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It's Sotomayor!

It’s Sotomayor!

Obama has picked Sonia Sotomayor as the next Supreme Court nominee! …But already the bullshit begins:

“Judge Sotomayor is a liberal activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, an activist group. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.”

Riiiiiight. Like sex, race, and ethnicity doesn’t affect the decisions rendered by the white men who’ve dominated the court for all these years. Uh-huh. Yeah.

I’m too tired to really analyze this; just got back from Wiscon, where I got to meet several dozen ABW readers in person (hi, ya’ll!), and where the possibility of Sotomayor getting the nom was the subject of quite a few conversations. But I have to say, I’m bracing myself. Even though some are predicting smooth sailing in the confirmation process, I just don’t see conservatives letting this one slide, because she’s their worst nightmare. They’ve already tried to trash her by appealing to the worst intersectional stereotypes, painting her as domineering, a bully, and “not that smart”. In other words, an angry brown woman, wielding her inferior brown intellect like a girl-cootie-infested bludgeon. I predict this is only the beginning. The mouth-breather chorus has only begun to clear its throat, and I don’t want to see what it’s about to vomit up.

But for the time being, I’m just going to cheer.

55 comments to It’s Sotomayor!

  • I predict this is only the beginning.

    Yup–I predict that you predict correctly. But let us see if the GOP can risk alienating the fastest growing “minority” in the US…

  • Paul Temple

    “Riiiiiight. Like sex, race, and ethnicity doesn’t affect the decisions rendered by the white men who’ve dominated the court for all these years. Uh-huh. Yeah.”

    If white male judges are sexists and racists then you should be able to come up with at least a few examples of the bad decisions they’ve made as a result of their sex/race. You are making a pretty bold claim, one that requires evidence. Meanwhile there is real evidence that Ms. Sotomayor may be biased, namely her quote from a lecture at berkley:

    “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in her Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law in 2001″

    This statement makes no sense–what about living the life of a latina woman makes you better able to interpret the law? This statement fits the dictionary definition of racism:

    “Racism: noun—the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

    Aside from the racial aspect of the quote, her personal opinion should be irrelevant, since her personal opinion is not supposed to affect her judgment. This is the very reason we have judges, so there are people who don’t let their opinion get in the way of justice.

    I am a white male. How would you feel if I said “I would hope that a wise white man, with the richness of his experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a black woman who hasn’t lived that life.”

    How would that make you feel? Bad, right? You see what Im tryin to say? It’s racism.

    and there are plenty of other candidates Obama was considering that he could have chosen instead.

    -Paul

  • Sigh, the stupidity that is rampant truly drives me insane. Is it really that difficult to realize that if she is qualified for the position then she should get it? I mean if somebody else comes along that is obviously better qualified for the position then yes, they should get it instead, even then that is a matter of opinion. I guess somebody will complain either way though.

  • nojojojo

    Paul,

    If white male judges are sexists and racists then you should be able to come up with at least a few examples of the bad decisions they’ve made as a result of their sex/race. You are making a pretty bold claim, one that requires evidence.

    No, it doesn’t, because that’s not what I said. Let’s leave aside the straw men, shall we?

    But since you’re concerned, I truly believe that decisions like Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson and any number of other decisions which ignored the basic humanity and mistreatment of people of color and women were inevitable given the racist, sexist attitudes held by most white men of the time — attitudes which naturally the justices of the time held to some degree, too. We are all products of our society. It rubs off on us, whether we want it to or not.

    Which was my point, and which was probably Sotomayor’s point. There is strength in learning to recognize these societal influences — which is an experience that many PoC have, and many white men do not, because of white privilege.

    Meanwhile there is real evidence that Ms. Sotomayor may be biased, namely her quote from a lecture at berkley

    You don’t need to quote the lecture — it was quoted in the linked article. And in the future, if you’re going to quote something, please provide a link so that people can read the whole thing, not just the part you selected without context. Just good blog etiquette. Thanks.

    As for Sotomayor’s “bias” — you should be able to come up with at least a few examples of the bad decisions she’s made as a result of her race/gender. You’re making a pretty bold claim here, and you’re basing it on the woman basically saying that she thinks identity and experience are an important part of any person’s decision-making process. Since the entire field of psychology would agree with her, I don’t think she’s too far off-base on that one.

    And please stop quoting the dictionary. As tactics for proving your point go, that one’s a cliche, and pointless since I could easily find a dictionary to trump your dictionary, and then we’d end up in a dictionary fight, which is boring. Besides, that’s not the definition of racism we use here. Go read, then let’s talk.

  • Paul Temple

    “I truly believe that decisions like Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson and any number of other decisions which ignored the basic humanity and mistreatment of people of color and women were inevitable given the racist, sexist attitudes held by most white men of the time ”

    Arguable, but irrelevant. Now is not “that time.” And more importantly, that doesn’t legitimize revenge. We don’t need more racsim to counteract the racism of the 60s. Hate can’t defeat hate, only love (which demands both justice and respect.) I’m not saying racism is dead, merely that more racism is not the solution. If you think preferential treatment of non-whites IS the answer, I’ll hear an argument. Well, I listen anyway.

    “There is strength in learning to recognize these societal influences”

    Absolutely, for the express purpose of eliminating them from one’s point of view. It’s good to recognize one’s bias in order to avoid it. But Ms Sotomayor’s remarks indicate she intends to act on bias. Nobody’s childhood experiences should change the interpretation of the law. They may indeed show that the laws themselves need to change, but that is the job of the legislative branch of our government, not the judicial branch. our experiences are wonderful. I wouldn’t give mine up for anything. But they do not belong in the courtroom.

    “As for Sotomayor’s “bias” — you should be able to come up with at least a few examples of the bad decisions she’s made as a result of her race/gender. You’re making a pretty bold claim here”

    Lol. As I will explain below I don’t need one, but here’s an example:

    “Possible Controversial Positions and Statements

    • Wrote the 2008 opinion supporting the City of New Haven’s decision to throw out the results of a firefighter promotion exam because almost no minorities qualified for promotions. The Supreme Court heard the case in April 2009 and a final opinion is pending.”

    But you know what? I don’t even need the proof you demand because she herslef has openly admitted to it:

    “• At a 2001 U.C. Berkeley symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the first Latino named to the federal district court, Sotomayor said that the gender and ethnicity of judges does and should affect their judicial decision-making. From her speech:

    “I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society….”

    there’s a couple more quotes after that in case you think it’s a fluke. Source:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/26/sotomayor.resume/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

    “and you’re basing it on the woman basically saying that she thinks identity and experience are an important part of any person’s decision-making process”

    What’s that you said about straw-men? I never said they aren’t important, only suggested that they should take a back seat to reason. To reiterate, I do recognize the importance of understanding one’s “identity and experiences” for the purpose of ignoring them to achieve greater objectivity.

    “And please stop quoting the dictionary. As tactics for proving your point go, that one’s a cliche”

    All due respect, it did not occur to me that a person could be acquainted with the meaning of “racism” and fail to see it in her comment. But bring on the dictionary battle if that’s what you want.

    “Besides, that’s not the definition of racism we use here. Go read, then let’s talk.”

