Re: Is racism worse than sexism? Your choice of evils

James Murphy (jmurphy@MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Tue, 3 Jan 1995 07:50:41 -0500

Danny Yee comments on my rejoinder to Ruby Rohrlich:

> African-Americans are no longer hung from lamp posts, and were never
> shiped to gas chambers and crematoria like Jews during the Holocaust.
> Does this mean that racism against African-Americans in the US is
> non-existent? I think not.

Did I suggest otherwise? I think not.

> I think sexism is actually more *widespread* than racism --
> opportunities for the latter are only present where there is
> some cultural mixing, while the former is (at least potentially)
> present everywhere.

I agree, but the point seems moot, at least where I live. Are things any
better in your neck of the woods?

(Medieval monasteries and convents are perhaps
> an exception.) I'm not sure about "virulence" -- one meaning suggests
> ability to spread, the other danger.

Odd that Ruby Rohrlich, who seems so puntilious about the "correct" meaning of
some words was so careless about making clear which of these two she intended.

> Perhaps, you feel it is more acceptable to discriminate against
> someone on the basis of their sex than on the basis of their race?

Don't put words in my mouth. And don't try to set up straw men (if you will
excuse the expression).

My point was that more horrendous (both in terms of horror and magnitude)
crimes have been committed because of race than of gender. I am very familiar
with the oppression that women and members of many races continue to face.
This does not mean that matters are improved by a monomaniacal disregard of a
sense of proportion. Nor is anything accomplished by the delusion that
twisting a few prefixes, suffixes and word roots will solve the problem. Ruby
Rohrbach's mission to "cleanse" our vocabulary, in the delusion that that will
help solve the problem, does in fact nothing but trivialize the problem. And
that is what I object to.

James L. Murphy