Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who Is Worse: Sotomayor or Imus?

Remember when Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos"? A crass comment, to be sure. But Imus was a "shock jock." Making crass remarks was his job. And it wasn't a comment Imus had prepared in advance -- it was an off-the-cuff attempt at humor. The very same kind of "shock" humor Imus had practiced for decades.

But uttering those infamous words proved to be the downfall of Don Imus. The outrage was universal. Although he was almost immediately suspended from his job, that wasn't enough. They wanted his head. Nothing short of an outright firing would satisfy the morally-outraged, "anti-racist" crowd. Obama himself called for Imus to be fired. Obama explained:
He didn't just cross the line. He fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America. The notions that as young African-American women -- who I hope will be athletes -- that that somehow makes them less beautiful or less important. It was a degrading comment.

And so Imus was fired. His career was taken from him, he was publicly humiliated, and now he's got cancer, which he claims was caused by the stress of his public ordeal.

By comparison, Judge Sotomayor seems to be getting a pass for her racist comment that Hispanic female judges are inherently "better" than white male judges. In Sotomayor's words, "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."

There is simply no excusing that remark. And there was nothing off-the-cuff about it. Sotomayor delivered that line during a prepared speech at University of California, Berkeley. So she can't claim it was a slip of the tongue. What's more, as the New York Times has shown, Sotomayor's remark was part of larger pattern of remarks, which demonstrate not only that she entertains anti-white, anti-male, pro-Hispanic bigotry, but also that Sotomayor believes that it is actually desirable for her biases to affect the way she decides cases.

Condemnation from Obama? Are you kidding -- he nominated her for the Supreme Court.

And so I ask you, dear reader, who is worse: Sotomayor or Imus? Sotomayor appears to be a bigot, and appears to believe it is desirable for her bigotry to influence the way she decides cases. Impartiality is the most important quality for a judge. Not only is Sotomayor not impartial, but her impartiality stems from racism and sexism. Yet, she is qualified to be on the Supreme Court?

But Don "nappy-headed hos" Imus? Off with his head!


H. Lewis Allways said...

What a pitiful case you make against Sotomayor. You quote a single sentence from an hour-long speech about the complex roles played by race and gender in legal proceedings. Even out of context, no honest person could possibly read that sentence to say that 'Hispanic female judges are inherently "better" than white male judges.'

If you bother to read the paragraphs surrounding that remark in her 2001 speech, you will see that Sotomayor is making a point about how a person's life experiences inevitably affect his/her judgment. She is not saying that white men cannot be good judges. She is saying that women, minorities, GLBT people, and so forth, experience things in their daily lives that white men have to go out of their way to learn about. She also says that many white, male Supreme Court justices have done just that.

Also, I fail to see how the Times article you mention shows examples of her supposed bias against men or white people. As a white man, I would expect to be well-attuned to such things, but who knows? Maybe the straw man you set up is actually true.

Anonymous said...

Great post. It is an angle I had not considered, and is especially important considering how Obama advocated for Imus's firing.

The Supreme Court is not about empathy or race, but about the law and the Constitution.

This issue, the appointment of Supreme Court justices, was one of the few things that made me vote for McCain in 2008.

Anonymous said...

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