    K, I read it. I’m still right. Why? To be a judge, especially a Supreme Court Justice constitutes “institutional power.” Therefore Ms Sotmayor is eligible for racism, even your kind. Now all that’s left is for you to admit it.

    but that’s really as much as I can indulge your definition of racism from now on. it’s really not fair that you get to redefine words to fit your own purpose when I don’t. Furthermore, if you aren’t gong to use the commonly held definition of English words, then you are not speaking English and we can’t communicate. I don’t speak “angry black woman.” You are well within your rights to ignore me, but know that is not an argument, and as such will never bring you victory.

    -Paul Temple

    PS. may I suggest a more crucial debate? I would like to argue the root of all this with you–the ethical underpinnings of your stance on “racism” and your thoughts on hate and love. if you are interested, let me know where on your site we can do that.

  • nojojojo

    Paul,

    I’m going to keep this short, since it’s clear you’re not actually interested in a discussion.

    The historical impacts of the Supreme Court’s racism are not irrelevant, because racism did not magically end when Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, or when Kennedy signed the Civil Rights Act, or whenever you apparently think it all ended and the world became a wonderful happy perfectly level playing field. Women of color did not suddenly gain institutional power equal to that of white men; please remember that if Sotomayor is confirmed she will still be only one of nine, and she will have only gained that power in 2009, more than 100 years after this nation started actually trying to practice what it preached re the Constitution and D of I (the Equal Protection clause). The playing field is not level, it is nowhere near level, and the only way we will level it is by putting people in place who are thinking about it and talking about it, not trying to hum really loud and hope it goes away. Clearly that does not sit well with you; it does with me.

  • Paul says, “hen you are not speaking English and we can’t communicate. I don’t speak “angry black woman.”

    Oh boy. Where have I heard this one before?

    Oh, yes, I remember:

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/03/06/sixteen-maneuvers-to-avoid-really-dealing-with-racism/

  • Oops! Sorry, I meant this one:

    http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org/glosario.html#magikattax

    See under Queen’s Caca-Phony.

    Though now that I look at his comment again, Jeez, it’s like he’s playing Racist Bingo, isn’t it?

  • Juan

    Ah, I can’t help it–jus gotta say it.

    Not sure which made me ‘LOL’ harder, Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson seeming to be considered something that happened in the 60s or Paul’s comments imitating reality or obvious path of rhetoric with this sort of topic.

  • The Angry Black Woman

    Paul, read the Required Reading. That is all.

  • I hate this dumbass meme that the reality of white straight men (who are rich and cisgendered and “able”-bodied of course) is the only objective reality, and anyone who isn’t all of these things, is TAINTED, TAINTED I say!

    Ugh.

  • Paul Temple

    Before I kindly show you all your ignorance I’d like to make 2 things clear:

    1. None of you, not one, have taken the time to refute my original claim, but instead latched on to your blurry inference as to my general point of view in a pathetic attempt to redirect the conversation. Perhaps it was just an accident. Or perhaps you wanted to argue, but really only know how to argue one thing: that white men are evil. I don’t know, and I don’t care. But if any of you have the intellectual integrity to address my initial claim it was this:

    that Ms Sotomayor’s comment smacks of racism and that her past actions and remarks may indicate she is unfit to serve as a Supreme Court Justice (Not that other justices are fit, that she is unfit, which is an important distinction.)

    2. I never said racism is dead. In fact I said the opposite. Read my words, THEN interpret their meaning. I know you hate me because of my gender and ethnicity, but that doesn’t give you the right to put words in my mouth.

    Now on to my brilliant refutations:

    NOJOJOJO:
    “I’m going to keep this short, since it’s clear you’re not actually interested in a discussion.”

    Allow me to translate this for anyone confused by this statement. Nojojojo’s definition of a discussion precludes the possibility that he/she is proven wrong. Since Nojo is losing, he/she has lost interest in the discussion. Rest assured, I still am.

    “racism did not magically end when Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, or when Kennedy signed the Civil Rights Act, or whenever you apparently think it all ended and the world became a wonderful happy perfectly level playing field”

    What about the statement “I’m not saying racism is dead” don’t you understand?

    “The playing field is not level, it is nowhere near level, and the only way we will level it is by putting people in place who are thinking about it and talking about it.”

    A playing field is not made level by telling the strong players to get down on their knees. Ours is a nation about equal OPPORTUNITY, not equal outcome. And before you explode know this: I believe blacks, hispanics, and other minorities do have strong players. They merely haven’t caught up yet. And I’m in FULL agreement that they need a helping hand, but forcing them into the workplace and into positions of power with quotas and scholarships is not the way to do it. Their advancement can’t be arbitrary–It must be earned. And lets not forget, it’s entirely possible now for a black man to become the leader of the free world. So there is simply no arguing we are not making progress.

    DELAGAR:
    “Paul says, “hen you are not speaking English and we can’t communicate. I don’t speak “angry black woman.”
    Oh boy. Where have I heard this one before?”

    I am not avoiding dealing with racism, you are avoiding the original topic of conversation. It is a simple fact that we must agree on the definitions of important terms to have a debate, or even communicate. On this principal, me and angry black woman agree. But her definition of racism does not trump the one in my dictionary simply because this is her blog.

    “See under Queen’s Caca-Phony.”

    Howbout you “see under” it, bra. I’m not using “Queen’s best English” as they describe it:
    a poofy, puffy, priggish and utterly-proper use of English in such a way that it cannot entertain colloquialisms or relax even one single prepositional phrase.
    I’m not against slang, and you can use all the bad grammar you want. Angry Black Woman’s the one who won’t “entertain” the real, commonly held, and arguably more colloquial definition of “Racism.” If anything she’s using the Queen’s Caca, not me.

    JUAN:
    “Not sure which made me ‘LOL’ harder, Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson seeming to be considered something that happened in the 60s or Paul’s comments imitating reality or obvious path of rhetoric with this sort of topic.”

    Not sure which made me ‘LOL” harder, the fact that you can’t read, or that you’ve failed to make an actual argument:

    I suggested that our culture has changed since those cases occurred, and that nojo’s mindset was from the 60s. I never said those cases occurred in the 60s. More importantly, stating your case and explaining it are two very different things. You apparently lack the courage to do the latter.

    ANGRY BLACK WOMAN:
    I read it all, skimming redundant areas.
    My disagreement with you is on a more base level than all this. I could write pages articulating my many small disagreements with what you’ve written (and quoted.) But this is not the place, and frankly those are merely the symptoms of a larger problem. I made an offer to Nojo that I would debate the root of all your specific views in another place, and I extend that offer to. For now, I will just respond to the one statement you made that hurt me the most:

    You suggested that if you are a white man then, “28. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.”

    I was an exceptionally ugly child, and it had a profound effect on me. I have been unwanted not only by the government, or by another race, but by everyone who I’ve ever wanted. So, please, don’t lecture me about how bad hate feels. If you think it’s hard to be a woman and be unwanted–imagine how much harder it would be if you also had everyone telling you your disadvantage is “relatively small and easy to ignore.” Imagine if you still had all the hate, but none of the pity. And even pity is worthless. Women can be every bit as superficial and cruel as men. They have been-to my face. So do me a favor: take #28 and shove it.
    let’s say you’re right. Let’s say everything I have I have gotten because I’m a white man. Let’s say I’ve gotten it all in spite of my physical appearance, when a woman wouldn’t have. So what. Don’t you know that I would trade my talent, my privilege, my intelligence, and all my material possessions (which are of considerable worth) to be able to look at a pretty girl and have her think the same thing I did when I looked at her? That may never happen for me. The only thing that keeps me going is my faith in God, and my hope that one day he will grant me a marriage of intense mutual attraction.
    sorry for the rant. I do NOT want your pity, and I’ve been doing my best not to dwell on this lately. But people don’t like to think about the disadvantage of the ugly, so they concoct excuses as to why the ugly have no problem. “Ugly people deserve each other” is an example. But Importantly, dwelling on it won’t help, and hating attractive people won’t help. Neither will smashing in their pretty faces to “level the playing field.”. because hate can’t defeat hate, but only love. I just want to let you know this is a stereotype you should get rid of.

