Those calling Sotomayor “racist” pushing GOP further towards isolation
There are a number of things that really chap me: the thought of the 2005 NBA finals, a win by the New York Yankees, American newspapers telling us the world will crumble without them.
But few things make my blood boil like the self-righteousness displayed by the “I’m not racist” crowd. They want everyone to follow the mainstream and move towards popular opinion. This group apparently believes that a judge can rule free of bias.
The questions being asked nominated SCOTUS candidate Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 speech are valid. In one small portion of the speech, Sotomayor says “”I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
I choose to think that Judge Sotomayor would have rather said “different conclusion” than “better conclusion. I think she should clarify her remarks for sure. But her detractors should also read the entire speech before using labels like “racist.” The point that she was making is valid. It’s personal bias and mainstream understanding that leads to inconsistencies in the law, like stiffer mandatory sentencing for crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine.
You can’t get to a position like Sotomayor’s by being racist. Let’s assume that people from ethnic minorities could actually be racist (you can’t be racist if your not in the dominant group and don’t have power). You can still make it far if you are elected by people with like mind and ideas. That’s why racists are elected, and that’s how people from minority groups can get elected by focusing on their constituents.
Judges like Sotomayor on the other hand are dependent on appointments. And when you are a “wise Latina” and dependent on being appointed by mostly by white men, you can’t be “racist.” You have to appeal to the majority if you want to have a decent career.
I doubt George H.W. Bush would have appointed a racist. I doubt Bill Clinton would have appointed a racist. In a profession where most of your peers are white males, and where most of the lawyers who argue before you are white, you can’t be a racist Latina. You have to be able to navigate mainstream arenas and you can’t stray too far from popular understanding.
Anytime we use words like “mainstream” or “pop” it can be substituted for “white.” “Mainstream media” means media outlets dominated by whites. When it was said that “mainstream media missed the Jena 6 story” it mean that American newsrooms made up mostly of Caucasians did not deem the story necessary. Cool.
When a music artist (like R&B or Hip Hop) says “This was my first single to go pop” that means it was their first single to be accepted by White America. What’s the big deal?
The big deal comes from the fact that White America does not recognize, verbalize, or admit that even mainstream and popular attitudes are biased by race. Just because race is a factor doesn’t means something is racist. But because white attitudes are considered baseline, then its only those who differ who get labeled.
These assertions don’t just go for conservatives. Liberals have this same problem at time. Often time when liberals are challenged for possibly being racially biased they can’t even entertain the thought. But it happens.
I saw a comment on a website that sums up the view that I think many on the right will play as Judge Sotomayor nears her confirmation hearings. Someone wrote “We want the highest bench reserved for someone without divided opinions about Americans and their race and gender.” That’s impossible, but an understandable statement that might be made in the mainstream.
Well I think that we are finding out what was once “mainstream” is becoming “fringe.” That’s a good thing. A few years ago maybe Sotomayor’s comments may have doomed her from the start, but not so much these days.
Lots of people who listened to Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s comments in full context realized his point was valid though his delivery was arguably flawed. Sotomayor could have chosen a few different words, but what she said had merit. And more people are starting to understand this line of reasoning.
Republicans truly want to find a way to acknowledge that point, but by doing so they alienate their biased base. Good for individual House Reps, bad for Senators and national candidates. And the Hispanic voters that pundits were wondering if the GOP had permanently lost before the Sotomayor nomination won’t take too kindly to the continued harsh rhetoric.
Keep pushing GOP. I’d hate to see you become inconsequential, but if that’s what you want you’ll get it.