‘Progressive’ Sexism: My Letter to Donna Brazile

Donnas Assinine Remarks

Donna's Assinine Remarks

January 2009

Dear Ms. Brazile:

You were the plenary speaker today at the Walden University residency in Dallas, Texas. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come and speak to us. Your speech was, for the most part, entertaining and inspiring. However, I feel compelled to express some dissatisfaction with some of your chosen themes, or rather the inconsistencies within them.

You spoke of your personal struggles as a black woman, the inspiring events of earlier this week, namely the inauguration of our nation’s first Black president. You followed this by saying that you hope to see a day that we inaugurate our first woman president, our first Latino president, our first Asian president, our first Native American president. I applauded along with the rest of the room.

You talked of how we now need to move beyond race and to do away with sexism. Again, I applauded.

But, intermixed in these discussions of how we need to do away with sexism, you joked of how you like to watch football, but you only watch the players “from the waist down”, and then mimicked a football player’s stance to demonstrate what exactly you were looking at. You chastised the media for paying too much attention to Sarah Palin’s appearance, and yet made jokes during your speech about the attractiveness of our new president. One of the first gentlemen to approach the microphone after your speech to ask you a question was greeted by you with such endearments as, “Honey” and “Sweetie,” bringing on much laughter throughout the room.
I have to say that I wasn’t laughing. This man was a doctoral student in the school of Public Policy and Administration, and had a serious question about your thoughts on the future of the Middle-East. Rather than hearing what he had to say, though, the crowd was laughing, because you had just humiliated him in front of 800 strangers. If you had been a man at that podium and behaved that way toward a female doctoral candidate trying to ask you a serious question, how do you suppose the room would have reacted?

Your overt sexism was not your only hypocrisy. You proudly talked about how President Obama is going to shift the power in Washington away from being based on who you know, to what you know, and yet spent much of your lecture dropping the names of politicians and Hollywood celebrities alike. I couldn’t care less who you know, and frankly, thought less and less of you with every name slipped into your speech.

Ms. Brazile, I have no doubt that you are an intelligent, talented, and ambitious woman. You have made truly impressive achievements in your life, and I do not mean to detract from that in the least. However, I believe that, in theory, you would agree that you cannot fight racism with racism, violence with violence, or hatred with hatred, and yet, you seem to think nothing of decrying sexism while engaging in sexism, or continuing the practices of the old insider politics of the past, while rejoicing in its decline. This was done in a room full of doctoral students. I can only hope that they would have enough critical thinking skills to recognize the irony of your statements, but based on the response of the crowd, I am not optimistic about this.

Near the end of your speech, you spoke of how President Obama was going to “lead by example.” You’d do well by making that a motto for yourself, as well.

Sincerely,

Daryl Branson, MPA, Ph.D. candidate
Walden University, School of Public Policy and Administration

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Last 5 posts by Paxton Daryl Branson