    DEVIANT:
    “I hate this dumbass meme that the reality of white straight men (who are rich and cisgendered and “able”-bodied of course) is the only objective reality, and anyone who isn’t all of these things, is TAINTED, TAINTED I say!
    Ugh.”

    Calling my words a “dumbass meme” is not an argument, but merely a wordy insult. Unlike a lot of people, I actually believe what I say I believe. I am not holding to a position for habit or comfort. So if you think it’s not true, or that my grasp of reality is flawed then have the courage to explain why. Your “ugh” means nothing to me.

    -Paul

  • Juan

    delagar:
    Thanks for those links, lost a LOT of bookmarks to various places after my last comp crash. And I think the first link still provides use currently along with adding to my giggle fit.

  • Paul Temple

    Btw, angryblackwoman I really like the green diamond symbol I got, if you are the one that assigned it ty.

  • lamissjuicyfruit

    Ms.Sotomayor has 30 years of legal experiance.She grew up in Bronx, in public housing,yet went to Princeton.She has more experiance and has worked at more different levels of the judiciary than any member of the current Supreme Court when they were nominated.Which part of “twice as good” did people not understand? All the hysteria over her nomination is his PANIC.Lou Dobbs has raised fear of a Mexican planet for years.And we all look alike.Puerto Ricans, Mexicans.Cause HIS panic.
    Today a white homeless man asked me for money.I’m a light complected Mexican.He went on to tell me how he was homeless because ” minorities “took his job.I told him, “I’m a minority.Here’s a dollar from all us Mexicans.” He was so pathetic.The people who took his job were white,wallstreet thugs.please.

  • lamissjuicyfruit

    Why does Paul temple get to take up so much space?And tell us what racism is? This is sooo colonizer behavior.

  • vy

    In King v. American Airlines Inc., Judge Sotomayor ruled against an African-American couple who claimed they were bumped from a flight because of their race. The judge concluded their case was pre-empted by international law that governs air travel. “We urged a different interpretation, but her decision was in conformity with what other courts were doing,” said Robert Isseks, a New York attorney who represented the plaintiffs. “We were paddling upstream.”

    Judge Sotomayor isn’t always a reliable vote for employees. In 1999, she ruled against a black nurse who claimed she had been fired from a New York hospital due to her race and age, as well as a debilitating injury. Judge Sotomayor ruled that the plaintiff, Wendy Norville, could move ahead on her disability claim, but tossed out the race and age claims.

  • Juan

    lamissjuicyfruit,

    Because in this instance our inferior [coloured] intellect and emotions makes us incapable of understanding how the “real” world works. That goes double if you’re both coloured and a woman.

    Thus paul has taken it upon himself to teach us savages how to carry a civilized discussion. Admonishing us to control our presumably overly emotional status, telling us not to refer to history when demanding that we look for a [historical] example to back up our arguement, speaking down to us (especially if you’re a woman it seems), defining institutional status quo in egalitarian terms, using emotions and parable(ish?) appeals to sway, defining to the disadvantage/afflicted what is is really like to be disadvantaged/afflicted, letting us know that reverse racism exists and we apply it because of hatred and an inability to let the past go, and just making our puny brains understand how the world actually operates because we’re doing it wrong.

    Did I miss anything? Oh well, I’m sure the pup will let me know.

    But I feel so educated by the boy that it makes me all giggly like a school girl. I think I’ll giggle some more.

  • Oh oh oh Juan, you totally missed that we all “hate [him] because of [his] gender and ethnicity” (I know I for one, totally hate all the white people, in fact, just yesterday I was telling my mother and father how pissed I am at them for bringing yet more and more white people such as myself into the world, GAWD, had they no shame?)

    Oh, did you know my “Ugh” means nothing to him? It’s very important that you do.

    As I believe they say at Shakesville: Can I get a white man “hmph!”?

  • Juan

    “As I believe they say at Shakesville: Can I get a white man “hmph!”?”

    *DED*

  • Paul Temple

    “Thus paul has taken it upon himself to teach us savages how to carry a civilized discussion. Admonishing us to control our presumably overly emotional status…But I feel so educated by the boy that it makes me all giggly”

    You’re welcome.

  • nojojojo

    Whoops — sorry, folks, been busy, or I would’ve noticed Paul edging into abusive territory. As it is I don’t think he’s quite there yet, just on the brink — “smelling himself,” as my grandmother used to say. So for the time being I’m going to let his comments stay rather than disemvowel them or ban him.

    However.

    Paul, you’re behaving trollishly, which is why people are responding accordingly. On top of that, you’re pretty much going down the list of stock protests and argument tactics that some of us hear from racism apologists far, far too often. You’re not saying anything fresh or original, and my life is too short to waste on cliches.

    And yes, ABW’s definition of racism (actually the sociological definition) trumps your dictionary’s definition, and yes you must abide by that if you’re going to talk here. I don’t really care if you don’t like it; this is The Angry Black Woman, not The Petulant White Man. You can respect this space, and the posters here, or you can leave, plain and simple. Consider this your warning.

  • Paul Temple

    “you’re pretty much going down the list of stock protests and argument tactics that some of us hear from racism apologists”

    Great idea, Nojo, let’s go down the list together, and see who is using these tactics, me, or you guys:

    1. Control what your audience sees.—-On this neither of us are guilty. I have linked when prompted and so have you. happy day.

    2. Attack the person, not the argument.—So far, I’ve been called “colonizer” “pup” “Troll” “stupid” and “dumbass” I have insulted noone, apart from a comedic use of the term “bra.” I have implied that Juan and Deviant are cowards only to challenge them to make a logical argument. Incidentally, they have yet to offer one.

    3. Argue against straw men—–You falsely* accused me of using a strawman, while throwing me an actual strawman (perhaps by accident) in your first comment here.

    4. Deflect attention away from the specific criticism.—-I HATE to repeat myself, but it is you people who have failed to address my original point, and have made the discussion about racist whites instead of a potentially racist supreme court justice

    5. Racism, however ugly, is better than the alternative.—–I have said nothing good of racism! Meanwhile, attacks by Juan and Delgar have been accompanied by generalized insults against whites

    6. Prove your opponent has mistaken some other quality for racism.—–If I have “proven” something, then that means it’s true! Unless you guys have perverted the meaning of the word “prove” as well…

    Well, if we tally that up, Nojo, it isn’t looking good for all of you. Juan and Deviant are guilty of just about eveything on this list, yet you did not warn them. How very strange!

    “You’re not saying anything fresh or original”

    Truth, is eternal ;)

    “And yes, ABW’s definition of racism (actually the sociological definition) trumps your dictionary’s definition”

    Then you must explain why, if you can. Saying it’s so doesn’t make it so! Explain why. If the popular and historical definition of a word—which is also the one that’s in the dictionary— is insufficient, then I don’t see why you guys don’t make a NEW word. Oh, wait, yes I do, because if you redifine the term “racism” you can never be called one!

