Which is a bigger disadvantage in the USA, race or gender?

I think the biggest difference between racial and gender disadvantage is that a significant portion of gender disadvantage (for women) is biological. To be sure, women face many disadvantages in society that can be remedied through legal or social change. But other such disadvantages - such as the fact that women are on average weaker than men, that only women get pregnant, that women menstruate, etc. are biological disadvantages for which their is no legal or social remedy.

A black, Hispanic, Asian or other minority-race man might, for instance, be able to overcome the racial disadvantage that he faces through a number of means - or perhaps society will change its attitude toward his race, etc. But, barring a major medical or technological development, women’s biological disadvantages will not change regardless of what sort of legislation is passed or what attitudes changes society may have.

That being said - women constitute 50% of the American population. Racial minorities constitute 30%(?) of the American population. And there are more white women in the United States (35%?) than nonwhite men (15%?)

Anyway, though - in terms of which is worse - who is at ***more ***of a disadvantage in the USA, a white woman or a man of a minority race?

I think the fact that white women can so easily mate for life with a white man puts minority men at a relative disadvantage. Not that I think women *need *a man to take care of them, but in my experience once you’ve paired off with someone you’re largely treated as a unit. My entire family tends to get all the benefits I enjoyed as a single white man. People are always trying to lend us money or offer us jobs or college educations.

Minority men don’t really have that opportunity.

Of course, being a minority woman is clearly the most strongly disadvantaged option.

A white woman probably has it easier than a black or Hispanic male, all other variables the same (assuming we’re talking about the US). For three reasons: 1) white women outnumber black/Hispanic males and have made more visible strides over the past century than black/Hispanic males, 2) even though they face discrimination, white women benefit from the historical and current advantages enjoyed by their white fathers and husbands, 3) the negative stereotypes applied to white women (inferior intellectual capacity, given to hysteria and irrationality, etc.) also apply to black/Hispanic males, but the latter suffer from even worse stereotypes. The majority of “white women” stereotypes have been used to place her up on a pedestal as much as to tear her down.

If we’re talking about Asian/Indian males, I’ve gotta think a little harder. Asian/Indian males are disadvantaged compared to white women in terms of the dating game, no doubt, but I don’t think white women are eating their lunches when it comes to finding employment and being valued for their intellect. However, I’m gonna guess it varies on what kind of employment is being sought. I’m guessing that white woman have the advantage in sales positions and anything else where appearances matter. Asian/Indian dude will have positive stereotypes to ride on when it comes to STEM fields. Socially (apart from romance), Asian/Indian guys are also disadvantaged. Especially with the current anti-immigrant attitudes out there. So I’m gonna guess that white women probably have it easier than Asian/Indian dudes too, all other variables equal.

I’m kind of curious why you’ve excluded minority women from the equation, Velocity. Seems to me your question is practically begging for a discussion of intersectionality.

The thread is about which is more of a disadvantage, race or gender. A white woman has the disadvantage of gender, but not race. A minority man has the disadvantage of race, but not gender. Asking whether a minority woman is at more of a disadvantage against a white woman or minority man wouldn’t make much sense - she’s at the disadvantage in *both *respects.

I think it really depends on the context and one’s choices in life. For example, being Black or Hispanic today might provide you with a small-ish advantage in college admissions (all things being equal), but is almost always is a de facto disadvantage in almost every other aspect of education. Being Asian might help you if you are applying to a software job, and being a White women might be advantageous if you want to be a pharma sales rep or a preschool teacher. But being a women sucks is you want to avoid being sexually assaulted or murdered by a significant other.

Generally speaking, I think certain races tend to have it worse than White women, but there is a lot of variance there IMO.

I get that. But I’m saying you’re glossing over important nuances.

A white man is advantaged over a white woman. But a black woman is advantaged over a black man. The experiences of white women are the experiences of white women. Not all women.

Furthermore, “minority man” is very broad. Not all groups of “minority men” experience meaningful disadvantages.

In my experience, race is more of a criterion than gender. As a woman in a male-dominated trade, I don’t scare those already in the trade. I’m a woman, so I’m not a threat to their masculinity, and I’m white so my appearance doesn’t make them uncomfortable.

I think a lot of people, in all types of working environments, harbor secret or not-so-secret biases against minorities that are harder to dismantle than whatever negative feelings they may have about women.

In my understanding, the disadvantages/discrimination are very different in character. From what I understand, women are far more likely to be victimized in intimate partner violence and rape/sexual assault, while minority (especially black and Hispanic) men are far more likely to be assaulted or killed by law enforcement or in hate crime attacks. Both suffer employment discrimination, from what I understand. I’m not sure if one is a “bigger disadvantage” than the other – they’re both pretty awful.

And far be it for me to contradict monstro, but that black women are advantaged over black men (broadly, at least) is contrary to my understanding. I understand that black men are far more likely to be victimized by law enforcement or in hate crimes, but it was my understanding that black women were even more likely than white women (and far more likely than black men) to be victimized by intimate partner violence and to be raped, and just as discriminated against (if not more) than black men in employment and housing. If this is true, I’m not sure if I would characterize one as more advantaged than the other.

