I thought it was interesting that women who voted for or against a female candidate were assumed to have done so due to that candidate's gender, as opposed to her ability. I can understand the temptation to frame the discussion in these terms, but as far as I'm concerned, it ain't that simple. Not everyone votes for a woman because she's a woman and not everyone who votes against her did so for the same reason.
Another episode of News and Notes mentioned a poll that suggested many or most employees, including women, preferred having a male boss. It was assumed that this was because employees expected cattiness and bitchiness from female management.
This was seen as an example of the stereotyping of women... even by women. To some degree, I agree, but it ain't that simple. Folks are too quick to assume WHY someone doesn't want a female boss. Not everyone's management preference has to do whether the boss stands up or sits down to pee.
Personally, I prefer female co-workers overall, but I do prefer male supervisors. Why? I often find that female managers tend to communicate less-effectively, often making my job more difficult.
And then, there's Barack Obama. If the above is any indication, I'm confident of the following:
* If most Black voters pick Obama, it will be assumed that we did so because we'll vote for any Black candidate - regardless of his or her qualities or qualifications.
* If most Black voters don't vote for Obama, it will be assumed that was because we didn't think he was Black enough.
Again, I acknowledge that some people WILL vote for or against the color of his skin, but this is not true of everyone. Sure, I'd like to see a Black person in the Oval Office, but mostly, I like the idea of "President Obama" because of what he's shown me. He seems intelligent, articulate, wise, compassionate, and authoritative. He seems the kind of person I'd be proud* to have as my President - not just as a Black man, but as an American.
Unfortunately, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others will largely be judged as the Black candidate, the female candidate, the Mormon candidate, etc. and anyone who votes for them will be seen as one-dimensional supporter.
Sorry, folks. It ain't always that simple - and dammit, neither am I.
* - It's sad that pride in one's leadership seems like such a foreign concept, to me, these days. I hope that changes soon, regardless of which person or which party takes the Presidency in 2008.