    Seriously, Nojo, I challenge you to explain WHY. Here’s ABW’s attempt:

    “In America, I say, black people cannot be racist.” (from her required reading)

    Well I got some news for you: that is an assertion, NOT an explanation! And it is even farther from proof!

    *Your accusation was false. Why? Because when you said this I read it with the dictionary definition of racism:

    “Riiiiiight. Like sex, race, and ethnicity doesn’t affect the decisions rendered by the white men who’ve dominated the court for all these years. Uh-huh. Yeah.”

    So when i read it, I thought “Wow, if white judges have really been doing that it’s terribly racist.” So I responded that you were accusing white judges of racism, which you called a straw man. Really, it was a misunderstanding–since you evidently don’t think white male judges are racists/sexists. hope that clears it up.

    Last Call: if anyone has the balls (figuratively speaking) to address my original claim with an actual argument, free from insults, please do so now. Juan, Deviant, I’m lookin’ at you. Nojo at least tried. You seem content to insult me.

    -Paul

  • nojojojo

    Paul,

    You’re apparently misunderstanding quite a lot of things.

    This is what I meant when I said you didn’t really want to have a discussion. You’ve come here to pick a fight. Thus your patronizing confrontational stances, your repeated attempts to derail the discussion, your bizarre insistence that you’ve “won” when no one is playing your game in the first place, your efforts to play the martyr being attacked by “you guys” and “you people,” your insistence on using “racism” (scare quotes yours) as defined by lexicographers rather than racism as defined by sociologists, and your demands that we talk about what you want to talk about rather than what we were already discussing.

    No. We’re not having this foolishness here. I said respect, and I meant it. You’re out.

  • lamissjuicyfruit

    Colon- izer behavior has many faces.Colon,as in Cristobal Colon AKA Cristofer Columbus,was somebody who went where he was not invited and permanently interrupted our ancestors conversations with slavery and disease.Mr.Petulant White Man is enacting deep historical themes.Meanwhile,Juan,I wish I could giggle like a school girl sometimes, instead of rage like a ghetto girl.That is why it is important to maintain safe spaces where we can catch our breath.I am so relieved that our Black president has nominated a Puerto Rican woman for the Supreme court.However, I’m cautious about getting too happy, because you don’t have to be white to engage in colonizer behavior.

  • nojojojo

    For all: here’s a good followup analysis of the latest racist stupidity re Sotomayor. And if you’ve been watching Maddow, this one’s old, but it contains a good listing of the stupidity.

    Heeeeere we go. (Once upon a time not long ago… DAMN!! Now that’s stuck in my head.)

  • Paul is sort of useful, in that it’s good to keep aware that he really exists — that we don’t just make him up — but on the other hand, I’m glad he’s gone. Reading him is too dull on the one hand and too hateful (it fills me with hate, I mean) on the other.

    Also, living here in Arkansas, I don’t need reminding so much, even if most people are too polite to be as blatant as he was.

  • Paul, you might be interested in reading this debate. I took a lot from it, and one of the things covered is that dictionary definitions of racism don’t really hack into the meaning/existence of racism… and also it breaks down racism along different lines (institutional, etc.). The comments really give a lot to it, too…

    The reason I reject that black people in America and other disadvantaged, oppressed, and marginalized people in the world cannot be Racist is that Racism is not just prejudice or discrimination. Though some may point to the dictionary and say “Yes, it is,” or “Yes, it can be,” I bring up another point from the Defining Racism essay: dictionary definitions are short and unambiguous, as they should be. You can’t, in a dictionary definition, include all of the discussion we’ve had here about Racism the institution, the process, and everything else. That’s not what a dictionary is for. The dictionary is a basic tool, but it is not (pardon me) ultimately definitive. And it’s not always completely correct. The dictionary isn’t free of bias or influence, and is (again, pardon me) usually put together by white people. It is a simple tool, at best, and this is not a simple issue.

    More accurate definitions of Racism, ones that describe what goes on in the real world, include:

    Racism is essentially a conscious or unconscious belief in the inherent superiority of one race over another\others and thereby the right by that race to use power to dominate. (ABW)

    I think as someone who is white and female, I cannot define racism accurately to someone who is black and female. At that point, I think it’s important to sit back and listen to what is said, and what is experienced – that is BEYOND what you and I see.

  • Chuck B.

    Thanks for getting him out Nojo!!!!!

  • Penzoate

    I think Paul made important points about why he disagrees with ABW definition of racism. He made no insults against the people he disagreed with and yet you kick him off the msg. boards just because he disagrees with your arguments about why Sotomayor made her alleged racist claims. I don’t have much knowledge on sotomayor judicial career as a judge, but I think that comment she made about white males was racist, but I would not automatically disqualify her until I examined her judicial record as judge. We’ve all made stupid statements before. However, your ethnicity and gender and how you grew up doesn’t apply to being a Supreme Court justice. Hopefully for her sake, she will tell the public what she said about white males was stupid and racist, and that her personal views will not come in conflict with how she will interpret the US constitution .

    I am a black women , and I think black people and other minorities can be hold racist views just like any white person. Whether you attribute positive characteristics or negative characteristics to all members of one race, you are being racist when you don’t judge a person as an individual rather than a collective.

    • nojojojo

      Penzoate,

      I’m going to disagree with a few of your points, but then I’m really tired of talking about Paul, so I’m moving on after this. Also, Paul’s no longer here to engage, so it’s not really fair of us to keep “talking to” him.

      I think Paul made important points about why he disagrees with ABW definition of racism.

      That doesn’t really matter. As I told him, it’s a derailing of the conversation, which is about Sotomayor; we’re not discussing the definition of racism right now.

      He made no insults against the people he disagreed with

      Yes, he did actually.

      and yet you kick him off the msg. boards just because he disagrees with your arguments about why Sotomayor made her alleged racist claims.

      Uh, no. I kicked him off this blog because he was making abusive and patronizing statements, attempting to derail the conversation (and sadly, succeeding, since we’re now talking about him more than we are the subject), and basically using all the usual tactics in trying to control and suppress the discussion. ABW is meant to be a safe space where PoC can talk about things without having to interrupt the conversation and constantly explain the basics to clueless white people. It is not a podium on which Rush Limbaugh’s sycophants can parrot their Dear Leader’s talking points, or in any other way turn this into a white male-dominated space. As I’ve said repeatedly, I welcome discussion and disagreement, but it must be done in a way that respects the site’s goals and participants.

      I don’t have much knowledge on sotomayor judicial career as a judge, but I think that comment she made about white males was racist, but I would not automatically disqualify her until I examined her judicial record as judge. We’ve all made stupid statements before. However, your ethnicity and gender and how you grew up doesn’t apply to being a Supreme Court justice. Hopefully for her sake, she will tell the public what she said about white males was stupid and racist, and that her personal views will not come in conflict with how she will interpret the US constitution .

      I think Melissa’s comment (further in the thread) which brings context to the statement on white males is relevant here. Sotomayor points out, as I pointed out (snarkily) in the OP, that many white male Supreme Court justices have allowed their race and ethnicity to influence their judicial decisions, often in ways that support and maintain patriarchy and white supremacy in this country. This is racism, and we’re still living with the effects of those decisions today. Sotomayor’s perspective could prevent such racism, so how is that racist? Or stupid, for that matter?

