Geraldine Ferraro Race Baits For Hill

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This is sad on so many levels. Here's Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984 and Hillary supporter on Obama's campaign:

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "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." Ferraro does not buy the notion of Obama as the great reconciler.

As we watch the Clinton campaign slowly break under the unrelenting pressure of the math, as it becomes apparent that they can't win this thing, I'm starting to get past anger at this sort of thing. I was  eight years old when Ferarro ran with Mondale. That was the year my pops voted for Jesse Jackson for the first time. My concerns were--in particular order--Transformers, the Dalls Cowboys, and weird insects. Still I was worldly enough to know--in some sort of vague way--that what Ferarro was doing was historic. Plus I was naive enough to think that her and Mondale might actually win. When they lost I knew, again vaguely, that it was bad news for kids like me. I had some sense, not just that a Mondale administration would be more favorable to my kind, but that a country that would elect a woman as VP, was likely to be a country that was open to whatever aspirations I held.

Now here we are, almost a quarter century later, and it's all been reduced to this. We are starting to see that maybe we aren't in it together. Let me restate that--we are all still in it together. But I think for women of a certain age, who lived under an insidious institutionalized sexism, who had some sense that no matter what they did, on some level, they'd be a piece of meat, the idea of coming this far and being denied is heartbreaking. I sense that this is less so for younger women, who have more time, and who've come up in a much more complex world. That's my sympathetic read.

Here is my unsympathetic read. Hillary's white feminist backers do not get it. This isn't a fair competition. They aren't playing on their home-court. The refs AREN'T on their side, and in some cases--yup--the refs might even be against them. But that's the game they've chosen. Jackie Robinson could not fight every call. Joe Louis couldn't celebrate every time he knocked out an opponent. These cats had to be, as the cliche goes, twice as good. They had to compete on a level as to remove all doubt, because they knew if it went to the judges they would loose.

There is a reason why you virtually never hear Obama going around bragging about becoming the first black president. He ain't balling on his home court, and his supporters know it. This is why, despite only scant mentions of structural racism, Obama has still monopolized the black vote. We understand what it takes to win--that the world is not 125th Street or the South Side of Chicago. But I think that's a perspective that comes from being a minority, and being intelligent about the math. The sheer number of women voters out there have misled Hillary into thinking that this world is Weslyan. This is why her advisers go out and make stupid remarks like Ferarro's. Who does that comment appeal to? How many votes is that suppose to get her? This is exactly why she would get stomped in a general election. The specter of Clinton's supporters whining about sexism in a race against McCain makes me wince. I expect it would end just like the last campaign Ferraro was involved with.

As for Ferraro's point that a white man wouldn't be in Obama's position. I guess there's some truth to that. Sure there are people who like the idea of voting for a overachieving black guy. But as we've seen that there are many more who like voting for underachieving white guys like our current president.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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