There are reasons why racism seems far more virulent and ever-present. It's the same reason that most Americans likely believe that school shootings and violence in general are up rather than down sharply over the past couple of decades. It's what we see on the news each night, it's what people are talking about, and, when it does occur, its results are often more egregious than the alternative. You don't have to look very far to find a murder or other heinous crime that someone is trying to link to racism. There's a news item each night that will suggest some racial implication or motivation for some act of idiocy. On the otherhand, crimes usually aren't framed to have an intrinsic gender-based motive. A rape or an incident of domestic abuse is seen as an act against an individual rather than some larger attack on an entire gender. Frankly, I think this is a far saner way to view crime in general, but it would be just as legitimate as those who shriek racism to view every crime where a man attacks or harms a woman to be some sort of crazy hate crime based on sexism. Again, Stupid, but that's how it's often handled for race.
Because racism is viewed as being more heinous, people also have their radars up when it comes to detecting anything that can even smack of a racial angle. How many times now have we seen some idiotic Obama supporter express the dumbass idea that the only reason not to vote for him is because you're a racist or that the only reason he might not win the election is because of racism. Andrew Sullivan, who has become an asshole of the first degree lately, called the rumor that McCain might announce his VP pick last thursday as racist.
I just have to take a time out to expand a bit on Andrew Sullivan. I have no clue what the hell is wrong with the guy but he's completely lost his mind. Ever since he became an Obama supporter, he's been engaging in some of the most twisted muckraking I've ever seen. He's just shoveling the bullshit like there's no tomorrow. It's starting to make me wonder if supporting Obama is just a sign of brain damage.
Here's a couple examples:
- He crazily suggested that Palin's daughters were named after witches
- The claim that the VP announcement would deny a black man from making his case, blah blah blah.
- His continued insistence that Palin provide medical records to prove that she's not the grandmother of her son Trig as some crazyass Kossaks have claimed. This is even after the announcement of Bristol's pregnancy, which would have made it absolutely impossible that she also gave birth to Trig.
He's gone off the fucking deep end.
Anyway, back to the whole racism vs sexism thing. Since people pay attention more to anything that can be viewed as racist, we often see less explicit racism from people. If it is present, people make the effort to hide it. As someone said, the battle for race relations have, in general, moved from explicit actions and speech and into people's heads. Sexism, on the otherhand, since it receives less scrutiny and is seen to be less harmful, is still kicking about for fun. Hillary ran into it like a brick wall earlier this year and Sarah Palin is getting more than a taste of it now. You would never have seen editorials and news commentators making Black jokes about Obama on the air or in print if they wanted to keep their jobs, but I couldn't even begin to list the explicitly sexist crap that's out there right now. The funniest thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that because Palin is the republican VP pick, all of the misogyny is coming from self-avowed liberals. It's funny to go to Daily Kos and see them howling about Palin is irresponsible in accepting the VP nod when she has a young child. They're also ranting about things like why would she choose to have prenatal testing and lambasting her daughter for being pregnant as a teenager. It's pretty fantastic really. It makes me wish that the GoP had nominated a black candidate just so I could see how many fried chicken and watermelon allusions I would see or how many uses of the term House Nigger.
While I wouldn't be surprised to see some, I'm sure it would be lacking from the mainstream press though. That whole racism trumps sexism thing again. Still, I do have to wonder.