Alex Blaze

Sometimes I think about how everything is just handed to Black people and I want to vote for Clinton

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 10, 2008 8:32 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Geraldine Ferarro, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Patricia Williams, race, racism, sexism

From Clinton finance committee member and former VP candidate Geraldine Ferarro:

If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.

And if Obama were gay, he wouldn't be in this position. And if he were a transman, he wouldn't be in this position. And if he were seropositive, he wouldn't be in this position. And if he were actually Muslim, he wouldn't be in this position. And if he were in a pederastic relationship with a law school student, he wouldn't be in this position. And if he were working class, he wouldn't be in this position. And if he were....

While her comments are ridiculous, I hope, to most Americans (well, maybe not Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan), there is a segment of the American population that actually thinks that Black people have it easier than white people. This is what the Republicans' Southern Strategy and Reagan's attacks on affirmative action and welfare queens were tapping into. This is the stuff political movements have been made of, and Ferarro isn't too dumb not to know what she's talking about.

As Dana Houle puts it:

The fact is, there are a lot of White people in American who believe they're at a disadvantage, that Blacks get things handed to them. The idea may be foreign to some people, but I've heard it my entire life. I've heard it at family gatherings, in my neighborhood when I was a kid, from family friends and all kinds of other folks. It's not a fringe belief. It's at the heart of the belief system of the so-called Reagan Democrats--swing voters and even some Democrats who were cradle Democrats but defected to Reagan and have been up for grabs in most elections since 1992.

Some of these Reagan Democrats will hear Ferraro's comment, and they'll think about the job they didn't get because, they believe, it went to an affirmative action hire. They'll think about the guy promoted over them because, they believe, he's black. And they'll think "here we go again."

Indeed. If Ferarro were just plugging right back into the "suffering Olympics" narrative that the mainstream punditry is obsessed with, trying to prove who has it worse of two oppressed demographics, no attention paid to intersectionality, class, or contextuality, then we'd be confronting privilege, in much the same way that a queer liberation politic devoid of intersectionality, class analysis, or a contextualization of oppression tends to come from a privileged sector of the LGBTQ community.

That'd be one thing, and she is doing that one thing. And to that Patricia Williams says in The Nation:

There is no profit in styling a competition of oppression. One ubiquitous subtext of the black man-trumps-white-woman calculus is that it's easier to be a black man than it is to be a white woman or, even more reductively, that sexism is worse than racism. It works alongside right-wing claims that racism isn't a problem anymore. That in turn fuels the not-so-coded diminishments asserting that Obama is getting "preferential" treatment in the media; that he's simultaneously "entitled" and "elite" yet "unqualified" and "not ready."

But Ferarro takes it one step further with the comparison to a hypothetical white, male Obama. It's not something that I haven't heard from some Clinton supporters, that white people are voting for Obama because they're enthralled with the idea of a Black president, implying that racism is over and that Obama the Unqualified-for-the-Job is getting a free ride because of his race. It's a tired reverse racism argument.

And how's that any different from a white coworker I once knew who complained about how Blacks are taking all the good jobs from better qualified white people because of Affirmative Action?

With multiple narratives of stereotypes and oppression, with their being malleable and intersectable, and with the systemic racism that still plagues this country, saying quite flatly that a white, male version of Obama would have already lost is laughable. (And would a white version of Obama, therefore, have all his same experiences and characteristics because we all know that racism is over?)

Yes, Ms. Ferarro, white privilege still exists. And I can say that and recognize that the Daily Breeze article's title, "Geraldine Ferarro lets her emotions do the talking," is quite unfortunately sexist.


This isn't an attack on Hillary Clinton, she didn't articulate these sentiments, so please save the "Clinton's the coolest and she didn't make those remarks and you're a douche, Alex" comments. But I am waiting for a reaction since Ferarro is officially associated with the campaign. After all, Samantha Powers resigned for calling Clinton a "monster" in the British press.

