Good news on Monday: “Woman gored at San Fermin: More women joining in the running of bulls.”
OK, sure, that’s not good news for the woman who was gored (she was listed in serious condition Monday; best of luck to the young Australian).
But look at the bigger picture: Until 1974, women couldn’t even participate in the famed running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Now, though, women are just as able as men to be trampled by a snot-slinging, large-horned, stomping beast of a bull.
So yes, you’ve come a long way, baby. Or not.
In an Op-Ed article Monday in The Times, “Women to L.A. City Hall: Remember Us?,” authors Lindsay Bubar and Sandra Fluke bemoan the sudden dearth of women in Los Angeles city government, calling it deplorable.
But is it? Does it automatically follow that no women in city government means we’re backsliding into the bad old days of sexism and male dominance?
One might ask the same sort of question about the George Zimmerman verdict: Does the acquittal of a Latino man in the slaying of a black youth mean that the country still hasn’t come to grips with racism?
In both instances, I submit that it doesn’t.
Of course, that’s easy for me to say. I’m a white male. Of course I wouldn’t see sexism, or racism. Right?
Well, in a word, “maybe, maybe not.”
For example, when O.J. Simpson was acquitted, my sense was that a rich, famous black man got the kind of justice once reserved for rich, famous white men. In a odd way, it showed the progress we’d made as a nation in regard to race.
Now, some people are angry about the Zimmerman verdict, arguing that once again America has shown that it’s OK for a white man to kill a black man.
Nonsense. O.J. didn’t get the justice I thought he deserved. Zimmerman, perhaps, didn’t get the justice you thought he deserved. But both got fair trials with impartial juries. Why can’t that be enough?
As for the women of Los Angeles, their voices will be heard in this city. There will be one woman on the council soon, after the District 6 race pitting Cindy Montañez against Nury Martinez is decided. There will undoubtedly be women in high-ranking positions in City Hall again, and in Sacramento, and in Washington.
Progress isn’t a straight line. Sometimes, as the young woman in Spain learned, “you mess with the bull, you get the horns.”
But this country isn’t going back to the days of Jim Crow.
And Los Angeles isn’t going back to the days of “Father Knows Best.”
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