      As I said before, everyone has personal views, often rooted in identity issues like race and gender, which dictate how they react to the world. This is why we have 9 Supreme Court justices instead of just 1 — because they’re likely to have a diversity of opinions on how to interpret the law, based on these views. So what’s smarter — pretending that these views don’t exist, even though the very structure of the court acknowledges them? Or being aware of the influence of race and gender, especially when making decisions that affect millions of lives?

      I am a black women , and I think black people and other minorities can be hold racist views just like any white person. Whether you attribute positive characteristics or negative characteristics to all members of one race, you are being racist when you don’t judge a person as an individual rather than a collective.

      OK, look. The definition of racism that is used on this site is not up for debate. Frankly, we’ve already discussed it to death, in some cases years ago; go read through the archives. I’m fairly certain everything you might say about this issue has already been said, repeatedly. We’ve got more important things to focus on now.

      You don’t have to like it, but you do need to acknowledge the prejudice + power definition if you’re going to continue to talk here. The purpose of this site is to combat racism. You cannot do that unless you understand it, on more than the superficial, oversimplified dictionary-definition level.

  • Melissa

    Paul,

    While you may not have intended to “control what the audience sees,” you have still fallen into that trap. Here’s a little more of Sotomayor’s Berkeley comment:

    “Justice [Sandra Day] O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure….that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.”

    Have a little more, even:

    “Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group…. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown [v. Board of Education.]”

    And a bit more:

    “However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.”

    From here: http://womensissues.about.com/b/2009/05/27/the-racist-uproar-over-sotomayors-wise-latina-comment.htm

    Now that you have some context (namely, Sotomayor is explaining how a Latina would have a better understanding of concerns of POC and women than a white male, and could therefore reasonably be thought to make a better judgment in a case that dealt specifically with those concerns), perhaps you can see the whole picture and check yourself.

  • Tarrin

    (White girl here. I’ve been reading along for awhile, and I hope it’s all right to comment; if it isn’t, I’ll be happy to back off. It’s your space. I’m just a guest who isn’t sure if it’s all right to take off her shoes or not.)

    I am always confused by other white folks insisting on using the word racism to describe what, if their assertions are true, would be called prejudice. Honestly, it isn’t as though there isn’t a word to describe individual feelings and individual actions against members of certain groups. I guess it’s that “discrimination” doesn’t pack the same punch as “racism,” and God knows we can’t ever concede a potential advantage in a discussion…

    In any case, why is there even an argument about the value of different experiences? It’s one thing to interpret the law, letter for letter and word for word. You could be a Vulcan and do that. It’s another thing entirely to understand the way the written law plays out in real life–its unintended consequences and hidden costs. I’m not saying that Sotomayor necessarily has that ability, but I think it’s just as important to understand the consequences of the law as it is to understand the letter of it.

  • penzoate

    I respectfully disagree with your definition of racism because to me, racism is nothing more than an ideology held by a group of people who believe that there race is inherently different from other races of people. So by your definition of racism , the KKK and the neo-nazi’s would not be considered racist since they don’t hold any real power in political and business arenas?(not any more anyway) But I’ll go with your definition. However considered this scenario, a group of black people beating up on one white person while screaming racial epithets at him/her; That scenario would surely be considered racist since the blacks people in the scenario I just describe possess the real power, would it not.

    As far as the racial \ethnic and genders being factors in how you interpret , I would even want the racial background of a person being secondary factors and deciding how you interpret the law, let alone being primary factors. your racial/ ethnic background don’t really influence the mindset you hold anymore than a LARGE pimple or a mole on your face. It is whether or not you adhere to a set of principles, whether they be rationailism, libertarianism, or the exact opposite. That what truly counts.

    I don’t support any supreme court justice, whether they are sotomayor, o’connor or the white justices of the past who interpret the laws based on a racial ideology they held, to be supreme court justices

    • Tarrin

      Penzaote, power in this discussion doesn’t refer to power in a single situation. It refers to power in a wider sense–societal power, if you will. Once the white person in your scenario gets away from the group of black people, they re-enter a world where they have the power–where they get better deals in real estate, where they aren’t suspected of crimes simply for existing, where they don’t have to be representatives of their race every moment of every day. A white person can escape from a situation where they don’t have power. A black person can’t. That’s what we’re talking about.

      In any case, for the sake of precision in the discussion, and so we don’t keep getting sidetracked by this, can we agree that “prejudice” means discrimination on an individual or small-group basis, and that “racism” equals discrimination on a wide scale, plus wide-scale societal power? The two separate terms can get rid of a lot of confusion in discussion. We’re also guests in the ABW’s space, and she’s said before that that’s how those terms are to be used here.

      It is whether or not you adhere to a set of principles, whether they be rationailism, libertarianism, or the exact opposite.

      Actually, it was my impression that political beliefs aren’t really supposed to go into interpreting the laws… Obviously in the real world, they do, but why is it that experience as a person of color, or experience as a woman, or any other experience in the range of life in this country is a bad thing in a judge?

  • LaDonna

    I will comment only by saying I am learning a great deal about how I can intelligently address the issue of Sotomayor supposed racism. It informs my argument to hear different opinions especially when they clash with mine. I need to reread all that was said including “his” contribution to the discussion. Thank you all for the education. This is why I enjoy this blog. I never leave empty.

  • Melissa

    Penzoate, your example is false because the view is too narrow. Consider the Jena 6 case and the Frank Jude Jr. case: in the first, a group of black teens beat up a white teen and were charged with attempted murder. In the second, several white police officers beat a black man nearly to death, and were found innocent of all charges by the jury. Incidentally, in both of these cases, the majority of jurors were white. Racism works in these cases to minimize societal impact of violence on whites, while maximizing the same on blacks. It is not simply a matter of who has power in the moment, because there are always societal repercussions. To bring it back to Sotomayor’s Berkeley speech, which you did not read if you still believe it to be racist, if the jury in the Jude case had been composed of people whose family members had been beaten by cops, do you think those cops would have been found innocent? If the Jena jury had been composed of people whose black children had been targeted violently by white children in the past, do you think the jury would have agreed to attempted murder charges?

    Sotomayor’s point is that all human experience should be considered by those in the position to judge, and the best way to know what human experience even exists to be considered is to have judges with wide ranges of human experience. And, yes, laws are created and changed due to human experience: no one challenges a law based on intellectual curiosity. We change, for example, laws that say whites and blacks can’t marry based on whites and blacks wanting to marry. So maybe we can get rid of discriminatory laws without it having to be such a huge battle, because someone up there on the bench has had an experience that leads them to say, “Hey, that isn’t right.”

  • Melissa

    Also, if you’re genuinely concerned about her alleged “race-based approach” to interpreting laws, have a link that shows how her record in no way supports that allegation:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/judge-sotomayor-and-race-results-from-the-full-data-set/

  • penzoate

    The cops should have been fired for beating up Frank Jude and they should have been prosecuted. Personally, I think police brutality is a big problem in our society and I think police officers generally prefer to overpower there victims rather than enforced the law. Even though poor people and racial minorities are more likely to be subjected to police brutality than rich or whites, I don’t think police brutality would ceased if there were more non-white police officers.

