Geraldine Ferraro – Just Why?

by Latoya Peterson

In case there were any doubts about Geraldine Ferraro, her op-ed in the Boston Globe should clarify some things:

LAST YEAR at the beginning of the presidential primary season, Democrats were giddy with excitement. Not only did we have an embarrassment of riches in our candidates but we had two historic candidacies to enjoy. Once and for all our country would show that racism and sexism were not part of our 21st-century DNA.

Here we are at the end of the primary season, and the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day. Perhaps it’s because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn’t an issue, but reverse racism is.

Yes, she did.

Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama’s historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you’re white you can’t open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama’s playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They’re not upset with Obama because he’s black; they’re upset because they don’t expect to be treated fairly because they’re white. It’s not racism that is driving them, it’s racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don’t believe he understands them and their problems.

Someone grab the world’s smallest violin for me.

What I find fascinating about this op-ed is that it is titled “Healing the Wounds of Democrat’s Sexism” but only a few sentences actually relate to sexism. Instead, she rants about reverse racism. What the hell? Looks like dnA might be right about that code word thing.

Lauren from Stereohyped shares my sentiments:

Geraldine Ferraro can go to hell. She doesn’t get it — or maybe she does and everything she says is orchestrated to feed into the “racial resentment” that she’s trying to explain. Either way, she can go to hell with her “woe is me, white people can’t open their mouths without being accused of racism, playing up to affirmative action fears, back-handed, damn-near right wing, Barack Obama has run the most sexist campaign in history” bullshit.


Clearly, Barack Obama’s success over Hillary Clinton is the biggest affront Geraldine Ferraro can imagine, and it’s not because he’s a man. It’s because he’s a black man. The situation so infuriates her that she can’t even hide it, although she probably thinks if she denies and deflects enough we’ll believe that this is really about sexism and reverse racism. We’re not that stupid, Ms. Ferraro.

But I think my favorite response came from Megan over at Jezebel. This one had me rolling! (The post picture also came from the Jezebel post.)

Geraldine, do not give me the “Bitch, please” hand. Bitch, please! What the fuck are you thinking? I just read your incredibly offensive op-ed in the Boston Globe and it made me cry with frustration and disappointment and the ruination of that childhood dream I had when you were running for VP and I thought you were so cool and, bitch, I don’t fucking cry. Ask anyone. And so before I get into why I’m shaking with anger and disappointment and hereby disavowing you as a Democratic party leader and a feminist and a cool chick worth emulating, I gotta ask — have you been to a doctor this year? Have you been screened for Alzheimers, dementia or anything other than a politically terminal case of racism and shoving your foot down your throat? Can we call that an eating disorder? Because if you’re just losing your marbles, well, I’ve volunteered with the elderly before and you forgive a lot when disease breaks down those barriers we all have but if you’re not, um, well, yeah, fuck you.

Gerry, look, I mean, I guess I sort of understand. You grew up in a certain time and a certain place where there was this level of casual, quasi-open racism. You’re 72, which isn’t really that much younger than Barack Obama’s sort of racist grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 86, and we all know that he forgives her and considers that sort of typical and, frankly, so do I. But you’re also a glass-ceiling-breaking politician, smart, brilliant and trailblazing, and you shouldn’t have to fucking be told by someone that racism fucking exists in this country and that it pervades a lot of what goes on in this country in big and small ways. Why the hell would you, as a supposedly liberal fucking Democrat, want to wade into that pool?

So, look, the first time you opened your maw in March and said “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is,” I sort of wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. […]

And then, today. Your editorial. Geraldine, I literally cried in frustration that you can’t see what you’re doing to the Democratic party, to the women’s movement, to the uneasy détente between the (almost exclusively white) old guard feminists and those feminists of color who have complained for decades about the short shrift their issues have been given in the larger women’s movement. What, you hadn’t noticed that? You titled your piece “Healing The Wounds of Democrat’s Sexism” and then you rip open the flesh of Democrats’ racist wounds — you do remember the fifties and sixties well enough, I assume, to recall which party’s Southern Senators kept a federal civil rights law off the books for decades, right? And you side with the so-called Reagan Democrats, those bastards that frankly kept you from the Vice Presidency, in charging the party with reverse racism. […]

Racial resentment, Geraldine, is racism. Why can’t you see that? People coming up to you and complaining that they can’t complain about black people is them complaining for being looked down upon for being racists! And, yes, their time ought to have passed, it should pass, they should learn and understand that racism should have no place in our society and as a party leader, a stalwart, a barrier-breaker you should be breaking it to them that “getting treated fairly for being white” means losing sometimes, and sometimes it means losing to a person of color.

Bra-fucking-va, Megan.

Oh, Gerry, Gerry, Gerry.

You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s why it really hurts.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

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