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Are women and men auctioneers treated differently? Do we as a society expect different things from women and men auctioneers? Do [many] men expect women to act differently than their male counterparts? I can answer that last question with a resounding “yes.”

There was no more revealing display of this disparity than the recent presidential and vice-presidential debates. President Donald Trump debated Vice President Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence debated Senator Kamala Harris.

To say that President Trump and Joe Biden used facial expressions, smiled or didn’t, smirked, tilted their heads, stared or gazed at the other would be an understatement. Most would report this debate was fairly animated.

However, is Kamala Harris allowed to do the same thing? Apparently not, as numerous auctioneers called out Kamala (a black woman, incidentally — or not so incidentally) for the same behavior. So women are allowed or expected to act one way and men can act however they want? As [many] men plainly view it, obviously so.

Strong-willed, confident, somewhat assertive women have almost always been in conflict with strong-willed, confident, somewhat assertive men. I guess the men feel threatened? Intimidated? Are men supposed to be “in charge” and women only subservient to them? By the way, it is 2020, not 1920 nor 1820, nor 1720 …

Some days I wonder if the white, male, conservative, Christian (and fairly strong-willed, confident, somewhat assertive) auctioneering industry will ever move forward — with equal treatment for women, blacks, Hispanics, the LGBTQ+ community, and others who are not white, male, conservative, Christians? In the short-term, I’m not that confident.

We’ve written before about race, color, ethnicity, sex, and other discrimination in the auction industry including here:

Huffington Post’s (I know, I know fellow auctioneers, fake news, biased, left-leaning, unreliable) Erin E. Evans who is a senior enterprise editor of culture at HuffPost wrote the following article concerning this “Kamala” issue: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kamala-harris-black-women_n_5f7f343ac5b600470a9955b8. Most notably from the article:

Black women everywhere have mastered this body language. These looks are a silent showing of our displeasure — and simmering internal rage — when someone is lying or insulting our intelligence.

Auctioneers reading this? If this all seems to confirm what you already understand and practice, then just know I’m talking to those other auctioneers who have a giant leap forward to get out of the 1700’s, 1800’s, and/or early 1900’s and into 2020 and thereon — and it might be painful, but the end result will help us all.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.