Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sessions v. Sonia: White Males Get to Rule

Huffington Post columnist Nathaniel Frank unmasks the not-so-hidden assumptions of Sen. Jeff Sessions' attack on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:
The implication of Sessions' inquisition was that, as a white male with no distinguishing "heritage" to speak of, he and his ilk can make judgments totally free of feelings, belief, or experience, that they are not prone to ever make a judgment that could be clouded by who they are. A Latina woman, however, is a dangerous addition to the Court because her "difference" could shape her judgment.

In fairness, it was Sotomayor's comments on the topic, not her race and sex per se, that prompted the grilling. But the sloppy thinking behind the questions is clear: It's as though genteel white men are the primal mold of the fair and impartial human being, and any mark of racial, gender or class difference from that mold is a fall from the archetype. An "alternative" brain like this, it would seem, threatens to produce a "different" judgment, which, to fearful white men, means partial, incorrect, and not in their favor.

1 comment: