Thursday 16 July 2009

Minority mainstream

While I find many of the things written about the Senate Judiciary committee hearings on Sonia Sotomayor's candidacy for the Supreme Court not very helpful, the basic point behind the Republican argument - that someone who points out their individual perspective based on their experiences that might also have to do with challenges specifically met by non-white and upper class women in the US might be "biased" is very revealing. The argument comes from the idea that there is a mainstream in the US and that everybody who does not meet certain criteria deviates from this mainstream, or standard. The standard is white and male - so far, an incredibly majority of Supreme Court Justices have been white and male. Everything else is a deviation, the problem naturally being that the US is not the Vatican, so therefore an imaginary white male mainstream does in no way represent the diversity in the country.
The argument is especially interesting since it comes a couple of months after the post-race headlines following Barack Obama's election.

By the way: some of the comments provided by (now no longer both junior and senior) Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, now in the tiny, tiny group of Senators I can spell and actually place on the map thanks to the Rachel Maddow Show, are among the best things from this hearing. Those by Republicans regarding "empathy" and how it is an evil personal quality to possess, not so much.

NY Times: Republicans Press Judge About Bias, July 14, 2009

No comments: