Who Should Be First?

Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign

Edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall & Johnnetta Betsch Cole

Subjects: Feminist, African American Studies, Women's Studies, Presidency, The, Electoral Politics
Paperback : 9781438433769, 357 pages, August 2010
Hardcover : 9781438433752, 357 pages, August 2010

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Johnnetta Betsch Cole

I. Editorials, Opinions, and Petitions
1. Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama
Frances Anderson, Carolyn Eisenberg, Marlene Fried, Linda Gordon, Judith LeBlanc, Nancy Kricorian, and Eliza Migdal

2. Feminists for Clinton
Christine Stansell

3. Stop the False Race–Gender Divide
Ann Russo and Melissa Spatz

4. Morning in America: A Letter from Feminists on the Election
Patricia J. Williams

5. Duel of Historical Guilts
Maureen Dowd

6. It’s Not as Simple as White Trumping Black or Man
Trumping Woman
Patricia J. Williams

7. Sex Versus Race, Again
Tracy A. Thomas

8. Obama and the Sisters
Melissa Harris-Lacewell

II. Personal Reflections: Having Our Say
9. Lest We Forget: An Open Letter to My Sisters Who Are Brave
Alice Walker

10. Culture Trumps Politics and Gender Trumps Race 53
Carol Moseley Braun

11. What Would Shirley Chisholm Say?
Mark Anthony Neal

12. Voting for the Girl: Some Thoughts on Sisterhood and Citizenship
Pearl Cleage

13. The Sisterhood Split
Jessica Valenti

14. Hillary Versus the Patriarchy
Erica Jong

15. Hillary Is White
Zillah Eisenstein

16. Your Whiteness Is Showing 85
Tim Wise

17. Black and for Hillary
Tara Roberts

18. Why I Support Obama
Andrea Guerrero

19. Daughters of the South, Rise Up: On Generation, Gender, and Race in the 2008 Democratic Election
Cassie Premo Steele

20. Generation Y Refuses Race-Gender Dichotomy
Courtney E. Martin

21. Why I’m Supporting Barack Obama
Katha Pollitt

22. The Obama Feminists: Why Young Women Are Supporting
Ariel Garfinkel

23. Yo Mamma
Linda Hirshman

24. Feminists Must Heal the Wounds of Racism
Aishah Shahidah Simmons

III. Essays: Making Our Case 119
25. Crises of Representation: Hate Messages in Campaign 2008 Commercial Paraphernalia
Jane Caputi

26. Goodbye to All That #2
Robin Morgan

27. Race to the Bottom
Betsy Reed

28. Intersectionality: Race and Gender in the 2008 Presidential
Nomination Campaign
Dianne M. Pinderhughes

29. Does Race Trump Gender?: Black Women Negotiating their Spaces of Intersection in the 2008 Presidential Campaign
Cynthia Neal Spence

30. The Generation Gap: Graduate Students and Democratic Primaries Spring 2008
A. Lynn Bolles

31. Michelle Obama On My Mind
Arica L. Coleman

IV. Post-Election: What We Learned
32. Why We Need to Stop Obsessing Over Obama
Andrea Smith

33. Learning from a Year of Hope and Hard Choices
Gloria Steinem

34. Reading Obama: Collective Responsibilities and the Politics of Tears
M. Jacqui Alexander, Gail Lewis, and Gloria Wekker

List of Contributors

Feminists speak out on race and gender in the 2008 Presidential campaign.


Who should be first? With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as frontrunners, the 2008 Democratic primary campaign was a watershed moment in United States history. Offering the choice of an African American man or a white woman as the next Democratic candidate for U.S. President, the primary marked an unprecedented moment—but one that painfully echoed previous struggles for progressive change that pitted race and gender against each other. Who Should Be First? collects key feminist voices that challenge the instances of racism and sexism during the presidential campaign season, offer personal reflections on this historic moment, and trace the historic legacy of opposing issues of race and gender that informed debates and media representations of the 2008 Democratic primary. In this collection of writings by leading feminists including Patricia J. Williams, Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Carol Moseley Braun, Maureen Dowd, Katha Pollitt, Pearl Cleage, Robin Morgan, Erica Jong, Mark Anthony Neal, and M. Jacqui Alexander about and during this unprecedented—and to many, unexpected—moment, editors Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Johnnetta Cole deftly balance charged conversations in the first collection on this key moment in contemporary U.S. history.

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women's Studies and Founding Director of the Women's Research and Resource Center at Spelman College. Johnnetta Betsch Cole is President Emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College for Women. The authors of several books, together they have written Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women's Equality in African American Communities and coedited (with Rudolph P. Byrd) I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde.