Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Historical Pattern?

Found the link to this transcript over at And We Shall March ("Black. Geek. And Fine With That"), and it's excellent. So I am [ganking it from her] and offering it to you here. Who keeps you supplied, kids?* I do. Gloria Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

*bonus points if you answered "Sho Nuff!"

Like Pam, I'm going to offer you a taste to get you intrigued:

Melissa Harris-Lacewell: Well, again, you know, this is a bizarre reading of history, this notion of sort of African American men somehow standing over and above white women. I’m just not sure exactly what history is being claimed here, particularly in electoral history. We know that there are far more white women in both the House of Representatives and in the US Senate than there are African Americans, either men or women. So it’s an odd sort of claim to make that Barack Obama’s gender is this kind of clear straight line.

What I do agree with is that we ought to be in coalition. But I think we’ve got to be in coalition on fair grounds. Part of what, again, has been sort of an anxiety for African American women feminists like myself is that we’re often asked to join up with white women’s feminism, but only on their own terms, as long as we sort of remain silent about the ways in which our gender, our class, our sexual identity doesn’t intersect, as long as we can be quiet about those things and join onto a single agenda. So, yes, I absolutely agree, we must be in coalition, but it must be a fair coalition of equals.

And it’s one of the things that’s exciting about Barack Obama’s campaign, working on it in New Hampshire, seeing it at work in Iowa, being a part of meetings here in New Jersey, is in fact that you cannot pick what an Obama supporter looks like. Obama supporters are young and old, black and white, male and female. And it is, in fact, the most sort of nurturing and coalition-building space I’ve ever had an opportunity to do political work in.

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