By Amanda Rodarte
In honor of Women’s history month, East Los Angeles College Political Science Club (ESPA) hosted a discussion about the history of women in politics this past Thursday.
In the discussion, it was discovered that not only gender, but race also contributes to inequality.
President of ESPA Sonny Martinez began by reintroducing women who have made an impact in the United States. He started with Clara Lemlich, who lead 20,000 women during the women’s suffrage movement. Eleanor Roosevelt, was the second woman praised for using her political power for the good of others.
Soon after, he began with famous, yet locally known political and labor activist Dolores Huerta from standing side by side to Bob Kennedy and Cesar Chavez, to forming the Agricultural Workers Association, the video displayed the honorary moments in Huerta’s life.
Most importantly, it showed how much an impact people can make when they unite. In the clip Huerta said, “When people get involved, they get stronger.”
The last woman presented in the introduction was American television host and political commentator Rachel Maddow. Like many people, Maddow is hungry for political justice in our society.
The video shown covered a discussion on affirmative action and the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor between her and conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan.
Tensions were strong, between both commentators.
Buchanan expressed his feelings towards Sotomayor as unqualified to be part of the Supreme court and “affirmative-action appointment”.
The discussion only made gender inequality visible, but it also exposed the racism that is still lurking in the United States. According to Buchanan, Sotomayor was elected only because of her gender and ethnicity.
The conversation only became more crude as Buchanan mean on to express her feelings.
“”White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy,” Buchanan said, “This has been a country built basically by white folks, who were 90% of the nation in 1960 when I was growing up and the other 10% were African-Americans who had been discriminated against. That’s why.”
The comment made by Buchanan caused many shocked looks and giggles in the room. By the end of the video, the group was ready to discuss the topic.
A participant in the room expressed her love for Sotomayor and acknowledged that she may have had help on the way with such affirmative action.
However, she could not believe that Buchanan was discrediting Sotomayor and her credibility. It was learned that Sotomayor graduated from the prestigious school of Princeton with the Pyne Prize, the top award for undergraduates, which reflects both strong grades and extracurricular activities.
When discussing the progression of women voting in America, the topic of racial disparity emerged.
Although women were given the right to vote in 1918, a student named Kenya said, “White women were allowed to vote, there’s a difference.”
Kenya later elaborated on the two women’s movement in America: the white and the color women’s movement. The idea of white privilege is still a big factor in moving up in America.
Unfortunately, sexism and racism still play factors in which who moves up in America; and as mentioned in the discussion, “the gender nor racial gap will not end anytime soon”.
The Political Science Club meets every Thursday at 12:15 to 1:30 in the F7 building, room 219.