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Why is racism worse that sexism?

(116 Posts)
BuffytheElfSquisher Thu 12-Dec-13 13:23:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

youretoastmildred Thu 02-Jan-14 00:10:40

I have been wondering a thing about racism and sexism and I would like to talk it through. I am white btw and apologies in advance if this is clueless about race. happy to hear about it if so, if you have time or energy for this.

I have a feeling that sexism in this country (UK) is more similar to racism in the US than racism in the UK. Racist rhetoric here is often built around a notion of "go away"; the "problem" (I do not suggest there is a problem, I mean the implied problem), as implicitly or explicitly framed, is that a bunch of people moved to here when they belong there. I know this is rubbish; and in fact disingenuous for a million reasons; but this is the language that is used.
I think this is to do with the fact that the work that people of colour have done for the UK, under exploitative conditions, has to many people here been out of sight. The UK grew rich on black labour without the inconvenience of having to see it. People here who are used to having servants are used to having mostly white servants. And most people have forgotten servants as a way of life; however most men are still pretty used to male privilege and the comfort and convenience that is accorded to them of having free access to women's labour.

On the other hand, in the US, if you are white and of a certain age, having people of colour in your house, doing your dirty work, whether as slaves or a different sort of underclass, has been part of folk memory for generations. There is a rage therefore against "displaced" people of colour not as being in the "wrong" country, but in the "wrong" social position - as a judge, or doctor, or sitting on your commuter train in a suit - and this rage is partly about "who is going to do my shit work?" It's not "I don't want them here," it's about, "they'd better be here, in my house, wearing overalls or an apron. If they are doctors now, who is going to cut my grass and clean my bathroom? Not ME?"

this to me is what sexism is. Men are used to sharing their houses with women, they are not alien in that sense; but they must be constrained to very particular roles, not just because they "don't belong" in the "wrong" place, but very very sharply and particularly because if they are there they can't be here, doing my shit.

Notes, criticisms, other thoughts, from people who know more than me about race or the US or anything else?

StickEmUpSideways Fri 20-Dec-13 16:59:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chunderella Thu 19-Dec-13 21:47:53

Stick that's bollocks.

The thing I don't like about the whole racism v sexism thing is that sometimes it seems to suggest that women are white and black people are men. I'm not suggesting OP is doing that, but that's how the discussion often gets framed. Whereas actually you have a great big massive number of people who get to enjoy the full delights of both, and when the issue of discrimination crops up they're expected to choose between their race and their sex too.

takingthathometomomma Sun 15-Dec-13 15:02:58

googlyeyes no one is claiming that any woman can't face sexism. or that sexism isn't an issue. As I've said many time in this thread, my issue with feminism is that, for many "women of colour", it feels like a white-women-only movement and fails to take the perspective of other cultures and races. By making sexism and racism into separate things that need to compete with each other, this thread has highlighted that issue exactly. Of course the OP has already stated many times that that wasn't her intention and her general point could have been worded differently, however the thread has now led to a discussion which shows the issues within "feminism".

googlyeyes Sun 15-Dec-13 14:53:44

Do ethnic minority women who come from privilege not also fare better in terms of prejudice than those from less privileged backgrounds?

Why is it only white western women who benefit from being wealthy and privileged? And conversely why can rich western women not face sexism? For example, historically aristocratic women in this country were treated as little more than chattels, who were told who to marry and then treated as little more than brood mares (reference Princess Di and her mother!)

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Sun 15-Dec-13 13:51:40

evil the individual trying to make their way in society with the inherited disadvantage from their parents

i can see what you are saying, but what about daughters growing up with single parent mother? or in a household where women are second class citizens in their own home? treated as such by their own family? subject to d violence etc.?

personally i think that every type of discrimination has its different features when compared with another, i do note that repeatedly discrimination against women is seen as lesser than other types.

takingthathometomomma Sun 15-Dec-13 13:21:04

Evil, you have worded what I was initially trying to say perfectly.

BillyBanter Sun 15-Dec-13 13:18:03

The history of both the isms and the battle against the isms have been organic and taken different journeys and so look different.

EvilRingahBitch Sun 15-Dec-13 13:15:32

I was just thinking about this yesterday. There is a strong case for saying that racism is "worse" than sexism and homophobia because it combines disadvantage for the individual trying to make their way in society with the inherited disadvantage from their parents. Women and homosexuals from the most privileged racial group only face half of this disadvantage, whereas women from a discriminated racial group get it in the neck three ways. This is particularly applicable to African Americans where the legacy from their ancestors involves unimaginable crimes, as opposed to "simple" economic and social disadvantage.

Doesn't make sexism or homophobia OK of course, and I would agree that, eg, sexist bullying in schools should be taken much more seriously.

Mary2010xx Sun 15-Dec-13 12:50:13

Just my work area, nothing gender related or religious. I give about 50 talks a year. I certainly would never tell anyone where to sit in my own case of course on any grounds at all. In fact I like to wach people taking seats and work out why they sit where and what makes them choose their position. There's a lot of interesting psychology about it. Some want to be at the back so they can be on their phones all day or sleep. Others choose friends they know. Some want to be in the front row appearing keen intending to ask a lot of questions (wanting to be teachers pet etc).

