Saturday, February 2, 2008
As Super Tuesday looms between Barack and Hillary it has been truly remarkable how so many people in the world are following along and care deeply about the outcome. Needless to say we have yet to find any supporters of our current president, more honestly we receive vile and filth that can't be printed in this family oriented blog.
It actually has been surprising that people are nice enough to separate us from American policies and give us the benefit of the doubt.
As we have traveled around it has become more and more apparent and overwhelming how much women are disadvantaged in the world. From the mountains of Peru, to the Flavellas of Brazil, from the Burkas of the Middle East to the plains of the subcontinent it is clear that women are doing more than their share of work, food preparation and child rearing and getting from nothing to very little in return. So many communities are made up of women doing the work in the fields collecting the food, watching and caring for the kids, and then preparing the food. So often the men are a few hundred yards away, drinking tea or playing cards and discussing the "important" things of the day.
I believe a Hillary Presidency could give identity and value and power to women across the Globe. A source of inspiration and resource that women can not only be equal but better. The key word here is could, because I'm not sure that Hillary would use that bully pulpit to the fullest extent possible.
Along the same lines, another theme has run concurrent with the oppression of women:
the blacker you are the worse you are. It has been amazing how many times people who have no exposure to blacks at all tell us that "black people are bad", or "that area is dangerous" because of the dark people or black people that live there. People who have no idea what they are talking about associate bad things with black people. Sometimes just to change things up for humor or when it is not a conducive time to be an American we tell people we are from Colombia, which is half true anyway. People who know about the problems in Colombia, will say "it is dangerous there because of the black people". If we are in one part of India and another part is mentioned as dangerous they will say it is because of the "dark people". In Nepal, where we didn't see a single black and where they advertise "facial whitening cream" on TV someone who works in computers and deals with Nigerian and Brazilian fraud schemes said something like "you can't trust the black people". He didn't know anything about the racial makeup of Brazil or what Brazilians look like, he just assumed that since bad things were coming from there, it must be due to black people.
Time after time around the world, out of the blue when the conversation had nothing to do with race someone would say something derogatory about darker people. This would come from different types of people, some with exposure to blacks, some without, some with money, some without, some people we liked, some people we didn't.
An Obama presidency would start the long, long, long, long, long road to changing these attitudes. However, there is a difference between he and Hillary. As I saw Rev. Jackson say on BBC the other day "blacks have been ready for a change, the question is whether whites (or browns, asians, etc) are ready." Even if Barack wins, his every screw up will be magnified as a failure of blacks. I don't think Hillary's potential failures will be seen as greatly as a failure of women.
With either person, there is going to be a better government and hopefully a change in the way America interacts with the World and how the World views us as a beacon of democracy, civil rights, and equality.