Jamison Foser has a good piece at Media Matters on the racism and sexism on display in Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing.
There have been a lot of posts at various progressive sites and blogs about the racism and sexism so I won’t rehash them here. I just want to briefly examine what seems to lie underneath the shabbiness and think about what it might mean some of the actors involved.
Sessions’ (R-AL) own racism is well known, if unremarked upon by the media in their current fainting spells about the supposed reverse racism of a latina supreme court nominee.
Sessions trotted out the Desi Arnez “your got a lot of ‘splaining to do” gem, to his own obvious great amusement and self satisfaction.
Graham (R-SC) condescended to the judge, using anonymous quotes about her temperament that a colleague attributed to sexism [see the Foser link in the first paragraph], and told her that maybe she needed to do a little self reflection.
What do Sessions, Buchanan, Graham and the media hacks who almost completely ignored all this, while at the same time being hyper sensitive to perceived slights against white males, have in common?
They have in common a sense of entitlement, a sense of white male privilege that is so ingrained — in their own psyches and in our society — that it has become virtually invisible. Stephen Colbert breaks it down here in a segment called “Neutral Man’s Burden.”
According to this view, white males are, by definition, neutral. Anyone who is not male and white is suspect and defined, often completely, by that difference from the supposed norm of the white male. This is a fundamental reality in America today.
It is a reality so fundamental that, despite exhortations that others engage in self reflection, many people in America today, certainly a large percentage of white males, are unaware of it.
It resides just under the surface of pandering from Republicans, from McCain and Palin to their rabid admirers to so many in the media, talking about the “real America” in last year’s campaign. Even Clinton engaged in it with her desperate gambit to woo “hard working Americans.”
While Clinton and Palin broke through the gender glass ceiling, they still were clearly using thinly veiled code for “white Americans.”
This is, and has been, slowly changing. Changing at a glacially slow incremental pace. But changing.
The problem for almost all rightwingers, most Republicans and many in the media is that their either are unaware of this change or they are all too aware of the change and are trying like hell to stop and reverse it.
The idol of so many rightwingers and Republicans, William F Buckly, explained the purpose of the conservative National Review, launched in 1955 this way:
…It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no other is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.
And to this day, so many rightwingers, Repbulicans and media chatterers see it as their solemn duty to “stand athwart history, yelling Stop.”
They might be able to slow it at times, even temporarily divert it at other times, but they cannot stop it. Still, in the process of trying, they mark themselves clearly for all to see.
They mark themselves clearly for all to see them as the reactionary racists and sexists that they are.
And that mark is indelible.