I hate writing more about American politics in such short time, but Gloria Steinem’s NY Times editorial has burned me up. However, I find it difficult to formulate a response. Quite simply, Steinem has done a great disservice pitting gender against class. Responding in the usual ways–pointing out historical realities –seems destined to provoke resentment and further divisiveness. Discussing the nexus of gender and race in the general construction of repression would just muddy the issue. Andrew and others are undeniably correct, that for better and for worse, gender was in play in New Hampshire. Some suggest race as well. Steinem’s argument, though, don’t correspond to how the candidates themselves have talked about these issues: female, black or brown. Moreover, they seem to contradict the spirit of social justice by asking us to weigh one form of prejudice more heavily than another.  Indeed, Steinem sounds more political than intellectual.

I can offer only one anecdote, given to me by my mother. She had been repeatedly tested as a child because her scores on intelligence tests put her above and beyond bright. Yet she was constantly discouraged to realizing her potential, even from within her own family.

Several times, when being tested, she overheard school officials say things such as:

Do you know what her name is? It’s Gonzalez.

I’ll let you decide where the emphasis belongs. I know personally that it is not as simple as picking gender over race, claiming one to be more privileged than the other. Nevertheless, it greatly underscored her journey as an Hispanic woman in American soceity.

Note: this was not my mother’s real maiden name, but because maiden names are often used for security identification, I felt it necessary to substitute another Hispanic name for her own.

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