Thursday, July 16, 2009

White male Republican Senators worry about racism and sexism

The white male Republican Senators have had a lot to say about racism and sexism during the confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor. Apparently they think the only remaining bias in this country is reverse racism by minorities against whites and sexism by woman against men. Listen to Senator Lindsey Graham pretend that Sotomayor had claimed that Latino women always make wiser decisions than white men (something she did not say):

This wise Latino comment has been talked about a lot. But I can just tell you one thing: If I had said anything remotely like that, my career would have been over.

Graham and the other Republican Senators have been lecturing Sotomayor that this wise Latina comment which she made in several speeches makes them worry she will bring bias to her interpretation of the Constitution. In response to that my brother Dan from Rockford wrote:

The GOP senators questioning Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor are being very disingenuous or else they haven’t the grasp of history that one would expect of a United States Senator. To make any sense of the line of questioning these Senators are pursuing, we must, like them, accept that men from a strictly Western European heritage have a neutral perspective. These senators must believe, or pretend to believe, that all other groups—all women and any man with a “minority” family background—have a clouded view or perspective of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Our Founding Fathers, who were only those men in this country coming form a Western European background, believed that Native Americans, Mexican Americans. African Americans, all women, and the Irish were mentally inferior to white men and thus created laws reflecting their belief. We now know that no group is mentally inferior to any other, yet our Founding Fathers had such a cultural prejudice that they could not see the obvious. They could not understand, for example, that women did indeed have the mental ability to deal with business, higher education, and politics. These Founding Fathers made laws and judicial decisions that a girl had no legal status separate from her father as she grew up and no rights or legal status separate from her husband after she married. If a woman’s husband died, she was under the “protection” of her son if he was of age. If a woman’s husband abused her and her children and she was forced to flee, she took only the clothes she was wearing. All the money she had earned during her marriage, all of her household, and her children belonged to her husband and she could not take any of that away.

The winning of civil and political rights by each of these persecuted groups has been DIRECTLY related and proportional to each group’s involvement in public discourse, voting, political representation, and membership in the judiciary. These GOP senators, therefore, must be ignorant or dishonest to claim that men from a Western European heritage have the ideal or unimpaired perspective of our Constitution.

That is, of course, unless these GOP senators are TRULY CONSERVATIVE and believe that we should fall back to historic beliefs that would take away from women, racial groups, and the Irish their right to vote and enjoy equal protection under the laws of the land.


jonathan said...

Well written. I wouldn't say that her race or sex precludes her of a Justice position.

tacky said...

Did you hear Pat Buchannan's rant on Rachel Maddow's show last night? He is a prime example of why some white males don't get it. Just as some of the GOP Senators don't gt it. Rick Sanchez of CNN interviews several Latino "wise" ( four of them with degrees, including law) understood exactly what Sotomayor meant in her remarks to the students. The women said they were often mistaken for secretaries or staff help by white males. Some white males live in a world of white privilege and are totally unaware of how their language and misinterpretations afffect their behvior and conclusions about people who don't look like them. Pat Buchannan and Charles Kruthammer are outstanding examples.

Jay said...

I am late to this discussion, but like the trend of the remarks. In the first week of August, John McCain has tried to separate his admiration for Judge Sotomayer's personal story with a claim that her judicial stance precludes him from voting for her. Watching Justices Alito and Roberts, it is difficult to argue that a ossified white male is superior to a wise Latina when ruling on discrimination. And while the NRA is threatening to work against Senators who vote for her, many Latinos are noting who votes against.

In short, when the Republicans sowed the wind of a "Southern Strategy" by appealing to religious conservatives, white racists, and nativists, they risked losing everyone else. By casting the vote on Judge Sotomayer as one of judicial conservatism of the most reactionary kind, they do nothing to change the fault line that they fell on the wrong side of in November of 2008.