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Daily Kos has some insights on this latest racist remark coming from a top Clinton campaign surrogate, fund raiser, and finance committee member:

You can contact Ferraro at :

[email protected]

and her employers:

One assumes Hillary will "denounce" AND "reject" Ferraro very soon.

someone had to resign for calling hillary a monster? was she white? ridiculous question, of course. all of the racist sexist hetero-sexist nonsense is ridiculous. but it still exists.

if you had to judge her from the comment, i would have to say that geraldine ferraro is a buffoon. fortunately, i don't have to judge her. history will be the final judge for all of those who support ignorance. and people aren't looking back on george wallace as if he were a visionary.

You mean george wallace wasn't a visionary???

It is sad that someone would say such a thing, but then, I have in the past lost out on jobs due to affirmative action.

The state of Texas used to have a program called the Merit system, for hiring and promotion. The system gave extra "points" for being a woman or minority. That being the case, all else being equal, a minority would get hired over a white male for a position. The system was ended in the late 70's or early 80's because it was deemed reverse discrimination.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 11, 2008 4:21 AM

I can add to diddlygrl's observations that I finished an Masters program in radio-TV production just as the Federal Communications Commission mandated that radio and television stations had "to reflect the ethnic balance of their community" in one fell swoop I was unemployable after interviewing in five Midwestern states for a menial starting position of cameraman.

I had taught Radio-TV production on the college level, been broadcast on the university public TV station and was asked during an interview for a job in Ft Wayne if there "were any promising Black students I could recommend." I could not believe that this had happened arbitrarily to me after a BA and Masters degree in the field, but I was less employable than an African American with high school and was told so in no uncertain terms. The fact that radio-TV stations had been lily white until this time meant that most all multi ethnic markets were closed to me and the remainder were in markets so small and remote being Gay in the 1970's would have been a further oppression.

I did what I could to survive financially for the year and a half that followed while I fought a real sense of depression and failure. Then it occurred to me: "This must be how a minority must have felt all those years that nothing was possible for them because of their skin color." I started and built my own company and sold it successfully at age 49 to retire early. IF I HAD NOT BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 11, 2008 7:25 AM

As the Clinton and Obama camps duke it out for the nomination the tempo of ’race’ baiting and muslim baiting by the Clinton campaign has picked up speed since Bill Clinton started it a few weeks ago.

Now Ferraro’s openly appealing to racist sentiments with the silly suggestion that Obama is repressing whites and women because he has more delegates. Ferraro's right about Obama being lucky, but it’s not because of his African American heritage. Obama’s lucky because people know much more about the Clintons and their heritage – DOMA, DADT, NAFTA, her ardent support for the genocidal war, her union busting history with Wal-Mart and NAFTA and the mean spirited attacks on people on welfare, Medicare and unemployment.

The Clintons heritage destroyed the Democrats. In 1992 they controlled the White House, most state governors and both Houses of Congress. Because of the unpopularity of the Clintons’ policies, and his fondness for backstabbing everyone in sight, the Democrats were routed. They lost the Congress, all but a third of the governorships and the White House in 2000 and 2004.

The real truth is that there are few substantial differences between Obama, Clinton and McClain on the main questions that face the GLBT communities. That aside, we should all condemn the use of race and muslim baiting in the campaign as roundly as we condemn the routine pandering to gay bashers by Clinton and Obama. The Republicans, cued by the Clinton campaign, are already polling to see how far they can go and as we know from the murders last month, when bigotry of any kind is injected into election year politics people get killed.

Pam Spaulding weighs in on this and other Clinton campaign insanity with an excellent post :

"I know there are a lot of white people who believe that blacks have some kind of advantage (and I hear from them on occasion, for those willing to step on the third rail), but somehow these folks choose not to see the incredible mountain of institutional and social white privilege that exists. The denial is deep; I mean really, would these folks like to trade places, to wake up and live as a black person for a month to put these perceived advantages in daily life to a test? To make it more interesting in this "post-racial world," have them live in a town with few minorities, perhaps one of those classic Reagan Democrat towns..."

