Monday, June 8, 2009

Enough already on the racism defending racism

I have no problems with scrutinizing the Supreme Court nominee - in fact, it is incredibly neccessary. Her words, her speeches, her judgements should be combed through as much as possible so the American public knows exactly who and what we are getting for a lifetime appointment of Supreme Court Justice. Disclaimer: I am not convinced yet she's the right pick - I still want to see a whole lot more about her.

But enough already with the "She can't be unbiased because she's a Latina."

This strikes a very personal cord with me, and probably with a whole lot of minority populations, including women in professional settings. It is a common accusation to throw at someone who is not with the status quo of whatever position they are trying to get.

I heard this argument played out several years ago with regard to Native anthropologists. It was argued that Native people could not judge Native anthropology and archeology without bias, and therefore were not ideal to be working on Native anthropology and archeology projects. As if nearly the whole history of anthropology hadn't been based off of one race and gender's views and assertions, and that shouldn't be something we look at.

I'm fine with scrutinizing Sotomayors words about race, interviewing her about what she means, picking out the whole text of things she says (and not just the two second sound-byte) regarding, well, anything and everything. There are many basing their assertions of her prejudices on her words and judgemets. But to base the argument about however future judgements might go only based on her race is breathtaking in its weighty double standard.

For a few hundred years we haven't questioned at all whether a white male judge can fairly judge between a white male and anyone he is facing in court. For some reason, a latina, a Native person, a black man or Asian woman can't make those decisions objectively - only white men can? I think we would find, should we care to look not even that far back, that there are more than a few examples of just how biased white men can be. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we fought a pretty big war here in this country based on the biases and prejudices of white men.

I don't claim that minorities are more unbiased and fair - only that no race is more or less objective than the other. So get that part of the argument out of the whole deal, and unclutter the discussion for much more valid arguments.

And on a similar note, stay off the double standards for her now infamous statement in the first place! I've actually heard many, many times now, "If Alito made similar remarks, he would never have made it."

Uh... he DID make similar remarks. And he was praised for them.


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