Judge Sotomayor a racist? Talk about the pot calling the kettl

Article looks at the hypocrisy of those who call Judge Sonia Sotomayor a racist while ignoring the racist history of the Supreme Court and America in general. Judge Sonia Sotomayor made history by becoming the first Latina to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). I did not expect to become as emotional as I did as I watched President Obama introduce her. For the many (not all) Latinos who support her, I assume that this is almost similar to the feeling that we as African Americans had with Obama’s DNC victory. I just know that it felt great to see the diversity of Obama’s administration from Biden to Obama to Sotomayor. While President George W. Bush had great diversity in his cabinet, I did not see diversity of thought so that’s why this is different. In any event, within an hour of my joy at Sotomayor’s nomination, I quickly had to move from offense to defense as the republican attack machine quickly went into action.

From former presidential candidates like Mitt Romney to Rush Limbaugh, Judge Sotomayor has been called everything from a sexist to a racist. At the heart of the accusations is a comment she made several years ago at UC Berkeley when she said “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.” With this comment, an entire career has been marred. New campaigns are being launched to destroy this woman and compare her to former KKK members like David Duke. I can’t say I’m surprised by these accusations because we know that the Republican party is still grasping at straws to pin something on President Obama and his actions. What we cannot allow, however, is to let these detractors forget their own racist past as well as that of the Supreme Court.

Critics of Sotomayor speak to her biases as if the Supreme Court has always held the best interests of everyone in the country at heart and not just white males. This is despite the fact that only 4 of the 110 justices over the years have been non-white males. If this is the case, let’s look at more of Sotomayor’s comments from that same speech. She also stated in that speech that “Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case.” Let us not also forget the battle for civil rights in this country and how so many cases were thrown out from what seemed to be not a supreme court, but a supremacist court. Such was the case with the Dred Scott decision of 1857 that declared blacks could not be U.S. citizens as well as the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896 that upheld separate but equal facilities in America.

Cases like these highlight how the Supreme Court was used to retain the white male racist and sexist power structure in America. Talk about affirmative action. To somehow compare or connect Sotomayor to this history is ridiculous at best. If Limbaugh, et al, want to talk about racists, they can simply look at the histories of politicians such as Jeff Sessions and Senator Byrd (a democrat) who are still serving in office now. This is indeed tragic and we can’t let this go by without vigorous defense of Sotomayor. It’s not like she called someone a nappy headed ho. Had she done that, Imus(t) conclude she would have been a shoe-in for her nomination with republicans.

While there are many white male Supreme Court justices who have helped to remove some of the most discriminatory rulings of the past, we cannot reread American history with rose-colored glasses. I don’t agree entirely with the wording Sotomayor used, however, I am in agreement with the overall tone of her speech, which most people won’t read because we unfortunately live in a society where we make up our minds quickly based on one sentence and change them slowly when lifelong facts are revealed. I guess this is the price to pay for living in a microwave society but we need more of a slow cooker approach on judging the judge as well as American history overall.

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