( "Has the Clinton team gone stark raving mad?" )

...would these folks like to trade places, to wake up and live as a black person for a month to put these perceived advantages in daily life to a test?

No shit. Idiots.

'Everything's handed to Black people.'

I roll my eyes and snort with disgust everytime I hear that tired crap. If that's the case, where is this mythical federal agency or place that I can stand in line and receive my three bedroom house with two car garage in the exurbs, the $35,000 car, a six figure salary, and a fabulous fast track job that leads to a CEO position?

Anyone wanna walk in my pumps for a week? A month? A year? A decade? For the rest of your life?

In the 1992 Andrew Hacker book Two Nations, Hacker recounts an exercise done with college students in which they were told that a mistake was made at birth and they would now become Black. They would be compensated for this and were asked to come up with a monetary figure for their lost whiteness.

What was the consensus? The value that they placed on their lost whiteness was $50 million, or $1 million for every coming year they would live as a Black person.

As I've said over and over, the color line predates the founding of this nation. I'm getting sick of the race baiting coming from the Clinton campaign that started when they tried in South Carolina to link Obama with Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and his two runs at the presidency

The fallout over Ferraro's racist remarks has begun. The Obama campaign has denounced Ferraro's comments :

Several political blogs are weighing in :

And the right wing National Review is celebrating :

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on "Hillary Clinton's Spitzer
Problem " :

It seems that sometimes when it rains it does indeed pour. But then also, I believe one does ultimately reap what one has sown.

Sleep with dogs, wake up with fleas. I have always held the opinion that Hillary needs someone to scratch behind her ears. No doubt she is feeling that itch right about now. The real question is, who gave who the fleas to begin with?

Michael Bedwell | March 11, 2008 2:22 PM

When did Costco open stores in France? One hopes you're not having to import your industrial size boxes of “Racist!” labels from the US but you always seem to have plenty to throw around.

How are Ferraro's remarks "ridiculous"? Simply because you think they are? How are they racist? Simply because you think they are? Why didn't you also accuse her of being "sexist" for saying that Obama wouldn't be in the position he now is if he were a woman? Just not as popular an easy slur this year, I guess. Maybe if Costco marked those labels down....

“Barack Obama would not be leading the Democratic presidential race without the enthusiasm and high turnout of black voters. They spearheaded his comeback win in South Carolina, where Obama trounced Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards with the backing of four out of every five black voters. They provided his margin of victory in many other states, and will play a key role in Tuesday's primary in Mississippi, where Clinton is the underdog.” - By Charles Babington, Associated Press, Sunday, March 9, 2008

Unless someone can prove otherwise, we have no reason to believe that Mr. Babington has an official connection to Sen. Clinton’s campaign, but we assume he's now added to your ipso facto Ridiculous Racist Hit List.

By your calculation then we assume black lesbian Bilerico contributor Irene Monroe is a ridiculous racist for having written way back in October:

“In the highly competitive race for black evangelical votes in South Carolina, McClurkin just might give Obama the needed edge. However, that edge will come at a cost far greater than having McClurkin at his side. It comes at revealing how Obama is not only a vote-whore, but a race-card user as well. The Obama/McClurkin alliance introduces Obama to McClurkin’s black and white Southern evangelical base, which thinks Obama is neither Christian nor black enough.”

Have you written gay black author David Ehrenstein yet to inform him he’s also been awarded the Ridiculous Racist Prize for his “Los Angeles Times” essay, “Obama the 'Magic Negro'”?

“For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real [Obama] seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.,0,5335087.story?coll=la-opinion-center

When does black civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis get his Ridiculous Racist Prize for saying that Obama is “no Martin Luther King”? While having switched his support to Obama after learning whom he supported was going to be made an issue in his reelection campaign this year, maybe he’ll get a special version of your award for his denouncing those who’ve accused the Clintons of being racist and the Obama campaign for creating that impression.

When does black Congressman Charlie Rangel get his Ridiculous Race Prize for saying that Obama was “absolutely stupid” for suggesting that Sen. Clinton was racist, and that “How race got into this thing is because Obama said ‘race,’”?

