Race or Gender?
A couple of weeks ago author Steven Barnes posted this on his blog:
I had a conversation with a friend on racial and gender issues. The question came up of whether Hillary or Barack had the best electability. It was her contention that white men would rather vote for a black man than a white woman. I kind of agreed… But the question presents itself: which causes more social and life problems, race, or gender? I don’t know (although I have opinions) but I have a suggestion for anyone who wants to know. By the way, I haven’t performed this experiment, so this isn’t a trick. Here we go: choose an arbitrary number large enough to provide some kind of statistical reality, say a minimum of 10 or 20. The next 10 or 20 black women you have any kind of real interaction with, ask THEM which has been more of a hinderance in life: race or gender. Which has caused more discomfort, and in which have they experienced more prejudice?
At least 10 women of color read this blog, so I’m sure we could gather some interesting data here.
For my part, I have to say that I have experienced more direct/obvious prejudice or people attempting to hinder me due to my gender than due to my race. This is, of course, based on my own awareness. There may have been more times when my race was a factor for others and I just didn’t know.
All of the times I’ve perceived myself to be in physical danger, it was due to my gender. No one has ever threatened to rape me because I am black. Any time I’ve encountered a person who thought I wasn’t very smart, I was pretty sure they assumed that because I am a girl. Men often try to pull their patriarchal control games on me because they feel they can intimidate me/push me around because I’m a woman. No one has ever said, “It must be that time of the month” to me because I’m black.
Ever since I started this blog I’ve had more strangers getting up in my face because of race than I ever have in my life. But I we’re talking random interactions in the real world, I have definitely felt my gender more than I’ve felt my race.
There are several reasons why this could be. One of them being that white people perceive me as a ‘safe’ black person because I have light skin, speak ‘properly’, and have interest in things that white people can relate to (science fiction being one). But, again, may be missing a lot concerning people’s true motivations and thoughts about me.
What do others think?