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PostWatch
 

Thursday, February 20, 2003
 
8:47 AM

OmbudsGod has a lengthy examination of the Augusta controversy (and thanks for the links, by the way). He also generously gives Augusta media consultant Jim McCarthy a lot of real estate to elaborate on his defense of Augusta and his attack on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which apparently has outdone the New York Times in its crusade against the club.

I don't have a lot of time this morning, so let's bottom-line it: OmbudsGod equates race with gender, and I don't. Neither does Hootie Johnson, who qualifies as a bona-fide corporate-style civil rights leader if you know anything about his track record on racial integration.

Midway through an examination of McCarthy's contentions about support for single-gender institutions and the AJC's sullying of those who disagree with its position, OBG says this:
Replace sex discrimination in the oughts with Jim Crow in the ‘60s and you can see just how wrong this argument is.

Well that's the nub, isn't it? If you accept that race is the same thing as gender, it's a whole 'nother ballgame. Everything flows from that.

OBG also makes the point that businessmen use golf clubs and other private venues to close deals. Well of course. But in the very industry that I cover in my real life (I do have one), there are a number of all-women networking organizations whose membership is based on.....being a woman. Sure, these were originally formed in response to being excluded from the men's network, but they've morphed into something else, and without a doubt provide exclusive access to female executives and government officials who form unique bonds with their own membership.

Let's be consistent about these things. Ban all or none. Are we going to say that single-gender organizations have a valuable role to play or not? Are we going to disband the 60 or 70 all-female colleges and the two or three men's schools because there's something distasteful about them? Or is there something uniquely distasteful about men's associations? Because that's Burk's position. Remember this recent excerpt from the Peter Boyer piece in The New Yorker:
At one point, I [journalist Peter Boyer] asked her to help me to understand the benefit to society that would result from a woman joining Augusta National. She responded with what has been, throughout her campaign, her case-closing line: "You wouldn't ask me what was the benefit to society if we were talking about excluding people on race."

No, but this wasn't race. I wondered, "Can there exist such a thing as a benign exclusion of one gender or the other in a private social setting?"

Her answer surprised me. "I myself have what I call the girls' dinner, she said. "Just some of the women in the women's movement, and we get together for dinner. Women in Congress do it, too."

The difference, she explained, has to do with the conditioned behavior of men and women. "Here's the difference. And it's interesting that you should ask this, and it's just now come to me, pretty clearly. It is because, when men get together, denigrating women is often a part of the social interaction. When women get together, denigrating men is rarely done. It's just not even on the radar screen. Even among the so-called strident feminists of the women's movement. We don't have anything to hide in that way, and men seem to."

This is hilarious, of course. But it embodies the worst kind of feminist philosophy: Equality for me, but not for thee.




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