Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Interesting New Concept Of Reverse Racism, As Advocated By A Racist

Sonia Sotomayor is President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by centrist David Souter. She is widely regarded as a well-qualified candidate, if not the doughty liberal we might have expected from Obama. Born in the Bronx, she graduated first from Princeton, then Yale. She has taught at New York University of Law and Columbia University. President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court in 1992.

Oh, and just like all the other distinguished professors and judges to have spent years at no less than three Ivy League schools, she is - of course - a racist.

According to Rush Limbaugh, that paragon of virtue, President Obama is "the greatest living example of a reverse racist", and apparently Sotomayor is not far behind.

Limbaugh doesn't qualify his rather nasty statement about Obama (does he ever?), but his conclusion regarding Sotomayor is apparently that eight years ago she gave a speech during which 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."

Any person with any sense would see that she is suggesting that someone with a certain background might reach conclusions that someone without that particular background might not reach. It's not very precisely worded, which is unusual for a lawyer, but there is no hint - absolutely no hint whatsoever - that her point is to claim that white men are inferior to Latina women.

To infer that, you have to be harboring a deliberate prejudice. You have to be looking very, very hard indeed to find something, anything, that can be used against a moderate woman of Hispanic descent.

Think of it: 16 years of opinions and speeches - literally millions of words that have defined her judicial career - and the best that the rabid right (Gingrich is in on this racist thing too) can do is a sentence that could have been worded better? For the sheer amount of vitriol that Limbaugh is spouting, she should have been on daytime TV screaming "I tell you Honkies straight, when I'm on the Court I'm taking your bitch-ass white butts down!"

Calling someone a 'reverse racist' on the basis of a very shady interpretation of 35 words out of millions is just proof that the poor old GOP is in real trouble. I just hope that the majority of the Republicans who represent us in Congress and the Senate resist the temptation to follow Limbaugh down this unpleasant and meaningless path.

Oh, and did you ever hear the one about throwing stones in glass houses? Here are a couple of comments from Limbaugh over the years... enjoy.

"I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."

"Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"

"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

And my personal favorite... from Rush 'I'm Not A Racist, She Is' Limbaugh, describing African Americans:

"They’re 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"

Posted by Jon Rice at May 28, 2009 8:16 PM
Comments
Comment #282171

still stuck on rush eh jon. the biggest problem with her in my opinion is the comment she made which stated the court of appeals makes policy, and the fact her decisions have been overturned many times. a judge should evaluate cases based on the constitution. race, creed , or color should play no part at all. justice is suposed to be blind. not that her life story isn’t inspiring, but that does not mean she is supreme court material. the confirmation hearings should be interesting.

Posted by: dbs at May 28, 2009 10:25 PM
Comment #282174

The hearings will be a bad joke, she will be confirmed because that’s just the way it is.

Unless the Dems really have a problem with her pro-life stance, which I doubt they will because it might mean a black eye against Obama, so most likely this is a done deal.

I do find it interesting that it does get hard to tell the players without a scorecard, when republicans nominates someone the democrats scream about this or that, but when the democrats nominate someone the republicans aren’t supposed to question their standing? And vice-versa.

It’s all just part of the game that we, as Americans, get to be a party to. :/

Posted by: rhinehold at May 29, 2009 12:52 AM
Comment #282179

Sotomayer’s resume:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/26/sotomayor.resume/?iref=hpmostpop

Posted by: gergle at May 29, 2009 2:27 AM
Comment #282181
but there is no hint - absolutely no hint whatsoever - that her point is to claim that white men are inferior to Latina women.
“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.”

I’ve highlighted the hint that you missed.

You also missed the first part of that statement.

Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement.

But, what I find even more interesting is that you are willing to accept, and defend, racist/sexist statements if they are ‘on your side’ and if you can find someone ‘on the other side’ who you can point to as being worse.

That’s a great way to look at it…

Posted by: rhinehold at May 29, 2009 4:04 AM
Comment #282182

BTW, two more troubling cases:

In 2003 the department administered a test to fill 15 captain and lieutenant vacancies, but when the results came in, no African Americans made the cut (14 whites and one Hispanic earned the top scores). In response to local pressure, the city then refused to certify the results and decided instead to leave the positions open until a suitable new test was developed. This prompted a lawsuit from a group of white firefighters who had been denied promotion, including lead plaintiff Frank Ricci, a 34-year-old dyslexic who says he spent months preparing for the now-voided test by listening to audiotape study guides as he drove to work.

Ricci’s suit was initially thrown out at the district court level, prompting an appeal to the Second Circuit. At that point Sotomayor joined in an unsigned opinion embracing the district court’s analysis without offering any analysis of its own. This prompted fellow Second Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes—a liberal Democrat appointed by President Bill Clinton—to issue a stern rebuke. “The opinion contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case,” Cabranes wrote. “This perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal.”

Since she didn’t write an opinion, it is hard to say for sure what the reasons behind her decision were, other than to ensure that the Supreme Court would look at it. I am looking forward to hearing from her during the hearings as to why she voted the way she did here.

But worse:

This past January, the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Maloney v. Cuomo, which Sotomayor joined, ruling that the Second Amendment does not apply against state and local governments. At issue was a New York ban on various weapons, including nunchucks. After last year’s District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down DC’s handgun ban, attention turned to whether state and local gun control laws might violate the Second Amendment as well.

Um, has she not read the 14th amendment?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 29, 2009 4:10 AM
Comment #282184

rheinhold

i guess that means none of our enumerated constitutional rights are protected at the state and local level. does that sound as crazy to you as it does to me.

Posted by: dbs at May 29, 2009 9:01 AM
Comment #282185

It benefits us liberals and democrats to highlight every stupid and hateful thing that Limbaugh, Beck, and Gingrich say but it is important to remember that many republicans have not said such things and don’t agree with the hate mongers. With that said I think it is important to remember that you can make it appear that people have said something they didn’t say by taking half of a statement. This is exactly what has been done with the “Latina woman” and the Policy making statement comment Sotomayor made. I don’t remember which republican appointee to the supreme court (it may have been judge Alito) said almost the exact thing about policy making before his appointment. I think it would be wise for anyone posting here to make sure they have read her complete remarks before assuming that the small sentence removed from context is a statement in and of itself. It would also be advisable to really look at how many of her decisions have been overturned compared to the average. Again it amazes me that people assume because they heard it on tv that it must be true. In fact when compared to the average, Ms. Sotomayor has had less decisions overturned.

Other than the hateful rheortic from Limbaugh and company, I don’t think much that has come up about Sotomayor is any different than polictics as usual. This is the way the “GAME” is played from both sides of the aisle.


Posted by: Carolina at May 29, 2009 9:15 AM
Comment #282186

Sorry one last comment I would like to make. I can not believe that anyone believes that justice is truly blind. That is a nice ideal. Every one brings so much to the table depending on one’s experiences. Where you were born, how many in your family, if there was abuse or alcohol, or if you had a healthy loving family. If you are white, male, female, a minority, all this adds to the richness of your experiences. To think that people are able to set this aside is naive.

Posted by: Carolina at May 29, 2009 9:23 AM
Comment #282187

Caroline,

If you have access to a different version of the statement than I have, please post it. What I have is:

Our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. 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 experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

If this is just ‘part’ of the statement (it would have been a long one, eh) please let me know. Otherwise, I see no where that her statement was taken ‘out of context’. She makes it quite clear in this statement that she feels that her rich experience gives her the ability to make a better conclusion than a white male, more often than not. I’m sorry, but I don’t see the ‘alternative’ meaning. If you do, please explain it for me.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 29, 2009 9:37 AM
Comment #282189

The full quote from Judge Sotomayor’s Lecture.

I’ll give you the nickel summary alternative meaning: having lived lives which were touched by the experience of being minorities, Sotomayor is asserting that women and latina judges would have greater wisdom on that subject. More on that if I can get the quotes to run.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2009 10:16 AM
Comment #282191

Could somebody please tell me why my quotes aren’t showing up? This is now two posts in a row where I haven’t been able to offer good evidence for my points on this account.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2009 10:47 AM
Comment #282197

The Supreme Court agreed to review the case and heard oral arguments in April 2009. Ricci v. DeStefano 530 F.3d 87 (2008) So they Haven’t made a decision SCOTUS ? A lot of ifs how would that play out.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 29, 2009 11:34 AM
Comment #282199

Okay, I’ll just have to write it out: Sonia’s point is not that Minorities and Women on the bench would be wiser overall on the issues in general, but rather than they would be wiser on issues where being white and male would afford one little experience; they would essentially gain the understanding through life’s experience that a white male judge could only guess and meditate at. She doesn’t say that this perspective is naturally superior on its own merits, instead saying that one should balance it out as much as one can by examining the evidence and ascertaining the law. She just saying that it can be useful and necessary, an asset to a bench where too few people can see things from another perspective.