    “Consider the Jena 6 case and the Frank Jude Jr. case: in the first, a group of black teens beat up a white teen and were charged with attempted murder. In the second, several white police officers beat a black man nearly to death, and were found innocent of all charges by the jury. Incidentally, in both of these cases, the majority of jurors were white. Racism works in these cases to minimize societal impact of violence on whites, while maximizing the same on blacks. It is not simply a matter of who has power in the moment, because there are always societal repercussions. To bring it back to Sotomayor’s Berkeley speech, which you did not read if you still believe it to be racist, if the jury in the Jude case had been composed of people whose family members had been beaten by cops, do you think those cops would have been found innocent? If the Jena jury had been composed of people whose black children had been targeted violently by white children in the past, do you think the jury would have agreed to attempted murder charges?”

    I don’t know. The Whites who have sliced up James Bryd’s body are were prosecuted and charged with murder. 2 faced the death penalty, and one is serving a life imprisonment sentence. All five of Megan Williams perprators are facing charges that amount to 35 years in prison. There are some discrepancies in the drug sentences laws between crack users and cocaine users, but people like Maxine waters and Jesse Jackson pushed for harsher penalties against crack when the crack epidemic was at its peak

    The Jena 6 are no angels like some members of the media has painted them to be and I don’t see them as victims. They repeatedly kicked the soul out of a kid even when that kid had not perpetuated any racial slurs towards any of them or threatened to harm any of them. The charges towards the Jena 6 kids were dropped to aggravated battery charges. What do you think were the intent of the Jena Six kids if they knocked a person unconscious if it was not murder? Justin Barker was brutally attacked so badly that he had to be sent to the hospital. The conflict between the Jena Six and Justin barker was not just your typical schoolyard fight. Usually the victims of school yard fights are not knocked out unconsciously and need to be transported to a hospital on an ambulance for treatment. The reason why there were no black people on the Jury of Jena was because there no black people responded to the jury summonses .

    I still have missed feelings about whether or not Sotomayor will interpret the Constitution the way the founding fathers intended to to interpret the US constitution(regardless of their actions.) In one case, (Pappas v. Giuliani ), she argued that the police had no right to terminate a person from the police department if the person transmitted racist speech via email, because he is protected by the 1st amendment, which is admirable. However, in another case, (Doninger v. Niehoff) , she favored the school decision to barred a student from running for student government because the student had written an unfavorable opinion of the school principal, even though she had written the opinion of the principal outside of the school.

    She does not seemed to be a fan of the second amendment. For example , in the case Maloney v. Cuomo, she dimissed Maloney statement that being arrested for carrying Nunchakus was in clear violation of the 2nd amendment .

    “y. We change, for example, laws that say whites and blacks can’t marry based on whites and blacks wanting to marry”

    Those miscegenation laws created by state and local governments and jim crow laws were in clear direct violation of the 14th amendment and they should have been challenged by our supreme court justices but sadly for most of the 20th century they were not.

    “So maybe we can get rid of discriminatory laws without it having to be such a huge battle, because someone up there on the bench has had an experience that leads them to say, “Hey, that isn’t right.”

    Again , the racial/ethnic makeup of a person will not /should not determined how you interpret the law. And not every latina women shares the same experiences with Sonia Sotomayor just like every white person does not share the same experiences with every white justice on the supreme court. You might be surprised to find that there are some blacks that share more experiences with members of a different race more so than members of their own race and vice versa.

  • penzoate

    “Penzaote, power in this discussion doesn’t refer to power in a single situation. It
    refers to power in a wider sense–societal power, if you will.”
    Power is power, no matter what situation you happened to be in, whether that situation is temporary or permanent. If I were a white guy/gal and a group of non-whites were attacking me and yelling racial slurs at me while beating the crap out of me, I am going to say act committed against me by the non-whites were motivated by racism.

    “Once the white person
    in your scenario gets away from the group of black people, they re-enter a world
    where they have the power–where they get better deals in real estate, where they
    aren’t suspected of crimes simply for existing, where they don’t have to be
    representatives of their race every moment of every day. A white person can escape
    from a situation where they don’t have power. A black person can’t. ”

    How do you know that is the experience for every white? You know, not every white is able to buy a house or get a loan from a bank. Just asked those people up in Appalachian .Furthermore, there were no that were purposely created to giving out loans to whites simply because they were white but there were loan banks that were solely created to give out loans to non-whites. I know there have been cases where black people were singled out as a suspect of a crime scene just because they are black, but those kinds of scenarios are the exception , not the norm , and therefore , those kinds of horrific experience won’t be attached to the experiences of most black people.

    “Actually, it was my impression that political beliefs aren’t really supposed to go
    into interpreting the laws… Obviously in the real world, they do, but why is it
    that experience as a person of color, or experience as a woman, or any other
    experience in the range of life in this country is a bad thing in a judge?”

    Actually , I want a supreme court justice to a particular ideology that is rooted in reason , rationalism and liberty the way liberty is interpreted in the US constitution, not any liberal or conservative mindset.

    Your experience as a PoC or as a women is neither a good thing or bad thing, it just has absolutely nothing to do with how a judge interprets the law based on how the US constitution is written.

    • nojojojo

      Penzoate,

      I think you’re a little misinformed about history, and very misinformed about legality.

      Until late in the 20th century, there were no set-aside and “affirmative action” programs for people of color. All such programs, throughout the 300 or so years of this country’s history, were exclusively intended for whites. Even in recent history, the number and scale of programs meant for whites only dwarfs the pittance offered to PoC through Affirmative Action (which has primarily benefitted white women, note). One of the most devastating (for PoC) recent programs benefitting whites was the GI Bill, a truly enormous social welfare program making it easy and affordable for poor soldiers returning from WWII to go to college, buy homes, start businesses, etc. But this benefitted mainly white soldiers; the results of this linger today, as the descendants of white soldiers now have several generations of wealth accrued from that first family home, and the descendants of black soldiers are in most cases still poor and struggling to catch up.

      And similar programs which disproportionately benefit whites still exist. College legacy programs, for example; affirmative action on the college level was modeled on these.

      As for the law, it has never been rooted purely in reason and rationalism. Race is so embedded in the ways that the law has been interpreted in this country over the years that it’s now enshrined in the precedent caselog. The Supreme Court in particular bases its decisions on precedent, so given how many of those precedents reflect racial bias on the part of the white males who decided them, I think it’s crucial that all future Supreme Court justices have an understanding of racism (and sexism, and other dominance paradigms). Without this understanding, they’re likely to perpetuate this historical racism, not avoid it.

      You’re right in that being a person of color does not automatically give Sotomayor an understanding of racism. (Clarence Thomas is proof of that.) But I view Sotomayor’s comments on race, and membership in La Raza, as proof that she does acknowledge the existence of racism and has taken steps to understand it. So to my mind that makes her more qualified than a white man who has not undertaken such steps. Which is pretty much what Sotomayor said herself.

      • penzoate

        What did I write in my posts that you considered racist? I did discussed how a felt about Sonia Sotomayor: “I still have missed feelings about whether or not Sotomayor will interpret the Constitution the way the founding fathers intended to to interpret the US constitution(regardless of their actions.) In one case, (Pappas v. Giuliani ), she argued that the police had no right to terminate a person from the police department if the person transmitted racist speech via email, because he is protected by the 1st amendment, which is admirable. However, in another case, (Doninger v. Niehoff) , she favored the school decision to barred a student from running for student government because the student had written an unfavorable opinion of the school principal, even though she had written the opinion of the principal outside of the school.

