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Friday, March 14, 2008

Ferraro's Generation Gaffe

I remember as a little girl my grandmother, whom I loved dearly, telling me about the little black girl she had befriended in class. She said, "You know, no one would talk to her," and here her voice would drop, "because she was black." It was a story my grandmother told with pride. She was in a small Kansas town and she was breaking social barriers. Yet, the story always made me a little uncomfortable.

I would go out with my grandmother and my grandfather and a middle class black couple would walk by. My grandparents would noticeably stare, as I shrunk lower in my seat, and then one of them would say loudly, "My, they were dressed nicely for a black couple."

It is a testament to your generation how you perceive racism and what is "proper" and acceptable in society. In my grandparents eyes, they were trailblazers, complementing black couples, befriending blacks, even having "a black friend." To me, it was cringe worthy.

I do not on any level believe my grandparents were racists, but they were operating in a different standard than I was. I believe Geraldine Ferraro is right there with them.

She refuses to believe that what she said about Obama was wrong. She says, according to CNN, that the Obama campaign is making an issue out of this to "hurt Hillary." Incredibly, she goes on to suggest:

"[S]he did not regret making the comments, saying she was 'talking to the facts,' and that the issue of race has been raised several times in the campaign before, including by Obama himself.

Ferraro also implored Obama's campaign to turn 'the spigot off the hate mail I am getting.'

'I find it very, very upsetting,' she said. 'I've been called all kinds of names, and the attacks are ageist, they're sexist, they're racist. It's been very, very uncomfortable.'"

I would think it would be uncomfortable, especially when you continue to believe that what you said was okay. She obviously is operating in a different standard than what is acceptable in today's day and age. It doesn't make it right. She should admit that her comments were offensive and apologize. Continuing to defend them only makes it worse.

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