I do wish more women speakers put themselves out there in their areas of business.

googlyeyes Sun 15-Dec-13 12:34:09

Seems quite bizarre that sexist abuse is not seen as a hate crime.

I can't help the fact that I am female, and so to receive abuse specifically based on my gender should be treated in the same way as any other prejudice-based crime. It would be a strong signal to those who throw terms like 'bitch' and 'slut' around if the law was changed, telling them that society had 'officially' deemed such behaviour unacceptable.

takingthathometomomma Sun 15-Dec-13 11:02:49

Mary, can I ask what topic you give talks on? I wouldn't have thought that either would be acceptable, as the backlash from the suggestion for gender segregated university lectures has shown.

Mary2010xx Sun 15-Dec-13 10:54:06

For many it is just as bad. The comparison was used in the segregated seating issue. If I said at one of my talks blacks at the back, whites at the front I'd get shouted down, whereas if I had men at the front and women at the back many more people think that's okay.

CaptChaosGlitteryBaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 10:09:22

legally, can there even be a hate crime against a woman?

No. Hate crimes can be committed against people because of race or perceived race, religion or lack of faith, a person's sexual orientation, transgender, transsexual or transvestism, or disability, be that mental illness, physical disability or learning disability. Being a woman is not a protected characteristic.

According to this

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Sun 15-Dec-13 09:55:42

For example why can a man shout 'bitch' at a woman and it not be seen as a hate crime? exactly. legally, can there even be a hate crime against a woman?

CaptChaosGlitteryBaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 15:19:00

That's what happens when you get married, I am mrs his initial his surname.

Oh no it isn't! I am Mrs, my initial, my surname, the fact that DH and I share the same surname is because I chose to do so, he had a nice one, so it's now mine. I certainly don't want to have his first name as well, no one can spell it and it really wouldn't suit a woman! I might detest my first name, but that doesn't mean I'm going to use DH's instead! Ridiculous concept!

PenguinsDontEatStollen Sat 14-Dec-13 08:04:48

Where is the official proof you take on an initial? On my passport I am Penguins DontEat Stollen. Nothing in there with my husband's initial or forenames. Nor can I think of a single piece of official documentation where my husband's initial replaces mine.

Nor do you have to not get married if you don't like it. You can just, er, not change your name. That isn't automatic either. It isn't 'what happens when you get married'. You have to actively change your name. If you don't, what actually happens when you get married is....nothing.

Adding the man's initial is just an outmoded tradition of address. I wouldn't say it's the norm. It's not how my bank write to me (that's Mrs P and Mr X Stollen), it's not how nearly any official channels write to me. I can't think of a single instance where a letter to me alone would be Mrs X Stollen and not Mrs P Stollen. It's not how most of my friends address cards (they tend to write to 'The Stollen family'). I think, increasingly, it is becoming the norm only for an older generation.

I changed my surname when I married as I wanted my future family to all share a single family surname. But the older I get, the less easy I am about Mrs , and I've always objected to the idea that it is 'his' name.

StickEmUpSideways Sat 14-Dec-13 07:52:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

googlyeyes Sat 14-Dec-13 00:09:55

I'm grateful to OP for raising this question. One I read as asking more why sexism is not taken as seriously as racism in society rather than is sexism 'worse'.

I think it's a very valid question, and it's puzzled me for a long time. For example why can a man shout 'bitch' at a woman and it not be seen as a hate crime?

I can't see that examining this issue takes anything at all from those who experience racism.

FloraFox Fri 13-Dec-13 22:17:04

spork as I recall, the last time you raised this survey in a thread it turned out to not be quite as you presented it. Can you point to the survey that proves that white women earn more than all men except white men? Why is it okay to dismiss that white women earn less than Asian men because of self-employment?

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 13-Dec-13 17:51:36

Agree with Metebelis3 post at 17:04:35.

And with accusations of sexism dismissed casually.

As for envelops, I have to bury them deep in the recycling bin and stop myself thinking about it. If I think about it at all I get seriously pissed off and angry, more so because I know I'm not going to do anything about it, IYKWIM. I'm mind-controlling myself. hmm
And it makes me angry.

PenguinsDontEatStollen Fri 13-Dec-13 17:23:36

I would agree with that. When I was an employment lawyer, I would say that racist comments were pretty much game over on a discrimination case. However 'mild' the comment. Similarly 'mild' (and I am using the term in inverted commas intentionally because I am really not sure what to call it. I mean off-the-cuff, no violence, no direct threat) sexist comments could often easily be explained away as 'slightly old fashioned language' or 'nothing meant by it'. It wasn't a disaster to the defence the way a racist comment would be. Not good, but not a disaster.

BuffytheElfSquisher Fri 13-Dec-13 17:22:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 13-Dec-13 17:16:47

more crack has it spot on.

equal levels of discrimination (e.g. verbal, no threat of violence) are not dealt with equally across race/sex/disability/homosexuality

AngelaDaviesHair Fri 13-Dec-13 17:08:28

Buffy, stop apologising! No one's even angry with you.

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