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CNN readers respond angrily to 'race or gender' story

  • Story Highlights
  • Readers offended by idea that black women must choose between gender or race
  • Many readers upset that the story did not delve into issues more
  • E-mails flooded shortly after the story went on the home page
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(CNN) -- Within minutes of posting a story on CNN's homepage called "Gender or race: Black women voters face tough choices in South Carolina," readers reacted quickly and angrily.


Readers want media to focus more on the candidates and how they feel about the issues not their gender or race.

Many took umbrage at the story's suggestion that black women voters face "a unique, and most unexpected dilemma" about voting their race or their gender.

CNN received dozens of e-mails shortly after posting the story, which focuses largely on conversations about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that a CNN reporter observed at a hair salon in South Carolina whose customers are predominantly African-American.

The story states: "For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?" Read the story

An e-mailer named Tiffany responded sarcastically: "Duh, I'm a black woman and here I am at the voting booth. Duh, since I'm illiterate I'll pull down the lever for someone. Hm... Well, he black so I may vote for him... oh wait she a woman I may vote for her... What Ise gon' do? Oh lordy!"

Tiffany urged CNN to "pull this racist crap off" the Web site and to stop calling Hillary the "top female candidate."

"Stop calling Barack the "Black" candidate," she wrote.

Many readers were upset that the story did not delve beyond a cursory mention of the issues. Video Watch women say what's important to them »

The article stated: "While race and gender play a role, most women here say they plan to vote based on the issues. They rank health care, education and the economy in order of importance."

The salon owner, Angela Jackson, a Clinton supporter, is quoted as saying: "They don't pay my bills. And they're not attached to my belly. Nobody is attached to my belly but me. They don't feed me, clothe me. I don't care what they think. ... She's a woman, I'm a woman."

A reader named Joan e-mailed: "Really CNN, is this how you view black women[?] Are you suggesting that white women are going to have it easier [?] How about issues? Should a black woman consider the candidates position on issues, or should we just stick to race and gender. Disgusting!"

Matt e-mailed, "The article itself shows black women have brains and actually choose candidates based on issues and not just gender or race, but CNN doesn't seem to give them that credit."

Others responding to the story wrote that they want CNN and other media to focus on the substance of the candidates' accomplishments and stances on issues, rather than their appearance.

"Since Edwards no longer officially exists, as a white male I face the same choice - either I vote my race (Clinton) or my gender (Obama). Or I could just pick the candidate based on who I think would be best," wrote Michael.


Another e-mailer, D.T., who describes herself as a young, white woman, said voters should choose the candidate best qualified to lead.

"I'm sure there are plenty of black women who are Republican and could care less who the Dem leader will be," she said. "Close your eyes and look at who can fulfill the best to their promises." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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