In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2006 / 25 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

The bigotry of worn-out stereotypes

By Suzanne Fields

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Americans are too racist for Barack/Americans are too sexist for Hillary." Says who? So says Benjamin Wallace-Wells, an essayist prominently displayed in The Washington Post. The headline makes the case that rednecks, male chauvinists and secret segregationists in the suburbs are insurmountable obstacles blocking the path to the White House for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The Post puts no question marks after his assertions that the American public may not be ready for either of them to lead because of his race and her sex. But, perhaps thinking better of it, the Post added question marks in its online edition. But even as questions, these ideas are remnants of an out-of-date bigotry. They clearly don't apply to the senators from New York and Illinois, and there's growing evidence that they don't apply to anyone else, either.

"Recent polls have found that the percentages of Americans who say they would not vote for a hypothetical black or female presidential candidate, long formidable, have dwindled into single digits," concedes Mr. Wallace-Wells. Indeed. Stereotypes provide shortcuts for bigots, who argue with exaggeration and simplification, but neither Barack nor Hillary — to use the first name familiarity now afflicting public discourse — suffers from public generalizations about race or "gender." They have been examined and tested in the public forum.

Barack talks about himself as a walking symbol of "diversity," with a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, the triumphant example of American possibility. He's no Charlie Rangel or Jesse Jackson; it's easy to listen to him and never think of his color. He may suffer from lack of experience, but not his race.

Hillary suffered, literally and figuratively, as Bill Clinton's uppity wife in the White House, a moving political target, but she's been elected on her own in New York. It's not her sex that's a problem so much as the inconsistencies of her leaps from moderate to liberal to conservative and back again to liberal, and her obtrusive, obstreperous, philandering husband who has nothing to do now but talk, talk, talk. "Buy one, get one free" won't be a Clinton slogan for '08. Nor is Hillary a Geraldine Ferraro, who was fairly untested in the national eye when she ran for vice president on the Democratic ticket in 1984, and who was reduced to talking about her muffin recipes.

Jews are large stereotypical targets of bigots, and yet in his campaign as an independent for the Senate, Joe Lieberman suffered none of the public prejudice that often bedevils Jews. This wasn't a problem when he ran for vice president with Al Gore in 2004, either, not even among the devout secularists who thought he talked too much about G-d.

Mitch Romney, a Mormon, however, is one presidential possibility who might be vulnerable to stereotyping. The governor of Massachusetts (not Utah) could suffer the slings and arrows tossed around on "Big Love," the raunchy television drama on HBO about a Viagra-popping Mormon husband with three needy wives and lots of whining in-laws. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints no longer permits polygamy (nor does the law), though some "jack Mormons" in Arizona and Utah still practice it in remote places on the shady side of the law.

Romney ought to be able to finesse the religious issue with a Jack Kennedy-like statement: "I am not the Mormon candidate for president. I am the Republican Party's candidate for president who also happens to be a Mormon. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me." But the jokes, some funnier than others, would be merciless.

Are there still racists and male chauvinists in our midst? You bet. (Borat is getting rich as a make-believe bigot.) But they don't have the impact they once did. Nancy Pelosi draws attention to the fact that she's a grandmother in the House, conjuring associations that run against type in discussions of leadership. Barack Obama gives strong voice to Bill Cosby's reminders that accepting personal responsibility and civil behavior is the short route out of the ghetto, that real men prove their manhood by taking care of the children they sire. His critics sneer at Mr. Cosby as part of the "Afristocracy," the black elite, playing to the stereotypes of the racists, but both he and Sen. Obama impress everyone else as confident, competent and ready for prime time.

Confident and competent blacks and women are no longer the exceptions on the landscape. They grew up from the grass roots that gave them legitimacy based on merit and accomplishment, not appeals to pity and charity for overcoming past prejudice. The old caricatures, like the soft bigotry of low expectations, are out. They've come a long way, baby. So have we all.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.


Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields