I don’t intend to make my blog all about marriage rights etc, but it’s an interesting topic and I have thoughts on it. Hence, there will be a couple of posts about it in the next few days. If you’re not reading for this kind of analysis, wait me out. I won’t take long 🙂
Nabbed from the New York Times. Photo by Doug Mills.
Those Australians who argue against the US Supreme Court’s holding in Obergefell v Hodges on the basis that unelected judges are moving into making legislature should be very careful when making those arguments.
In America this is applicable, as it is a fine line between interpretation and creating new legislation. In rulings to come it could tip either way. As a non-American it’s okay to make these comments too–when it’s about America.
In Australia, the courts’ interpretations are a majority of what give us an implied right to, for example, free speech. We do not have a bill of rights, or much constitutional support to fall back on, as Americans do, and new legislature can override (and has) any implied right that it wishes to.
Whether it’s technically appropriate in a system that is based on separation of the judicial, executive, and legislative powers, “divisive undemocratic judicial activism” is probably the only thing we have going for us in the Australian system.
This stance can probably be partially explained by the fact that the above argument is one being made by the American Christian Right. The Christian Right in Australia takes many of its cues from the Christian Right in America (due to its higher population and larger output of speakers and video, audio and written material). Sometimes those cues lose their context.
The above video is interesting. What’s even more interesting is the way the ethnic features and genders of the different people are so carefully chosen to represent different points of view.
The male actors are slightly white, so that they don’t look too threatening and ‘foreign’ while espousing potentially threatening viewpoints. They don’t look too different from the assumed viewer, meaning they’re more accessible. The female actor looks slightly not white, so that she seems to be speaking for a more culturally diverse USA, yet is still white enough because She Represents The Viewer.
The viewer’s white, btw, everyone.
This same woman is in there to create the appearance of diversity, yet her role is only to speak out and then be shut down. Her role is created for us to dislike her and to enjoy her demise, as it were.
Now. Just try and imagine a Muslim woman making all those very well-informed points to the American woman, or even to an American man. It doesn’t feel quite right, does it? Like it would pack less of a punch. Like she’s just being bossy or argumentative for the sake of it, or irrationally defensive, rather than making deliberate points that she really knows about.
That feeling is a cultural reaction, and I’m willing to bet that’s why the filmmakers cast the genders they did in the roles that they did. They don’t want to challenge our views of gender; they’re too busy challenging something else. Or maybe they just didn’t think about it.
In summary, I don’t think the choices of gender were as consciously thought out as the racial choices here. Not that either paint a very pretty picture of our society or the people who filmed this.
If you’re offended by the above, it’s an accident, and I’m sorry. No offence is intended here; I call it how I see it because it’s easier to analyse things that way. I in no way support the idea that so-called foreign people are threatening, it’s just a notion that people subconsciously tap into, and has been used here for a certain effect: we are scientifically proven to place greater trust in people who look more like us. Maybe that’s why we often tend to look like the people we marry.