Will you be having a Ridiculous Racist awards dinner? Who’s your after-dinner entertainer—Donnie McClurkin? Wait...that would be...ridiculous.

"Clinton surrogates have said some really stupid racial things , so hearing it again , did not surprise me. But what really shocked me was that it was you of all people. You(Ferraro) have demonstrated the most hypocrisy in your attack against Barack Obama...

If you really want to talk about someone who would not be where they are today if it had not been for them having something that they have no control over , you have no where else to look but at your own candidate. That's right. Look at Hillary Clinton. She would not still be in this race and "you know what I'm talking about"."

From "Dear Geraldine A Ferraro : Diary Of A Mad "Black" "Woman" " :

Actually, Alex, I won a gold medal at the oppression olympics. It goes nicely with my tiarra.

How are Ferraro's remarks "ridiculous"? Simply because you think they are? How are they racist? Simply because you think they are?

Of course, you're right, Michael. There is no reality, there's no way of knowing if something is racist or not racist, whether it exists or not for that matter. How can I dare have an opinion on something considering the fact that I haven't taken a poll of all 6 billion people on the planet to see if they all agree? Oh, wait, that's not enough - there is no knowing, and no not knowing, for anyone.

It all becomes really simple once we join Michael Bedwell in looking into the abyss, seeing that the space between us, others, and reality is just that, a nothingness, one so wide that it can't ever truly be bridged. Once we accept that, then we know that not knowing, or, rather, the space between knowing and not knowing, is the only space where we can be at peace with the pseudo-reality that surrounds us.

Oh, and Rangel was referring to something else entirely, Clinton didn't make these comments so calm down Mary, I said why I thought the comments carried racial baggage in like 10 paragraphs in the post if you bothered to read it, we all know you keep on bringing up that Ehrenstein quotation much like Rush does not because you want to engage his thoughts on racial narratives but because you just like using the phrase "magic negro," my "calculation" doesn't relate at all to what the Rev said there so I'm thinking you didn't read the post, and, the big one, white privilege exists.

Serena~ You need to put that in your profile! I didn't know we had a gold medalist among us!

I think now a days the issue of race is less of a burden than it was in the past, though it is still not equal by any means. White and male privledge are still alive and kicking, and will be for some time, especially male privledge. Them guys are still going to try to lord it over women no matter what color they may be.

My post was just pointing out that, in the past, in trying to make up for one form of discrimination, another was instituted. I can understand, though I do not agree, where some people would get the idea that minorities have things handed to them. A friend of mine, who works for a university, is a believer in the idea that minorities in general, are given special treatment. I tried to argue the point with him, since I have seen things from a different perspective after transitioning, but the most I could get him to admit was that perhaps things were different than how he saw them in the wider world.

So where are these oppresion olympics held? As a transwoman and lesbian I think I could hold my on in them.

Obama's comment :

“I don’t think that Geraldine Ferraro’s comments have any place in our politics or the Democratic Party,” Obama said in an interview today with The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., after a campaign event in Bucks County. “I think they were divisive.

“I think that anybody who understands the history of this country knows they are patently absurd,’’ Obama added. “I would expect that the same way those comments don’t have a place in my campaign, they shouldn’t have a place in Sen. Clinton’s.”

And Ferraro's response :

"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up," Ferraro said. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

Yes, How's That ????

Michael Bedwell | March 11, 2008 7:25 PM

"we all know"....there you go again.

Obama carried all the black voters in Wyoming, too. All six of them. This primary election isn't about race, Michael. It is about wanting a change from "business as usual" politics. Americans are sick of it - and it is showing at the voting polls.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 12, 2008 6:36 AM

I believe it should be said as a matter of form that McCain = Republican Status Quo
Clinton = Democratic Status Quo
Obama = Change and eloquence plus independence from K street lobbies.

The reason established politicos in the Democratic party are, even still, frustrated by Obama's success is that the vast majority of the delegate count he has obtained came from states that went Republican Red in 2004. They fear the Obama revolution might make John McCain the next president.