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Down With NBA Racism! Sexism—Who Cares?

by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Racism is real and it is ugly but so is sexism. Who has been fined and “clipped” for calling women “hos,” “sluts,” “bitches,” “ball busters?” How many RAP artists and Hollywood people have been challenged, publicly exposed, fined, and fired from their own companies for buying the sexual services of a woman (or a man) as Clipper owner Donald Sterling has been? In reading a small part of what Sterling said on tape, it also sounds as if he did not want his bought-and-paid for mistress. V. Stiviano, “associating with black”….men who are younger and sexier than he was. Could that also have been behind this dust-up?

As a proud member of the American Civil Rights movement I believe in rooting out racism wherever we find it. And racism exists everywhere: Among whites, among blacks, among peoples of color, it is internalized by both men and women and by all economic classes. The most extreme form of anti-black racism today exists among ethnic Arab Muslims. In fact, slavery is still practiced in the Sudan and horrendous mistreatment of foreign workers of color (often from India or the Philippines) exists in Saudi Arabia.

Guess what? As a proud leader of the American feminist movement I would like all the racially sensitive and politically correct people to take crimes of gender violence, beginning with incest, wife-beating, marital rape, campus rape,  the rape of prostituted women, to be treated just as harshly and as swiftly as Sterling’s crime has been. Or would that be “going too far?”  Why?

And when will President Obama stand up for African-American women who have “stood their ground” and gotten twenty years for doing so? When will he call out his ethnic Arab and Muslim friends on their anti-black racism? And when will he write about his white mother and white grandparents? About how much he owes them for sticking by him and bringing him up when his black Muslim father abandoned him.

Just askin’.

In the nineteenth century, suffragist-abolitionists were not allowed to speak against slavery because they were women. In the twentieth century, American civil rights workers and anti-war activists, such as myself, were expected to make the coffee--not policy. This is what led to the rising of the women and to Second Wave feminism.

More and more, it feels like a new wave needs to rise, that feminists of both genders and all races need to stand up for women's humanity and dignity.

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Dr. Phyllis Chesler is Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum,  the author of fifteen books and thousands of articles. She has published three studies about honor killing and is work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, won the National Jewish Book Award in 2013. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website


Carol posted: 2014-05-05 12:47:40

If only all injustices were treated with equal judiciousness.

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