If we strive for a fairer, more impartial court, I think we should say, we should keep in mind that will not necessarily happen if we keep the membership of that court homogenously represented by only one sort of person.

That she makes this very good point here, makes the points about her diet and the pronunciation of her name all the more shameful in their narrow cultural critique of her candidacy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2009 11:56 AM
Comment #282200

Carolina,

It was Justice Alito at his confirmation hearings who said the following:

“When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account. When I have a case involving someone who’s been subjected to discrimination because of disability….”


Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2009 11:57 AM
Comment #282201

Wow, even a post on the President’s first Supreme Court nominee is turned into an attack on Rush, and since he is the “leader” of the GOP according to the left, I guess an attack on Republicans in general.

First you offer no evidence that Rush is a racist. That’s a given over here I’m sure but it would have been nice for you offer some proof to such a harsh claim. Then, you give Judge Sotomayor the benefit of the doubt by saying that the one sentence is one of millions. Never mind Rush has been on the air since the late 80’s for 3 hours a day putting his personal beliefs out there for all to hear and record. Anyway….

Rush is once again dead right and dead wrong at the same time. He is right that this nomination reflects the beliefs of the President. That’s the way it should be. He wanted someone with empathy, and someone who reflects a similar view on the country as he does based upon similar experiences. From Obama’s perspective he has made an excellent choice.

But Rush is dead wrong when he tries to lead a attack against this nominee based on what are clearly political positions. Nothing he has pointed to disqualifies Judge Sotomayer to be a justice. It is hypocritical to say that elections do matter, that the attacks by the left on Bork, Thomas, and Alito were bad form, and then turn around and advocate the same behavior when it’s the other side’s turn. And it’s not the process of the Constitution but a late 20th century creation of partisan two party politics.

President Obama made a good choice in Judge Sotomayor. She is exactly what Obama said he was looking for in a new justice. By any kind of standard (and there is no real standard in the Constitution) she is qualified. While she is not my kind of Justice I won’t complain; I didn’t win a hard fought national campaign for President so I don’t have the right to complain. Neither should Rush.

Posted by: George at May 29, 2009 12:15 PM
Comment #282202

Rick, Stephen,

And they are both wrong. Justice, you may remember, was supposed to be blind. The application of law should be equal and not care if the defendant or plaintiffs are of one ethinc or gender group. It shouldn’t matter what race or gender anyone is because it is irrelevant in the eyes of the law.

Or, at least that is how it was supposed to be. But since people would rather use the court system to right wrongs, not ejudicate the law as it is written, we have taken the blindfold off of the old lady justice and fitted her with spectacles of caring and empathy.

Some may feel that we are better off, but when someone says that you should have experienced something to be able to apply the rule of law to it, I back away slowly because that tells me that more than the rule of law is being applied.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 29, 2009 12:17 PM
Comment #282204

rhinehold,

So what your saying is that we need someone that has knowledge of the law, yet has no personal experience in life that might color their decisions.

Regardless of the fact that justice is blind, should she be deaf and dumb as well?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 29, 2009 12:43 PM
Comment #282205

George: you said “First you offer no evidence that Rush is a racist. That’s a given over here I’m sure but it would have been nice for you offer some proof to such a harsh claim.”

Errr… did you actually read my post all the way to the bottom?

What part of “I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.” doesn’t sound racist to you?

Posted by: Jon Rice at May 29, 2009 1:00 PM
Comment #282206

Stephen D., I can see your hyperlink, and Rhinehold’s blockquotes are working appearing fine. Could it be a browser issue?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 29, 2009 1:00 PM
Comment #282209
So what your saying is that we need someone that has knowledge of the law, yet has no personal experience in life that might color their decisions.

No, I’m saying that those experiences should not be what their judgements are based on. And, as a result, a person’s gender or race should not be influincing whether a law is constitutional or not, which is the very definition of the job.

Further, it could be argued, if we allow our personal experiences to cloud the legalities of a law, that past personal experiences could be a hinderance, not a blessing.

The idea that, for example, a gay person needs to be on the court in order a gay person to receive justice is a stupid notion, most rational individuals of any persuasion can see the inequity of the law. The same for racial or sexual discrimination. A person doesn’t have to be a woman to see when discrimination occurs, I see it when my wife tries to talk to some mechanics, she asks a question and they turn to answer me, etc. The very notion that is being presented by the judge is not only wrong but it should be removed from the court IMO.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 29, 2009 1:19 PM
Comment #282211

rhinehold,

“A person doesn’t have to be a woman to see when discrimination occurs, I see it when my wife tries to talk to some mechanics, she asks a question and they turn to answer me, etc.”

I hate to bring this up, but does your wife take the car to the mechanic regularly?
We often, as humans, make assumptions based on our experiences because that is all we have to go on. Men, more often than not, have more experience than women, though your mechanic was a boor to defer to you in the circumstance you cited.
Judges are humans too.

Unless you are hoping for robots to administer the law, humans will just have to do for now.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 29, 2009 1:42 PM
Comment #282212

Rocky,

There is a difference than accepting that humans have to overcome personal experiences in order to ejudicate law and saying that those personal experiences make someone better equipped to ejudicate law…

In Sonia’s case, she is attempting to make the latter one, not the former. Which is what worries me about her and her supporters on this topic. It is also what leads to her getting 60% of her cases brought before the Supreme Court overturned and saying that the 2nd amendment doesn’t apply to states and counties.

Posted by: rhinehold at May 29, 2009 1:48 PM
Comment #282213

Jon-

I take back the proof comment as I do now see you had some quotes that you consider proof at the bottom. Again, you are pulling sentences out of 20+ years, 3 hours a day of context to call him a racist and then blaming Rush for doing the same thing against this nominee. And Rush is blaming Democrats for attacking Bork, Thomas and Alito, and then offering that path as the one of choice against Sotomayer. In my mind the issue here is not Rush nor Bork but one of the bigger events in our Government’s history: the nomination of a Supreme.

Posted by: Georrge at May 29, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #282216

George,

re: Limbaugh being a racist. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. Or how about “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

If he isn’t a racist, he sure does a good job of playing at being one.

Of course you may have a different way of defining racist that most people whether they post here or not.

I live down south and off and on hear racist statements from people. If you call them on it they will certainly deny they are racists with statements like but I work with (insert any minority here)and we get along fine. I have (insert any minority here)friends at work. The only thing is-is that these people never ask (insert any minority here)what is racism. I think that if you ask any person of a minority if they think Limbaugh is a racist they would say yes. I am not inclined to think that a white person can ever truly know what racism is or always be able to recognize it. So excuse me if I don’t buy your statement that there is no evidence that Limbaugh is a racist. As a child when I was looking for something and could not find it and my momma would come behind me and find it in plain sight, she would say, “if if was a snake it woulda bit you.” I think that aptly applies here to your understanding of what constitutes a racist.

Posted by: Carolina at May 29, 2009 4:25 PM
Comment #282217

I think he made a good Choice, I don’t think anything big will come out in the wash i could be wrong but i doubt it- it will be nice to see the Justices greet her like Stevens did Roberts.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 29, 2009 4:26 PM
Comment #282218

White House: Sotomayor says she chose word poorly Now on to business at hand :) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090529/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_sotomayor

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 29, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #282219

David R. Remer-
I know that they ended up in the junk section of the Comments section on the movable type interface. Most of the time, I try to go into the link to see why the post was dumped in there, but as this is not my post, I cannot follow the link through.

I would be interested to know whether the heavy blockquotes were responsible (I excerpt large portions of her lecture for illustration’s sake), or whether some word combination provoked there response.

George-
Not a racist? He didn’t mockingly play Barack the Magic Negro on his show?

(A Magic Negro is supposed to be this kind of a virtuous black man who teaches white people moral and spiritual lessons. Folks like Rush use this phrase to make fun of black people who become admired for their virtues)

He didn’t call Obama a “Halfrican American?” He didn’t tell one Female African caller to take the bone out of her nose (seriously, George, that’s advanced racism right there.)

He didn’t once say that a football game looked like a brawl between rival inner city gangs, without the weapons? (I was gratified to find that quote directly on his site.)

This is a guy who commented that Jessie Jackson resembled nearly every composite sketch of a black guy that you see on the news, who played “Moving on Up” to mark the news that the first black woman had been elected to Congress.

There’s really a point where the “out of context” defense becomes a bit strained as an explanation. Given Rush’s rather marked tendency towards repetitively making atrocious statements about the handicapped, women, feminists, and others, it becomes less easy to buy this notion that he’s been misjudged and a lot easier to just admit that the man’s a bigot.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 29, 2009 4:46 PM
Comment #282221

Change comes slowly, but inevitably. The demographics of America are changing. The long tall shadow of old white men is fading and the glass ceilings crumbling. Ignoring that historically American presidents and congress have seen fit to choose old white men over and over again as superior to any other choice to the bench, I find it odd that some see the choice of a Latina as discriminatory.

