Institutions and sexism, racism

(Marianne Hill) mhill at
Fri Nov 11 09:09:31 MST 1994

My post of yesterday doesn't seem to have made it to the list.  Commenting
on Justin's comment that covert or latent sexism and racism aren't the
problem but rather institutionalized sexism and racism, I raised the issue
of institutions and their perpetuation.  At this point racism and sexism in
hiring and promotion, for example, are supposedly illegal but I doubt that
anyone on this list will deny that such practices are nonetheless
pervasive.  Institutionalized practices then need not be explicitly
legislated (consider marriage--not required by law but
"illegitimacy" penalized in various ways). (In economics institutionalists
are examining such questions as what common understandings are necessary in
addition to explicit contractual agreements for a market transaction to
take place.)  Currently attitudes and beliefs, inevitably linked to the
rationalization of privilege, lie behind many sexist and racist practices,
and must be systematically exposed and analyzed.  The rationalization of
privilege in the family on the part of males means buying into the
perpetuation of sexist practices ("but only until ..." I can hear--but what
makes you think that men will do their fair share of housework/childcare
after the new society arrives, or does that not require change???)

Marianne mhill at


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