I’ve been following a number of political Twitter people on Twitter lately. Some on the right and some on the left. For the most part the people on the right have really be upsetting me because they go over the top a lot. But today I read a Tweet by Newt Gingrich that got me thinking. He said “Imagine a judicial nominee said "my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman" new racism is no better than old racism”
I mean really just imagine a white man saying that his race and gender better qualified him for a position on the Supreme Court. What would be the reaction? Would he be forced to withdraw his name from consideration? I have no doubt that he would.
Now as I understand it what Judge Sotomayor actually said was a Latina would often "reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." Yes I can see that a person’s life experience would influence how they decide cases. I’m not sure that different always implies better or worse though. Was her statement racist? Would it be racist if a white man said he could “reach a better conclusion than a Latina/black/woman who hasn’t lived the life” I think who many who would agree with Judge Sotomayor on the first statement would be quick to damn the white man for the second statement. Am I wrong? Who would be willing to defend both those cases?
Personally I am not willing to write someone off as a racist on the basis of one statement that I don’t have full context for. It doesn’t matter to me if it is Sotomayer or some white guy. I want to know context and I want to look at a broader history. But if I don’t hear some Democrats expressing some concern about that statement and asking some tough questions about it I will view them negatively.
I should say that at least one left wing friend of mine once insisted that only people with power could be racist. That a person who was out of power (say a black person or a Hispanic person) could never logically be called racist. I find that argument preposterous and completely lacking in credibility. But you know I would also hardly call a Federal judge powerless or less powerful than the average person of any ethnic/racial/gender group no matter their own race/gender/ethnicity. People of all races, gender, religion and ethnic background can be racists. We don’t want racists in positions of power no matter who they are.
I’m predisposed to like Sotomayor because she was first appointed by George H W Bush and she’s from New York. Yeah some bias there. I am impressed with much of her personal story. Her race and gender are pretty much meaningless to me. For the most part though I see myself as being open-minded on this nomination. As with any appointee to the Supreme Court I expect the Senate to do a pretty through and non-biased review before confirmation. I always hate to see these things fall on pure party lines.