldn't the opposite be true? Where there are large numbers of blacks, whites shouldn't pose any "racial threat" therefore blacks in the south should vote for the white person... Hillary.

Or something like that.

Too weird.

I agree with Chuckit and davesimondotcom about all the taken for granted assumptions based way too much on race,being pretty sad.
     
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Feb 11, 2008, 02:34 PM
 
I would feel more sad about it if it weren't the *first* black or female president respectively. I think the appeal of breaking through that boundary carries significant weight. Not enough weight to vote for someone who's unqualified, but the fact is all the candidates are qualified. There's nothing wrong with letting the novelty of "finally someone like me" influence your decision.

And the assumption itself is only sexist or racist if it's unwarranted. To go back to the example in the OP, expecting her to have changed her name isn't sexist if most women change their name. Being intolerant of her decision would be sexist, but not expecting it is just being familiar with reality. Besson3c, do people scorn your wife for her decision? Being "color-blind" isn't supposed to mean when a black person tells you they're black you have to pretend you didn't already know it. Recognition of differences and patterns is allowed, it's only judgement of those differences that's not.
     
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Feb 11, 2008, 07:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
It's interesting that, in states with large numbers of blacks, Obama gets virtually all the black vote and Clinton gets the majority of the white vote. But in states like Iowa with virtually no blacks, the whites vote for him over Hillary.

There's a term for it, I think it's "racial threat" or something, where whites and blacks become polarized when the inter-mixing is greater. When there is no "racial threat," as in Iowa, whites don't polarize and will therefore give strong support to a black candidate. I believe the theory is used to explain how, in the south, where there are more blacks than in other parts of the country, whites are so much more republican than elsewhere.
I think the "racial threat" idea is real. However, there may also be other less sinister explanations for the phenomenon. For example, Obama tends to win over more voters with a college education, and maybe there are fewer in the South?
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Feb 11, 2008, 07:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I would feel more sad about it if it weren't the *first* black or female president respectively. I think the appeal of breaking through that boundary carries significant weight. Not enough weight to vote for someone who's unqualified, but the fact is all the candidates are qualified. There's nothing wrong with letting the novelty of "finally someone like me" influence your decision.

And the assumption itself is only sexist or racist if it's unwarranted. To go back to the example in the OP, expecting her to have changed her name isn't sexist if most women change their name. Being intolerant of her decision would be sexist, but not expecting it is just being familiar with reality. Besson3c, do people scorn your wife for her decision? Being "color-blind" isn't supposed to mean when a black person tells you they're black you have to pretend you didn't already know it. Recognition of differences and patterns is allowed, it's only judgement of those differences that's not.
This was very well put.
     
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Feb 12, 2008, 08:13 AM
 
You haven't seen much of the world if you think the US has a distressing amount of sexism and racism.
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red rocket
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Feb 12, 2008, 09:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
Hillary's strongest base consists of women.
I realise it's not politically correct, but I really don't think women should be allowed to vote. Not just because it's Hillary, but because their loyalties are almost always exclusively to their own gender first. There's no thought given to policies, character, or personality, it's always ‘girl power’ nonsense.

I can see some justification in blacks voting for a black candidate, despite the racist element, because in my opinion, there's still a case to be made for the black rights movement in America. With women, it's different. They're fully emancipated in virtually all important respects nowadays, gender is not a valid cause to vote for anybody, any more. If it weren't for millions upon millions of women who are only voting for Hillary because she's another woman, she wouldn't have a chance, at all.

Yeah, yeah, sexist pig, I know.
     
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Feb 12, 2008, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
I realise it's not politically correct, but I really don't think women should be allowed to vote. Not just because it's Hillary, but because their loyalties are almost always exclusively to their own gender first. There's no thought given to policies, character, or personality, it's always ‘girl power’ nonsense.
There is amount of truth to that, just as there is the coloured vote to Obama, or the celebrity vote to whoever is taking enough drugs with celebrities, or the Christian vote to Huckabee, etc
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Chongo
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Feb 12, 2008, 01:18 PM
 
45/47
     
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Feb 12, 2008, 02:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
I realise it's not politically correct, but I really don't think women should be allowed to vote. Not just because it's Hillary, but because their loyalties are almost always exclusively to their own gender first. There's no thought given to policies, character, or personality, it's always ‘girl power’ nonsense.

I can see some justification in blacks voting for a black candidate, despite the racist element, because in my opinion, there's still a case to be made for the black rights movement in America. With women, it's different. They're fully emancipated in virtually all important respects nowadays, gender is not a valid cause to vote for anybody, any more. If it weren't for millions upon millions of women who are only voting for Hillary because she's another woman, she wouldn't have a chance, at all.

Yeah, yeah, sexist pig, I know.
I'm not gonna call you a sexist, I have my own opinions that many would consider sexist.

I am going disagree with you though. A person should be able to vote for a someone for whatever reason they like.
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Feb 12, 2008, 02:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
Yeah, yeah, sexist pig, I know.
Nah... just ignorance. Lemme guess...you're a white male?
     
Chongo
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Feb 12, 2008, 02:39 PM
 
There a number of women when asked why they were voting for JFK, the response was "because he was handsome".
45/47
     
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Feb 12, 2008, 02:47 PM
 
red rocket: why do you think that women are attracted to a female candidate? Think about this for a little while, and I think you'll have your argument against what you wrote.
     
ApeInTheShell
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Feb 12, 2008, 11:27 PM
 
I think to assume people are voting for a candidate because of their race or sex is a bit too simple. Going by that logic if a black person votes for Obama than he should address the reparations issue first and foremost. White people are the bane of every black man's existence according to some groups and they should pay for their forefathers mistakes.
By the same token, women should vote for Hillary Clinton because only a woman could get us out of this war. There have been too many "men" leading the country the wrong direction. Anyone who attacks Hillary for her policies is just sexist.

Do you see where this is going? It is easy to say I am racist because I'm a white guy or sexist because I am a man. It is more fuel for the fire.
     
Chongo
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:11 AM
 
The Associated Press: Rendell: Race Factor Could Hurt Obama
Gov. Ed Rendell is a Clinton supporter
DRUDGE REPORT 2008®
In the Chesapeake Rout, according to exit polls in Maryland, Obama won:
Latino Voters By Six Points: 53-47
All Religions (Including Catholics)
All Age Groups (Including Seniors)
All Regions
All Education Levels
And Women by TWENTY ONE POINTS...
45/47
     
red rocket
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Feb 13, 2008, 06:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
red rocket: why do you think that women are attracted to a female candidate? Think about this for a little while, and I think you'll have your argument against what you wrote.
I'm especially dense today, why don't you enlighten me?
     
subego
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Feb 13, 2008, 08:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
Yeah, yeah, sexist pig, I know.

When you're a troll, all women look to be trollops.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Feb 13, 2008, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by red rocket View Post
I'm especially dense today, why don't you enlighten me?
Maybe they coalesce around a woman because they feel that a man isn't representing them? Maybe they feel like they are being ignored?

Instead of just blowing this off as some strange problem of theirs, maybe we should consider the possibility that there might be something there? For instance, look at Bush's "I do not talk to terrorists" tough guy attitude. Look at who it panders to (testosterone fueled men). Would this be the same if a woman was president?
     
Chongo
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Feb 13, 2008, 11:46 AM
 
Sharpton pipes in on Mi and FL delagates
DRUDGE REPORT FLASH�
45/47
     
 
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