Saucers of Mud

May 6, 2009

Why We Still Need Affirmative Action

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 5:25 pm

Here is Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who is widely discussed as a potential Supreme Court nominee, speaking at a Duke University panel:

Here (via Brian Beutler) is a brief David Letterman segment on Sonia Sotomayor:

[Well, looks like stupid wordpress refuses to embed this clip. Go here.]

Now, on a close viewing, you may have noticed something about the Letterman clip, namely that it’s totally fucking racist. The only thing Sotomayor has in common with the shouty people in his clip are that they’re both Latino. It’s no different than saying “Here is Barack Obama” and showing a gangsta rap video; it reduces Sotomayor to nothing but her race.

And that’s why we still need affirmative action, despite the ridiculous maunderings of certain frightened white people who think that electing a black President has completely absolved the country of the taint of racism, and that it would be an atrocity if any white man ever had to give up a scintilla of his privilege. (That’s a piece complaining about a case in which Sotomayor refused to grant a reverse-discrimination claim, so it’s an attack on her as well as on the concept of affirmative action.)

Sotomayor has had to deal with a sleazy anonymous whisper campaign, in which a “legal analyst” who hasn’t bothered to read her opinions retails claims that she’s too dumb and obnoxious for the Supreme Court. The subtext is that Sotomayor is only being considered because she’s a Latina woman. But she’s already being mocked on national TV for being a Latina woman. Any boost she might get from her ethnicity and gender just compensates for the prejudice she has to deal with. I don’t know when we’ll be able to stop consciously striving for racial and gender diversity on the Supreme Court and elsewhere, but I do know that it’ll be sometime after it stops being cool to make fun of people for their ethnicity and gender.

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