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    Senior Member fountainpenkid's Avatar
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    Default Why did this bother me? dumb white person thoughts

    I meant to write this when it was more timely, but anyway...

    At President Biden's inauguration, Vice President Harris and Justice Sotomayor were introduced in the ceremony in the following ways by Senator Klobuchar when the latter administered the oath of office to the former:
    "...our first African-American, first Asian-American, and our first woman Vice President, Kamala Harris..."
    "...the first Latina ever to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor..."

    This, for some reason, was grating for me to listen to at the time. Not previous or later celebrations of VP Harris' historic nature--her ascendance is a momentous and deeply moving thing to transpire for my country. Just these ceremonial introductions. I guess it felt, to me, like the ceremony was asking me to identify them and celebrate them purely for their identity historic-ness, to racialize them up to their very office, to see them purely as pawns in a larger (and very necessary) project of racial correction and reconstruction. It felt like it cheapened the moment.

    But crucially, I am not a black or Puerto Rican or brown-skinned woman. To someone from those backgrounds, these introductions might well have been music to their ears as much as Lady Gaga's; these introductions may have been reality-making. The power in saying those words! There is a wonderful acknowledgment of solidarity in them, I realized. Where it cheapened the moment in my 'white' eyes, it may have made the moment real in so many others'. And it was their moment.

    I don't really have any point in writing this, except to remind myself to continue thinking about the ever-evolving construction of race, and our quest to make meaning of it and hopefully render it less reality-imposing.
    If my p.m box is full, feel free to email me at

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