Saturday, 8 August 2009

Through the Sonia Sotomayor Looking Glass

Matt Semino hits the nail on the head in his article about Sonia Sotomayor and the effect of race and gender issues on the judicial system. Western culture still has a long way to go before it reconciles itself to the dismantling of a male-white-dominated perspective in its key institutions. The important thing, however, is that the debate should be out in the open, and conducted with honesty.
Through the Sonia Sotomayor Looking Glass
These issues, and the denial, hypocrisy and cultural angst they have engendered, are woven into the fabric of our everyday life and institutions. Britain made a fortune out of the slave trade, and exported it to the United States, where it continued to live on despite, or perhaps even because of, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The man who wrote these words, some of the most inspiring in the English language, fathered children by a slave who was his wife's half sister. Thomas Jefferson. Over two hundred years later, a Michael Jackson or a Sonia Sotomayor still find that their faces don't fit, and Jefferson's own grave misgivings about where this institutionalized denial would lead have been proved more than justified.