Friday, May 16, 2008

Race and Gender? let's talk about it.

The media discussion about the role of race and gender is almost hopelessly naive and misguided. By any reasonable measure the Democratic primary process has blown completely out of the water the notion that race or gender bias are key driving forces in our society. They are *factors* but they are no longer major factors.

Lost in much of the debate is the fact that relating to a candidate on the basis of race or gender is NOT an indication of prejudice. I was glad to see two high level insiders on Bill Moyers tonight essentially agreeing that the WV vote for Clinton was not so much about race as it was about relating to the candidates. Obama as a northern bright and dynamic guy would have lost regardless of race. Perhaps a small percentage is a "racist" vote, but the fact he's the presumptive nominee of the party and the national frontrunner really should give pause to the many who think the national dialog remains too racially or gender biased for clarity. On the contrary I worry that we are now at risk for making too many topics off-limits because they will be unfairly labelled as "code" for race or gender issues that should not be discussed.

So the news is good - America is a more open minded society than many have suggested. Let's honor this and stop trying to take so many topics off limits. Talking about gender and race - rather than stifling debates and questions - is the best way to honor the national diversity we all enjoy in this country.RR

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