Racism Wanes and Sexism Thrives, Roland Burris and Caroline Kennedy Show

Guess which one endures.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Politico.com ran a story with an intriguing headline: " In Politics, Does Race Trump Gender?"

The story continued as follows:

How come Roland Burris has had such an easy time getting to the U.S. Senate while Caroline Kennedy has had such a hard time?

Could it be that the race card trumps the gender card in U.S. politics?

...

Once supporters of Roland Burris made his appointment to the Senate all about race, the deal was done, though it took a few days for Senate leaders to wake up to the fact.

At a news conference in Chicago, Rep. Bobby Rush, who represents a district on the South Side of Chicago, said that the mere criticizing of Burris was akin to lynching.

One could go on forever parsing differences, and they are many, between Roland Burris and Caroline Kennedy. First and foremost, she had the class not to play the gender card, and Burris lacked the class to stay away from playing the race card. Second, Burris is replacing Barack Obama, the only African-American in the U.S. Senate. There are 17 female members of that exclusive club.

But to go back to the original question, whether being a member of a minority race is a bigger boost in politics than being female, the answer is an undeniable yes. Are Americans more racist or sexist when it comes to politics? If nothing else, the November election showed us with laserlike precision that sexism is still alive and well in politics, in business, and in society at large while racism is, we all hope, breathing its last.