Sunday, June 07, 2009

So So Sotomayor

Let us hash out Sonia Sotomayor's controversial statement, not that it's worthy or important but does the media ever give us anything that is?

I just saw a clip of Obama in a limo with some pundit, who when asked if he stopped to watch the talking head shows when he passed by the many TVs in the White House, Obama said, no, he doesn't bother listening to the cable chatter. I chuckled, because when passing by the cable TV covering an Obama speech, I too do not bother to listen to his chatter. Although god knows he is slightly easier on the stomach than GWB.

But back to Sotomayor. Some on the right say her comment is racist. Those on the left say it is not. Supposedly she has made the same/similar statements a few times in her career.

SS:"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."

According to Merriam Webster "wise" is having a deep understanding and the capacity for sound judgement, so contrary to the learned folks above - I believe there can be a universal definition. There are different types of wisdom, as in street wise, common sense wisdom, professional wisdom, etc. You may have an understanding of the street, the common, or a profession - that's not indicative of sound judgment though.

Is Sonia saying that she has street smarts, common sense, and professional wisdom? And a preppy Ivy league white man has less wisdom because he was born privileged? Being born of humble beginnings makes one reach a better conclusion because the humble experience is what ... enriching? Not so much enrichment that anyone wants to stay, and usually sounds good only to those who did not experience all the enrichment poverty can bestow.

What deep understanding does Sotomayor believe her humble Latina beginnings give her? What part of a Bronx childhood in the projects makes one capable of reaching a better conclusion than a white male who was born wealthy, or poor?

Sounds to me as if Sotomayor suggests her gender, ethnicity and social class bestow a richness of experience that the white male can never obtain. Would that also mean Sotomayor cannot understand the American black experience or Native American experience, etc. because she has not experienced them? Oh wait, Obama said her experience gave her "empathy." And we all know white men don't have empathy, in contrast to the inner city projects where humble folks empathize with one another (especially if you're seen moving in a flat screen that can be fenced).

Sotomayor is not Thurgood Marshall, neither is Clarence "Coke Can" Thomas for that matter.

Men and women like Marshall truly fought against the odds - opening doors for Thomas and Sotomayor, and even Obama.

Not to detract from Sotomayor's tenacity and accomplishments, but I do think she is of the generation suffering from affirmative action and "identity politics" - educated, employed, and appointed by white men, and now feeling a teeeensy bit superior to those who saddled the horse she rode into town on. (Put your foot in the stirrups honey, not your mouth.)

I once was a staunch supporter of affirmative action, not anymore. I've seen too many incompetents in positions they should not have been in simply because the white company/organization needed to meet a quota. And termination was out of the question as fear of a lawsuit forever loomed. The only hope was the employee would quit. There is nothing worse than a coworker who smugly knows they have management by the cajones. (Of course white folks also hire white idiots, look at George Bush.)

So, let's stop pretending we are led by people of great ability, "high caliber" men and women. It does not matter if Sotomayor is the best pick or not, black or brown, male or female. Her rulings will be geared to please that faction of the powers that be who groomed her ride.

What we have had for 3+ decades, regardless of race or gender or humble beginnings, are mediocre men and women. But the worst has been The Special Olympics of Politics - special because of the "handicap" of being black, brown, female, gay, or whatever politically unique card they can play, which has nothing to do with capability and talent. I know, I know Bubba you want to say - some of us have it harder.

Yes, and no matter who you are there's always someone else who has/had life harder. I have yet to find that one individual who has had the hardest life on earth, although when found he/she should be rewarded with something.

It's that old, old ploy of the humble public servant, the peanut farmer, the humble actor/comic in shirt sleeves,the blue shirt sleeves rolled up Bush clearing brush on the homestead, fatherless Obama on foodstamps, just like one of us Bubba, and they made it to the top, and by golly even as they gallop away to their new multimillion dollar townhomes or mini mansions and mix it up in New York, Paris, Rome, Brussels, ... in $4000 shoes and limos ... they're gonna do what's best for the commoners ... because they are one of us.

But you know Bubba, in a family as integrated as mine - black, brown, white, mixed, Jew and gentile, atheist and Catholic, millionaires to minimum wage - had Sotomayor made the above comment at the dinner table, we would have laughed long and loud.

Did she just say being a Puerto Rican woman from NY gives her a better understanding of the law? she's joking, right?

Laughing out loud, laughing out loud.


Anonymous said...

I'm laughing because you are laughing.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Sonya completed her continuing women's studies course on "Women Who Run With The Wolves".

Kate-A said...

I do hope "women's studies" have improved since I took them way back when. Such a waste of time concentrated on meandering meaningless writings, groups and workshops, to find the wild creative woman within, often overly focused on vaginas and menstruation and assuring women that big feet and fat butts were the true feminine.

Kind of reminds me of Oprah marketing - getting in touch with the inner ____ (fill in blank), books and CDs at the door.

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