Monday, March 03, 2008

Letter to the NYTimes RE: Obama & Sports

Published March 9, 2008

"The Primary Season Is Embracing Sports Images" (March 2) confirms my belief that in the historic 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, sexism has trumped racism.

The photo of Barack Obama in his high school basketball uniform and mention of his continued basketball activities not only underscore his popularity with white men, but play right into it. Noted similarities to superstar athletes Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, and James Blake set up an interesting comparison, but the premise of superstar qualities transcending sports into politics is troublesome on several levels -- not the least of which is compounding our infatuation with celebrities. Moreover, all the examples are men. Had Hillary Clinton had some sort of athletic prowess, the inferences would hardly have been complimentary. Baking cookies wouldn't have helped, either.

Paula Xanthopoulou
Miami, Florida