But I am perfectly willing to shift my understanding if that’s what the data shows.

Perhaps saying “black women are advantaged” isn’t the best way to convey my thoughts. I am not denying that being black and being a woman is a double-whammy. But it is undeniable that outcome-wise, black women seem to be doing okay compared to black males.

Where the black men at?

[African-American men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young, but the scale of the combined toll is nonetheless jarring. It is a measure of the deep disparities that continue to afflict black men — disparities being debated after a recent spate of killings by the police — and the gender gap is itself a further cause of social ills, leaving many communities without enough men to be fathers and husbands.

Perhaps the starkest description of the situation is this: More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Becky Pettit, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas.

And what is the city with at least 10,000 black residents that has the single largest proportion of missing black men? Ferguson, Mo., where a fatal police shooting last year led to nationwide protests and a Justice Department investigation that found widespread discrimination against black residents. Ferguson has 60 men for every 100 black women in the age group, Stephen Bronars, an economist, has noted.](http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/20/upshot/missing-black-men.html?_r=0)
Black gender gap in educational attainment

Historically, the black female advantage in educational attainment is linked to more favorable labor market opportunities and stronger incentives for employment for educated black women.

Now, whether these patterns stem from differences in the discrimination faced by black men and women or cultural factors independent of racism, I don’t know. But I can’t help but to think they shape perceptions and expectations, further entrenching the divide.

Every group has an advantage over another group. If a person values being respected for their intellect and hard work, then they probably don’t want to be reincarnated as a white American woman. But maybe they’d do alright if they went as an Asian American woman. White women aren’t as oppressed by the prison industrial complex as much as white guys are, but that doesn’t mean that white women are advantaged over white guys. So while Velocity’s question seems like it would be simple to answer, I don’t think it is. Especially if you make white women the “default” for women.

There are a lot of variables and mileage may vary greatly from place to place but I’ll call it for minority men by a small margin.

monstro, thanks for the response, and I will take your point on board.

Sadly in the Internet Age some people choose not to know some facts:

– Male victims of Domestic Violence face severe discrimination.

– Men get 60% longer federal sentences then women for the same offense. For minority men the gap is larger.

– Men are discriminated in divorce.

I think it is worth noting at least in passing that black men got the vote before woman did.

Well, black men “got the vote,” in law, before all women did. But some women had it first–and all white women had the vote, in fact, before all black men and women did.

Right you are. I should have said “in theory.”

disadvantaged in doing what? getting rich? living longer? avoiding violence?

This is an interesting little paper about “happiness” in the US, a bit old (2008) and it says the “happiness gap” has been decreasing. Men and blacks used to be less happy but are slowly catching up to white women in happiness, but there is still a disparity in happiness by educational achievements, probably due to economic factors (apparently money can buy happiness).

We also had black representatives in congress and a black president before a woman in either category.

I don’t think there is really an answer, since neither race or gender are guarantees of outcome, and so many other things can affect how lives turn out, including class, sexual orientation, disabilities, or just circumstances or luck. Are white lesbians doing better or worse than black men in wheelchairs? Also it’s a really broad question without defining what you mean by disadvantaged, since it would vary depending on job opportunities, health, happiness, net worth, harassment, crime, treatment by the police and the courts, or other variables.

Also, I’m hesitant to say an answer, since usually when I see debates like this on the internet and in real life, it’s in an attempt to shut down people’s legitimate issues with the Oppression Olympics. That if there’s an article on a hardship that group X is facing, comments are something like that they shouldn’t be whining, since group Y has it so much worse. It’s usually not a productive discussion. I don’t think that’s what this thread is about, but that’s what this discussion brings to mind.

In 2003 my employer moved me to the US. A coworker asked me out to lunch to compare notes, as both of us were sort of “outsiders”: I was coming from a foreign subsidiary, he was coming from a recent acquisition.

At one point he pointed out that my stories of running into discrimination or other mistreatment due to being a woman and his own problems due to being black were very similar. I remarked that his wife had it worse than either of us - not twice as bad because a lot of the assholes which discriminate for either reason do it for both, but still, worse than either.

After that incident where he was driving me to work and we got stopped for the crime of Driving While Black, I think he had it worse. In the kind of checkpoints where everybody gets stopped, I usually get waved through on account of Driving While Evidently Female (and therefore unlikely to be the people they’re looking for, who are almost inevitably male).

Does that mean there is no short end of the stick for women? No, that was the same job where I was told by my female supervisor that, while my work exceeded expectations in all measurable regards, she considered I needed to be “sweeter”. That’s not an evaluation any of my male coworkers would have received, nor something one usually sees in wanted ads for engineers. But we definitely don’t get stopped for driving while female.

How about weight and body issues?

Oprah said she felt being fat was a bigger obstacle than being a woman or being black.

Think about it - they cant fire you or refuse to hire you for your race or gender. People can get fired for those kind of jokes. But its ok to discriminate against fat people or make fun of them.