Florida's Daughter

Rev. Andrew Young Needs to Check the Sexism at the Door

Posted on: December 12, 2007

Like a lot of people, I’ve been watching the Democratic primary race with great interest, and like Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group I find “the contest between a black man and white woman for the Democratic nomination is both historic and fascinating to watch.”

Parker writes in an article I found in The Southern Illinoisan that “In the politics of race, black and white isn’t so black-and-white anymore. Rather than a matter of skin tone and pigmentation, race has become a question of blackness and whiteness – a calculation of attitude, experience and cultural identity.”

Parker’s essay includes a report about comments former civil rights icon Andrew Young made over the weekend. I did a quick check and none of the national commentators seem to have noticed, or it was somewhere decided that out of everything Young had to say, and it was all a bit embarrassing, no one seems particularly offended by his crack about black women.

Young was asked about Senator Obama’s candidacy. In his reply, he brought up President Clinton, who by the way he claimed was more of a black man than Clinton. This in itself is an insult. I like President Clinton as much as the next Democrat, but he ain’t all that.

Continuing to stuff his foot further into his mouth, Young then snickered – “He’s probably gone with more black women than Barack … I’m clowning.” (At the last minute, I checked again and Rush Limbaugh picked up the crack. He had big fun with that one.)

Message to the good Rev. Young: I found your remark was indeed clownish and offensive to Black women, who I think you owe an apology, and not only to us, but to President Clinton and Senator Obama as well.

The sexism under which Black women, who worked tirelessly alongside Black men during the Civil Rights Movement, is well documented. MSNBC has an excellent report on how black women were largely invisible, but unsung heroines of that Movement. Bless her heart, we only hear about Rosa Parks.

Ella Baker was a longtime leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

Septima Poinsette Clark was often called the “queen mother” of civil rights.


Fannie Lou Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and

Vivian Malone Jones defied segregationist Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace to enroll in the University of Alabama in 1963 and later worked in the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department.

Rev. Young, sexism is just as unacceptable, just as distasteful, as racism.

Florida’s Daughter


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