Racial and Gender Reality in American Politics

By admin ~ August 29th, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

In recent years we have been fed the idea that “political correctness” is finally a way of life in America. Television, Hollywood, Internet and print media are all presenting this idea as fact. Ethnic entertainment stars and politicians are trotted out as examples of just how politically correct America has become. But, is the picture a true one? Will it apply this election year?

It was not so many years ago that there was a deeply seated notion that certain ethnic groups were incapable of the intelligence required to handle a political office. And, women were seen as emotionally incapable of making political decisions based on logic rather than emotion. It took government action and the U.S. Supreme Court to force America, kicking and screaming, to accept that “all men are created equal,” women as well. Yet, groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or K.K.K., while mostly underground these days, exist along with white supremacists.

If you believe historians, we in the North have always been more liberal toward minorities and women. We are now told that the South, while deeply rooted in the traditions of the past, is starting to admit that black people are worthy of being called human beings. And, that blacks have intelligent ideas and solutions for improving the areas in which they live. We are asked to believe, in general, the South now recognize the equality of all people as human beings, rather than being blinded by skin color or gender. I would argue that the opposite is really the truth.

Society, North or South, still has much work to do in regards to eradicating racism and gender and religious bias. On the surface it appears there have been major strides in the political arena. This year even sees a black presidential candidate and a white female presidential candidate. While the polls show each has a strong chance of becoming President, the election is many months away. The issues of race and gender will play key roles in political campaigns behind the scenes. Campaign workers will capitalize on racial and gender bias when contacting voters. They will do this in positive and negative ways depending upon the voting group being contacted.

For the most part, it’s true that black people and women are no longer considered to be property. Blacks are no longer forced to walk behind white people in a neighborhood, no longer forced to ride in the back of a bus, nor drink from a separate fountain or use separate lavatory facilities. However, black people are treated largely as equal to white people because it’s the law of the land. Americans were forced, by law, to give women and blacks the right to vote, for example. They could no longer be denied the rights enjoyed by most Americans for decades. The right to vote has given minorities and women tremendous power.

Many minorities and women today are becoming the heads of major corporations; many are now earning salaries equal to, if not higher, than their white counterparts, some rising to the top of their profession at an equally fast rate. This is a major step in the right direction to reduce racism and gender bias but, again, under the force of law. In addition, there are minorities and women in offices of political power across the country thanks, largely, to the right-to-vote laws.

Minorities and women are slowly starting to take positions as politicians at the federal, state, and local levels. This is a major step forward, and a sure sign that, with time, racial and gender bias will be beaten.

Some advancement is due to open minds, people who truly look past color, religion, and gender. You will find them in pockets of liberalism around the nation. Where a minority or a woman is elected, there you will find open minds, people who vote on where the candidates stand on issues. The exception, if there is one, is where the candidate represents a district that is largely populated by voters of a background similar to the candidate.

In the South, there is still the Ku Klux Klan operating. Although they are significantly weaker than was the case 100, 50, or even 20 years ago, they continue to work behind the scenes to deny blacks their rightful place in America. Such groups and organizations impede progress, clinging to their hate and ignorance. But, despite their attempts blacks are making a name for themselves, and proving they are as capable of political talent as anyone else in the country. While this progress is largely because of the force of voting rights laws, we should be encouraged. With the advancements that have been forced in the last few decades, it’s possible we may see a President who is a minority or female in this generation.

Will it be in Election 2008? I do not believe so.

My reasoning for this pessimism is simple: What we see publicly portrayed in Media, this idea that America is now politically correct, is not reality. Test this for yourself by raising this subject with someone. I doubt they will admit they are racially or gender biased. Most likely they will say positive things to your face but will vote just the opposite. While this is the reality in America, it is our right to vote our choices regardless of how misguided such thinking is.

Only time will tell if we truly are an open-minded society, judging a person by their words and actions and not by their religion, race, or gender. After all, there are intelligent and ignorant people of every religion, race, and gender, right? There are intelligent and ignorant men and women, Christians and Jews and agnostics and atheists, right? None of the labels mean a thing in a truly democratic society. Above all countries, they shouldn’t matter in America.

Jim DeSantis

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