Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination brings out subtle racism everywhereMay 26, 2009
President Obama announced his appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the ninth seat on the Supreme Court bench yesterday morning, setting the interwebs and the cable news pundits on fire with something big to talk about all day.
Stuart Taylor at the National Journal is right in pointing out that this nomination is extremely shrewd because it puts the Republican Party in a tight spot. If they criticize Sotomayor for the things they most want to attack her for, they risk further branding themselves as the party of old white men. If they don’t attack her aggressively, they risk giving a victory to Obama and further weakening the party.
After Obama’s announcement, what followed was almost boringly predictable: all the news today has been dominated by talk about her race and gender. And though she was only nominated about 12 hours ago, her nomination has already brought race to the forefront of the public discourse — a topic we all normally like to avoid for the sake of our own comfort levels. Better to pretend race doesn’t exist, right? Right. Except now, it suddenly exists, more than ever. The fact that she grew up in the Bronx projects but graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and Yale Law School doesn’t exist, but the fact that she’s a Latina woman definitely does exist.
–Glenn Beck says Sotomayor is a racist! (Does anyone else besides me see the irony in the fact that a panel of three white men are discussing whether Sotomayor is racist towards white men?)
–Senator James Inhofe thinks Sotomayor might allow ‘undue influence because of her own personal race and gender‘! (Oh my god, you’re right, because she’s a LATINA WOMAN and her opinions might be different from those of WHITE MEN, she’s automatically a bad judge)
–Mike Huckabee calls her Maria Sotomayor. Well, you know, all those brown people have such similar names.
–The conservative Judicial Confirmation Network whines that “in Sotomayor’s court, the content of your character is not as important as the colour of your skin.” That’s not a hypocritical statement to make about a minority judge at ALL…
The underlying assertion in all these subtle, or not so subtle, criticisms Sotomayor is that her race and gender make her less qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, because her race and gender might affect her decisions. Thus, following that logic, we should only pick jurists who don’t have any race or gender to cloud their decisions.
You mean to tell me white men are raceless and genderless and completely neutral? Why didn’t someone tell me that before?!