Friday, May 29, 2009

We Are All Sotomayor

Michelle Cottle nails it:
Not to state the obvious, but an upper-middle class white guy reared in the suburbs is shaped by his experiences, carries certain assumptions, and views the world through a particular prism as much as a working-glass Puerto Rican gal from the Bronx, or, for that matter, the half-black son of a single mom raised in Hawaii. The person belonging to the cultural/ethnic/religious/gender/racial demographic that has traditionally dominated a field (and thus whose perspective has long been the default) may not have given as much thought to his prism as a member of a non-dominant group. But that does not make his prism a neutral one. It simply allows him to more freely indulge his delusions of pure rationality and objectivity.

We all come from a perspective. There are no exceptions, and serious damage is done by those who deny it.

Introspection and intellectual growth doesn't mean trying to transcend perspective. It means striving for the sort of critical awareness that lets us grasp the effect of our social location, account for it, and do our best to twist around in our cement boots (to borrow from Stephen Feldman) and catch glimpses of alternate paths and states of being.

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