No one ever wins comparing the suffering of two minority groups. Yet Hendrick “still getting over 2000” Hertzberg argues that black Americans have had a tougher time of it than women. As a white male, I’m sure that Hertzberg has a lot of insight into the plight of both groups.
I am white, so unlike Hertzberg, I won’t say what it’s like to be a black person in this country. I will say the statistics he cites in the piece are misleading, like that there are less black governors than lady governors. True! One problem: 50 percent of this country is female, while only 12 percent is black. And even if I did believe that public figures should mirror census figures, which Hertzberg seems to, women, not blacks, are the ones who are less represented by their politicians.
Again, there’s no sense in comparing and contrasting. But I will say this: In every culture and in every period, women have been treated as inferior to men. Gender is the first subjection. In present day New York, I can do things my grandmother couldn’t even dream of, but I still face small discriminations everywhere. And it’s these little things, which are understood and accepted among women, that Hertzberg could never know about.
Yes, women were never lynched, but we’ve been raped since the beginning of time. Even now, women are still valued for their looks and domesticity. Casual sexism is so commonplace that voting for Hillary Clinton on gender alone seemed absurd to many women. And the fact women have not overcome this barrier, and in fact, did not consider it a barrier worth overcoming, shows how far away we are from equality.