The Privilege of Being Unremarkable

Merrick_Garland_speaks_at_his_Supreme_Court_nomination_with_President_ObamaThe reporting surrounding President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland as Supreme Court justice both reveals and complicates the concept of privilege in an intriguing manner. Many of the articles, such as this Politico piece, were notable for what they refrain from stating, that he is a white male. This contrasts with the emphasis on ethnicity and gender in earlier pieces about those being considered for the position, such as Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Judge Sri Srinivasan. After the Garland nomination announcement, one article noted Garland’s judicial experience and legal training and specified how he would not add diversity to the Supreme Court. The article continued, referencing Justice Sonya Sotomayor as Latina and Srinivasan as both Hindu and Asian-American. The choice not to relate Garland’s racial, ethnic, and gender identifications reflects the privilege of a white male in the United States. Continue reading “The Privilege of Being Unremarkable”

Context-Free Lactation

Breastfeeding

Perhaps you’ve heard the news that the Supreme Court has refused to hear a case regarding a lactating woman’s firing, at least tacitly upholding the lower court’s ruling that described her treatment as something “not sexist.” As you can read here, former Nationwide Insurance employee Angela Ames returned to her first day of work after maternity leave and found numerous practical and bureaucratic roadblocks that made it exceedingly difficult for her to express breast milk while at work. When she noted the obstacles and asked for other accommodations, a supervisor told to “just go home to her babies.” Ames reports that she was subsequently coerced the same day to pen her resignation letter. Continue reading “Context-Free Lactation”

WWDS?

atheistssignPerhaps you’ve caught the news about a recent Supreme court decision in the U.S. in which (by a slim, but sufficient, 5-4 majority) local town meetings that begin with prayer were held to be constitutional — so long as religions were not actively excluded from the opportunity. The majority (read the decision, and various commentaries, for yourself here, linked under “Opinion”) concluded:

All that the Court does today is to allow a town to follow a practice that we have previously held is permissible for Congress and state legislatures.

Continue reading “WWDS?”

You Are What You Do

yogaHave you heard the latest in the “is yoga really religious?” debates?

One answer to the question of whether yoga really is a religious activity will soon be given by the Supreme Court in the country of its birth, India.

Last month, a pro-yoga group petitioned the court to make it a compulsory part of the school syllabus on health grounds — but state schools in India are avowedly secular. The court said it was uncomfortable with the idea, and will gather the views of minority groups in the coming weeks.

Continue reading “You Are What You Do”