It's Sunday morning, slept in -- as I was making breakfast, I had WNYC on the radio, the show -- On The Media. They were talking about an upcoming Supreme Court case on violent threats vs free speech on the Internet, when host Brooke Gladstone says: "A bunch of principally old white male justices are going to be adjudicating an issue in which there are both gender and racial stakes."
I had to listen again to be sure I heard it correctly.
It used to be, in my own lifetime and experience, you could say things like that about blacks or Jews and get knowing nods. In all cases, no matter what the excuse, racism is racism and sexism is sexism. It really doesn't matter that the race is white and the gender is male or the people are "old."
Racism and sexism always come with excuses. However, if you say racist things, you're a racist.
It's time to call people on this, for both pragmatic and moral reasons.
Pragmatically, you can't win a political and social battle if you alienate huge groups of people based solely on their age, gender and race. And morally, you have no ground to stand on if you oppose racism and sexism for certain groups but actively promote it against others. You aren't actually against racism and sexism. You, like the people you say you oppose, use racism and sexism to achieve your purposes. Which is, at least partially, to perpetuate racism and sexism.
When I read that women deserve respect, I agree. I also agree with a broader statement -- people deserve respect. That includes children and seniors. Women and men. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and yes, old white men on the Supreme Court.
People love racism and sexism so much they're willing to contort themselves to excuse it. Why not give it up, accept people as individuals.
PS: Five of the justices are white men. Four are not. Whether they are old is a matter of opinion.