March 11th, 2008
03:00 PM ET

Enough already with the racial, gender divide in Democratic Party!


Roland S. Martin is a nationally syndicated columnist, Chicago-based radio host, and frequent contributor to the AC360° Blog.

A lot of athletes have made a number of dumb comments, and among those were the racial assertions made by Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman in 1987 about Larry Bird.

In an effort to discredit the Boston Celtics star, Thomas and Rodman said that if Bird was black, he would be just an average basketball player. Both of them were roundly slapped around, because whether you couldn’t stand the Boston Celtics – count me in! – Bird had game, and anybody who played against him knew that he was one of the game’s best. That’s why he’s a pro basketball Hall of Famer and a member of the NBA’s top 50 ever cast of players.

The Thomas-Rodman-Bird flap came to when I heard about the recent comments made by former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

The 72-year-old former congresswoman has spent a lot of time running her mouth this campaign season, and now she has unleashed another barrage of comments, fanning the flames of the hot button issues of race and gender.

In an interview with the the Torrance Daily Breeze, Ferraro said that if Sen. Barack Obama wasn’t black, there’s no chance in hell he would be leading the Democratic race for president.

“‘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.”

This is the second time Ferraro has tried to drive her nonsensical gender vs. race agenda into our minds, and it’s time that we say enough to all the back and forth over race and gender.

Look, America has a racist and sexist history. Women have been treated horribly in this nation, having to fight for respect, whether it’s the right to vote or equal wages for equal work. And we know the horrors of slavery, and the laws that subjected African Americans to second-class status during the decades of Jim Crow.

Women and African Americans have been treated horribly. Can we cut the crap over who suffered more?

A white woman like Ferraro, who has gone through a lot of hell over her 72 years, knows what it’s like to be a woman in a power position. But I’m sure there are many black male politicians who know what it’s like to be a black man trying to climb the political ladder. She has no understanding of that – nor of a black woman running for high office – so how does she know how “easy” it is?

So Geraldine, give it up.

Let the rest of us see two talented politicians who have earned their way to this position, without your efforts to pit women against men and black against white.

– Roland S. Martin, 360° Contributor


Filed under: Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Lori

    Way to go Geraldine! Its time someone said what most americans believe. If Obama gets the nomination, I have only heard once in the last few months how many of us will vote republican. It is not just because he is black (american not african american) but because he just simply has a smooth voice and not the experience required.

    I am an american (not a european american)

    March 11, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  2. Sarah

    I am frustrated by the immense amount of references to race during this presidential campaign. White people get so upset and defensive when minorities pull the so called "race card", yet the minute someone of color achieves something to which they felt entitled, all of a sudden they bring up race as a factor! It's racism in its 21st century mask. Barack has not been successful solely because of the Black vote, he has been successful in his senate election as well as his presidential campaign because of the American vote. It is insulting for the media to start talking about his race every time he wins a state. The Clinton administration should be ashamed of themselves for associating with tasteless individuals like Geraldine Ferraro.

    March 11, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  3. Nicole, IL

    Three points here....

    First, blacks are absolutely voting for Obama because he is black; however, it's because he's qualified first and HALF black second. He is the first black man (that we can relate to) to be presented by the main stream media and accepted by white america. Barack Obama represents hope to us. The promise of acceptance that has been so long denied. The qualifications needed to become president are not lost on us and we take, very seriously, any person vying for our vote. But think about what this means to us and to our children. We are ABSOLUTELY voting for him on the basis of race, but that comes secondary to our understanding and perception of the man that he is and what he WILL DO for both the country and the world. (Notice we did not have a president Jesse Jackson...)

    Second, there is a lot of irony in Ferraro's statements given her own personal benefits from her not so subtle attack on affirmative action. Additionally, the Ohio exit polls showed (of those that answered honestly) that race effected the votes of 20% of the voters and that of those 20% to whom race mattered, 80% voted for Hillary Clinton. So aren't white voters also voting on the basis of race. The fact that it is not as pronounced as the similar trend in the black community is merely a reflection of the fact that they have a much higher population than we do, so this trend is not as obvious amongst white voters.

    Lastly, in her statements, isn't Ms. Ferroro trying to, in a subtle way, tell white people that it's okay to be racist? After all, he's only getting this attention because he's black ! Just some food for thought....

    March 11, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  4. pat del

    I do not like the division you are creating Roland. It is not good for the party or the nation. It is just an excuse for no substance. I talkto a lot of people in Mississippi and they would vote for Hillary if she wins in August. They voted for Obama for a sense of pride.

    Obama has difficulty bringing in the white vote. Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Kentuckey will go to Clinton. Obama will have a difficult time getting delegates to back him up if he can't get the white vote.

    March 11, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  5. donna

    Obama has been using the race card since this election started. They undercut President Clinton of all people. It is a fact that the Clinton's have always been supporters of the African american community and championed their causes. For the black population to twist his words is hurtful. Obama's top campaign worker acutally worked for President Clinton. I dare say that many of Obama's campaign workers came from his presidency. What about some integrity on this issue? It's one thing to support Obama, it's quite another to denegrate people who both love and have always worked for the African americans.

    It is a fact that Obama is carrying 80 to 90% of the black vote. That is not a racist statement. It is true. It is also true that this is the reason that he wins the most delegates in the states that have this delegation spread in the big cities where the population is heavily black. This is a fact.

    I hope after this election is over that the Democratic National Party will do away with this absurd delegate proportionment and change to a system where winner takes all. I, quite frankly, had no idea our election system worked this way until now. Shame on me. I promise I will be contacting the Democratic Party and rallying for a change.

    Thank you.

    March 11, 2008 at 10:24 pm |