        She does not seemed to be a fan of the second amendment. For example , in the case Maloney v. Cuomo, she dimissed Maloney statement that being arrested for carrying Nunchakus was in clear violation of the 2nd amendment .”(quote from one of my previous posts)

  • Tarrin

    How do you know that is the experience for every white? You know, not every white is able to buy a house or get a loan from a bank. Just asked those people up in Appalachia. Furthermore, there were no that were purposely created to giving out loans to whites simply because they were white but there were loan banks that were solely created to give out loans to non-whites.

    I don’t know the experience of every white. I’m not talking about every specific white person in the world–I’m talking about the experience of white people in general, as a group. There are always exceptions, but they don’t override a society-wide phenomenon. But here’s the thing: there are cases where it’s difficult for white people to get loans and housing. I’m not saying that being white makes anything a walk in the park. While location, credit history, income, etc can make it harder to obtain financial services, simply being black adds another dimension of difficulty. If a black person and a white person walk into a bank and request a loan with identical credit histories, income levels, etc, the white person is much more likely to get a lower interest rate.

    Someone (my apologies, I don’t remember who it was) wrote something about societal power that made a lot of sense to me. The gist of it was, imagine you’re on a road. You and I, penzoate, are both white. We have good walking shoes, and there are places on the road where we can stop to get water and trail mix. Maybe we’re poor–that puts bumps and detours and mud sinks in our road. Maybe we’re gay–that brings on a thunderstorm. Maybe we’re disabled, maybe we’ve been abused, maybe we’re mentally ill. But no matter what happens to us on that road, we have good walking shoes. We don’t even think about it, because we expect that everyone else will have them too. We don’t consider how blisters or bone spurs will slow down someone who has to walk with them. People of color start on the road with bad shoes, or without places they can stop to get food and supplies. And all of the “maybes” that could happen to us can happen to them too. They have a disadvantage that we will never experience–and then, because we don’t stop to think about their shoes, we think they’re just complaining or being lazy when it takes them longer to walk. Loans and banks for people of color were created because they were necessary.

  • penzoate

    “I think you’re a little misinformed about history, and very misinformed about legality.

    Until late in the 20th century, there were no set-aside and “affirmative action” programs for people of color. All such programs, throughout the 300 or so years of this country’s history, were exclusively intended for whites. Even in recent history, the number and scale of programs meant for whites only dwarfs the pittance offered to PoC through Affirmative Action (which has primarily benefitted white women, note). One of the most devastating (for PoC) recent programs benefitting whites was the GI Bill, a truly enormous social welfare program making it easy and affordable for poor soldiers returning from WWII to go to college, buy homes, start businesses, etc. But this benefitted mainly white soldiers; the results of this linger today, as the descendants of white soldiers now have several generations of wealth accrued from that first family home, and the descendants of black soldiers are in most cases still poor and struggling to catch up.”

    Yes it is hypocritical for whites to criticized affirmative action , when they failed to criticized that there were federal housing loans from the federal government given to whites, (which is unconstitutional btw) and black people were denied housing loans. I have mixed feelings about affirmative action. I want affirmative action to be applied to government bureaucracies and companies who say they hire people based on their merit/work experience , yet turned down a high proportion of qualified black applicants. Yet, I don’t think affirmative action should applied to companies that have no history of discriminating against black people and women. From a libertarian perspective, I believe a private company has a right to discriminate against any individual they desire but not government agencies just like I believe a person has the right to kick another person out of their own house because of there race. Overall , I don’t believe welfare programs should be extended to help any group, whether they be white or black, rich or poor, young or old, because the US government forces you to finance someone’s standard of living at the point of the gun and that goes against liberty, IMO.

    “But this benefitted mainly white soldiers; the results of this linger today, as the descendants of white soldiers now have several generations of wealth accrued from that first family home, and the descendants of black soldiers are in most cases still poor and struggling to catch up.”

    There are many black people who are in prominent high ranking military positions. Colin Powell, and many others like him.6 percent of the generals are black americans. True that many blacks did not received benefits of the GI bill upon arriving home from WW2, and thankfully blacks soldiers of today are not being discriminated against like they were upon returning home from WW2 and received all of the benefits the GI bill has to offer

    Jewish americans were barred from owning any land , were not allowed to entered in america’s most prestigious universities,jews were not allowed to join certain social clubs or live in certain neighborhoods; yet affirmative action does not apply to them but they manage to become the wealthiest demographic in the country. antisemitism in the United States probably would not have diminished were it not for the publicized atrocities of the HoloCaust .Japanese americans were forced off there land and basically had all of there liberties stripped away from them; yet even though the japanese americans that were in internment camps received compensation from the US government, affirmative action doesn’t apply to them.

    Many minority groups in the United States liked the Jews and the Japanese have faced discrimination, but have not received any benefits from affirmative not just black americans. African immigrants don’t benefit from affirmative action when apply to Universities like Harvard or Yale.

    “As for the law, it has never been rooted purely in reason and rationalism. Race is so embedded in the ways that the law has been interpreted in this country over the years that it’s now enshrined in the precedent caselog. The Supreme Court in particular bases its decisions on precedent, so given how many of those precedents reflect racial bias on the part of the white males who decided them, I think it’s crucial that all future Supreme Court justices have an understanding of racism (and sexism, and other dominance paradigms). Without this understanding, they’re likely to perpetuate this historical racism, not avoid it.”

    I never said that justices were used rationalism and reason to interpret the US constitution. I said that we should as a society should support justices who make interpret the law based on reason and rationalism, not counter past racism with reverse racism. The amendments of the US constitution, are anti-racist and anti-sexist, so there is no need for any justice to support race-based laws. The only job of a supreme court justice is to make sure the 14th and 19th amendment are not being violated and many justices have failed to do just that.

    “You’re right in that being a person of color does not automatically give Sotomayor an understanding of racism. (Clarence Thomas is proof of that.) But I view Sotomayor’s comments on race, and membership in La Raza, as proof that she does acknowledge the existence of racism and has taken steps to understand it. So to my mind that makes her more qualified than a white man who has not undertaken such steps. Which is pretty much what Sotomayor said herself.”

    How do you know Clarence Thomas does not understand racism? Have you looked at accounts of Clarence Thomas confessing the racial discrimination he faced as grew up ? Or do you believe he does not understand racism simply because he doesn’t support affirmative action? He does not support affirmative action because he is an originalist(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Originalist) ; Meaning he does not support any programs or policy that is based on a racial preference since there is nothing in the US constitution written about racial preferences.

    I think the best way to fight racism is to exposed companies that are practicing racism and file lawsuits against companies that discriminate against people based on there race even though they might say in there contract that they hire people exclusively based on merit/work experience; If the companies are exposed for racial practices, customers would no longer want to shopped at that company and other companies would not want to do business with that company since they would be perceived as racist; instead of writing laws or enacting a policy that forces companies to hire people based on a person’s racial makeup.

    • nojojojo

      Penzoate,

      Ah, now I get it. I was wondering why you were so obsessed with individual acts and unwilling to see the big picture.

      We’re going to have to just agree to disagree here, then, because I view libertarianism (as described and practiced by most libertarians I’ve met, including you) as fundamentally incompatible with fighting racism.

      Here’s the thing, though. You’re still arguing with the definition of racism, even though I told you that was off-topic for this conversation. You’re also espousing some support for racism in the process — and since this is an anti-racist site, y’know, I gotta tell you, that shit ain’t welcome here.

      I don’t really care what your beliefs are, and I don’t care whether you’re a black woman (if you are) or a white man. What I do care about is that this discussion stays on-topic, and this blog remains a safe space. Find a way to talk about Sonia Sotomayor without promoting racism — this site’s definition of racism — or I’ll have to break out the banhammer again.

  • NC

    Correction Re: Sotomayor:

    There is a lot of misinformation regarding her ruling in the New Haven case as the case itself is inappropriately portrayed in the mass media. To hear Fox “News” talk about it, the firefighter test was thrown out because not enough minority candidates scored highly enough which amounts to “reverse discrimination”.

    Paul Temple regurgitated this talking point at the beginning of this thread, “[Sotomayor] Wrote the 2008 opinion supporting the City of New Haven’s decision to throw out the results of a firefighter promotion exam because almost no minorities qualified for promotions.”

    Here’s a little background. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act serves as the basis for disparate impact theory whereby institutional policies are not judged based upon discriminatory INTENT (almost impossible to prove). Instead, they are judged based upon discriminatory OUTCOMES (something that can be evaluated). This is operationalized by the “4/5ths” rule whereby, if a protected class (racial minorities, women, etc.) is accepted to a job at 80% the rate of non-protected groups (Whites, men, etc), the company is required to demonstrate that its selection criteria are directly related to job performance. If they cannot, they have discriminated against a minority group.

    There is an ideology in the US that if someone scores higher on a test than another person, s/he is necessarily more qualified for a position. Rarely, do people examine whether or not tests or selection criteria have any predictive validity. In the Griggs v. Duke Power (1971), a high school diploma was required to become an employee of Duke Power. While this superficially seems like a reasonable selection criteria, Blacks were significantly less likely than Whites to complete high school. Therefore, it was incumbent upon Duke to show that a high school diploma was related to job performance. They could not, and therefore, they were discriminating against people of color.

    Now, there are legitimate uses of discriminatory criteria. For example, people of color have significantly lower rates of PhD completion than Whites. To the extent that having a PhD is related to the job performance of a college professor, this qualification serves a legitimate purpose even if it does have a discriminatory impact (i.e., it is legal).

    There is no doubt that the New Haven test had a disparate impact against people of color (those advancing were White), so the burden then lay upon the New Haven Fire Department to demonstrate that the test predicts increased performance in leadership positions. To the extent that they could not do it, they were correct to throw out the test results. On a humanitarian level, they still owe something the the fire fighters who dedicated so much time to test preparation, but legally, they made the correct decision.

    The problem with this debate is we’re currently not debating the correct issues. Instead of examining the legality of the test or disparate impacts that occurred, we instead see the pictures of the poor, White fire fighters who have been “racially discriminated against”. This race-baiting trumps all, and serves as another means of silencing meaningful debate on the issue.

  • HoneyBear

    As a woman of color, I can’t help but let my heritage and experiences influence my decisions in my personal life. If someone says something negative/positive about Black people, I have strong feelings and react accordingly. She can only come from the perspective she knows…Hispanic and female. I can totally understand the comment from Judge Sotomayor. She brings a new perspective to the Supreme Court that has been rare in its history. The court has only had two female Justices and no Hispanics at all. I welcome the change.

  • lamissjuicyfruit

    Maybe I’m naive about how much hatred is really in anglo American’s minds.Living and working in a majority Mexican enviroment, I am shocked at the level of sheer idiocy about her race and gender in the English language media.Mean while,is there only one possible view point for a “hispanic woman” to have?I am much further left than Ms.Sotomayor.However,it feels disloyal not to support her in the face of so much prejudice.
    Latinas survive by nurturing each other.Working class Mexican born women say,”she will represent us.” It’s a thrill to imagine someone with our common sense and love for children and elderly people actually in a position of power.So, you don’t like wetbacks?tell it to the judge,cabron.

  • msday

    “that Ms Sotomayor’s comment smacks of racism and that her past actions and remarks may indicate she is unfit to serve as a Supreme Court Justice (Not that other justices are fit, that she is unfit, which is an important distinction.)”

    Ok, Paul, at the risk of sounding like a sell-out, I am going to take your side on this. Why because although, Puerto Ricans are a culturally blended group which includes Africans, whites, Taino and Arowak indians, they have formed a whole new third race. Judging from the recent strife between certain elements of the Latino community against Blacks, and knowing that there are many who don’t like whites as well, I wonder about the statement as well.
    I also think that someone like Michelle Obama or any other black woman would not have been given a free pass, had they stated the same thing. If we would like to level the playing field, we are going to start calling ALL on their racism, sexism and antisemitism. Failing to do so, only serves to create resentment.

  • lamissjuicyfruit

    MsDay, while I disagree that Ms.Sotomayor ‘s comment had the institutionalized power of racism,I definitely agree that a Black woman is some how seen as more threatening than a Latina.Ms.Sotomayor for many years worked toward Puerto Rican legal defense.Yet there haven’t been any magazine covers with her holding an AK.

  • Placebo

    Well, I don’t want to further derail the discussion of Ms. Sotomayor, but I just HAVE to comment on the privileged rants & raves of one Paul Temple.

    Did anybody else almost fall out of their chair when they read the part where he asserted that being an “ugly white male” puts him at a disadvantage? Uh, last tine I checked, ugly white males make up about 90% of the elitist class. In fact, being unattractive (If you’re a man) seems to actually contribute to your success. Paul’s “poor me” routine falls on deaf ears, over here. He is a typical representation of the white boy’s club, with the usual entitlement attitude. Notice how upset he was that attractive women were rejecting him? The very fact that he feels these women owe him any form of attention (just because he’s white & wealthy) speaks volumes about his spoiled, privileged mindset. Men such as him also felt they were entitled to a black woman’s body during the days of slavery. His pro-racism/pro-sexism blatherings literally made my stomach turn. I wished he hadn’t been banned; I’d give him a “debate” alright. He’d limp out of this blog, licking his gaping wounds.

  • Opici Kostra

    That’s mature, opening a discussion about Temple, now when he’s banned from this board and can’t really defend himself. And all just to punch in some low-blows. He made some solid statements regarding Sotomayor and with all that, you decide to comment only on this? Also, don’t imply what other people think or feel. “he feels these women owe him any form of attention” ” Men such as him also felt they were entitled to a black woman’s body during the days of slavery” Now thats some really impressive hate speach with no solid base whatsoever. I don’t miss Temple, but i surely wouldn’t miss you either…

  • nojojojo

    Opici,

    You’re right; it’s not appropriate for us to keep discussing Paul now that he’s been banned from the blog. Nor is it appropriate to jump to conclusions about his personality, motives, and possible alternate-history slaveowner behavior.

    It’s also not appropriate to make ad hominem attacks, as you did with your last post. Mote, eye, beam-plucking. Don’t do that again, OK?

  • Placebo

    Opici: What “solid statements” did Temple make? I saw no such thing. I didn’t imply anything, either. I was commenting on what he said about how attractive women always ignore him. He was clearly complaining about it. I don’t know what your gender is, but I’m female, and when I read things like that, it reminds me of the men I’ve heard calling women “arrogant bitches” when they don’t kiss their butts. It reeks of male privilege.

    nojojojo: Sorry if I went too far, I just couldn’t believe some of the garbage he was saying. Made me so damn angry I could hardly see straight.