The Daily Aztec

Vote for candidates because of their ideals, not their gender

by Kemi Giwa, Staff Columnist

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Hillary Clinton and her run for presidency ties feminists from all across the country closer together and it fills those who fought for women’s rights years ago with sentiments of victory, and to many it means the complete and utter liberty of women everywhere.

If a woman can run for president, or even better, become a top contender, then there is absolutely nothing they cannot do, right? Excuses of social structures hindering their success and years of sexism and oppression resulting in their menial status in society are no longer as relevant, right?

Don’t be too sure.

If elected, Clinton will without a doubt break barriers and open up the doors to many possibilities and aspirations for younger girls and women.

However, that is simply not enough.

While not taking away from all that Clinton has accomplished through the years of her government, it is important to recognize that sexism plays such a huge role in day-to-day interaction. It has essentially been indoctrinated and institutionalized into society.

Bigger than any one individual.

In 2008, with the election of President Obama, many people — particularly those of color — were ecstatic. Many believed he would be the savior that African-Americans in the country greatly needed.

Political pundits and those who believed the election of America’s first black president equaled a post-racial society soon began to reject African-Americans’ plight and began to assert that lack of success in the black community was a result of a “lack of hard work” or “motivation” rather than a system at fault.

After all if Barack Obama could become President, then African-Americans have no excuse, right?

It is now nearing the end of President Obama’s presidency and African-Americans still make up nearly 50 percent of the prison population, according to the NAACP.

Recent labor statistics show African-Americans are unemployed at a rate about double that of white Americans.

And 2015 was one of the deadliest years for African-Americans, who were nine times more likely to be killed by cops than other Americans last year, according to a recent study conducted by The Guardian.

This of course does not mean that President Obama did not make a conscious effort to improve the condition for African-Americans in America.

However, it is irrational and unrealistic to suggest that one man can destroy a system of oppression that has been at work for centuries.

Likewise for Hillary.

Clinton vows to close the pay gap between men and women, expand job opportunities, defend women’s health and reproductive rights, fight for paid family leave and affordable child care, and much more.

While this all sounds appealing, we cannot expect Clinton to single-handedly solve these issues just because she is a woman.

How come voters did not push for previous presidents to solve racial inequality or gender inequality as much? We must ask ourselves why in this patriarchal, Caucasian male-dominated society do we not make it just as much their burden to destroy inequality as we do to those that it actually impacts.

It is just as much their responsibility.

Ultimately, the issues involving such marginalized groups of people is much bigger than any one individual. Simply electing a woman because she is a woman does not equate to a post-sexist society, just as electing a black man has clearly not led to a post-racial society.

So if you are voting for Clinton solely because she is a woman, think again. It is not a woman’s job to fix the status of women in America and one woman cannot do that.

Sexism, much like racism, is an issue that plagues America. As a result, it is an American problem — male and female, white and black.

It is time that we become more realistic. Voting for a candidate on the basis of one characteristic will not lead to a more progressive America.

Focus on voting for a candidate because you support their ideals and what they bring to the table.

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