This article in the Atlantic, “The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” is generating a lot of interest around the internets. The story Jesse Jackson relates to the author about being denied entry and borrowing privileges from a PUBLIC library is heartbreaking. Over at Crawdad, miq’s response points out two very important facts: personal histories about blatant racism in the USA are almost all 40-50 years old; and for the black women interviewed, SEXISM seems at least as likely as racism to be the cause of the discrimination they faced, especially Dr. Lubiano, a very smart high school student who was advised by her guidance counselor to go to secretarial school instead of college.
Sound familiar? Actually Dr. Lubiano’s story sounded REALLY REALLY familiar. It sounds exactly like every story I have ever heard from every single woman I know, no matter how old or young, rich or poor, fat or skinny, lesbian or straight, black white yellow or red. For women over 60, the stories usually focus on denial of education and careers as well as the burden of too many darn children. For those in the 45-60 year range the sexism stories are about being assumed too ignorant, weak, stupid to succeed, about being burdened with full time jobs and full time parenting. And the young women talk about math teachers who describe smart boys as “brilliant” and smart girls as “pluggers;” about elementary school teachers who accept unruly behavior from boys as “natural” but call in the school psychologist if any girl gets a little too exuberant.
And the stories every woman can tell about her own mother and grandmothers are usually even more horrible and heartfelt.
Not to even mention the endless, continuous, major and minor sexual assault. Gropes, whistles, slaps, rapes, punches, kicks, choke-holds; everything from some creep flashing a girl on the subway to kidnappings that end in rape, torture, mutilation and death.
So, what’s the most sexist thing that ever happened to you? Or even, what’s the MOST RECENT sexist thing that’s happened to you?
Oh, and Mad Men is apparently the best fuckin television show ever invented anywhere for all time again. Nah, no sexism to see here, move along.