Methinks old white men cannot comprehend what a Latina might. Justice is never truly blind, but America has seen fit to trend itself away from the classic old white men mentality that has blinded it too long against what is a repressed minority, but soon may not be.

The gate of Irony can be heard creaking in the distance.

Posted by: gergle at May 29, 2009 5:49 PM
Comment #282223

I would think that people would be more concerned by the appoinment of another Roman Catholic to the SCOTUS than anything else about Sotomayor. They are already the majority there. We could use a little more diversity in their religious backgrounds.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 29, 2009 6:21 PM
Comment #282224

ohrealy: I agree, some diversity in religious background would be a good idea. Actually - since there are nine Supreme Court Justices and one in ten Americans doesn’t believe in a god, it would be nice to have an atheist on the Court.

My guess is that it will take longer to have atheist representation than it did to nominate someone of Hispanic descent.

Posted by: Jon Rice at May 29, 2009 6:48 PM
Comment #282225

Carolina

if rush is a racist then so is the democrat party. miguel estrada, clarence thomas. do those names ring a bell? did opposing them make the dems racist? you may not like rushs’ oppinions, but he’s no racist. the questions about sotomayers qualifications, or judicial temperment do not make one racist. the fact that the democrats would play the race card doesn’t supprise me though. she’s been overturned quite a few times, and made some questionable statements which are fare game in my book. i believe the SCOTUS is reviewing a case she ruled on right now. the outcome could be important. if she is overturned again it may mean she doesn’t belong on our highest court.

Posted by: dbs at May 29, 2009 7:55 PM
Comment #282226

More than likely it will be six now, Five catholics currently serve on the court: Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito , Wow i got caught up I didn’t even think about that thanks ohrealy and Jon you have a good solid point.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 29, 2009 8:16 PM
Comment #282227

And John G. Roberts! ;)

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 29, 2009 8:20 PM
Comment #282229

dbs,

“if rush is a racist then so is the democrat party. miguel estrada, clarence thomas. do those names ring a bell?”

I don’t remember that the race of the candidates you mentioned was a problem.
The Democrats may have opposed these guys ideologically, but I don’t remember race being the issue that was used to oppose them.

I don’t have a problem with Rush opposing Sotomayor. He is entitled to his opinion.
I do have a problem with the verbiage he uses. Rush has his bully pulpit, his golden EIB microphone, and his supposed 2 million listeners.
He doesn’t need to cloak his opposition to her in his closet racist terms.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 29, 2009 9:17 PM
Comment #282230

The Democrats opposed Estrada because they did not want a prominent Republican hispanic in line for the Supreme Court. It was a racist opposition, although in a round about way.

Sotomayor’s comment about Latina’s was indeed racist by the silly standard we apply today. In fact, it just makes sense that people would have differnt skills and sensibilities based on their background. In some cases, the white male perspective might be better; in others the female Latina. However, in most cases the synergy would be best. The concept of race, of course, is silly too. It is certainly true that a black man can represent white men or that a while woman can understand a black man. We are all humans with flexible brains. The essence of education, in fact, is to enhance the ability.

The problem with the whole race debate is that it has been overtaken by events. Racism in the original sense of the term (treating people differntly because of their race) has largely disappeared in society. Obama and Sotomayor themselves are proof of this. But unfortunately, identity politics continues to thrive and racism has been institionalized in law.

I still stick with Martin Luther King and look forward to the time when we will judge a people by the content of their characters not the color of their skins. Unfortunately, affirmative action programs, identity politics and money making “rights” groups will prevent that for a while to come.

Posted by: Christine at May 29, 2009 9:55 PM
Comment #282232

Rocky,

That’s the loudest and most open closet I’ve ever seen. Rush’s racism is only a secret to the dead.

Posted by: gergle at May 30, 2009 1:58 AM
Comment #282235

Rocky


i listened to the show in question. he was refering to the statement she made about a hispanic woman being able to come to a better decision than a white male. he said it showed reverse racism, that was his opinion. i just think it was an unfortunate statement. race should have no bearing on the decision a good jurist makes. i think it unfortunate that democrats would try and use the race card against anyone who opposes sotomayer on philosophical grounds. IMO any senator who opposes her will be branded a racist.

Posted by: dbs at May 30, 2009 4:55 AM
Comment #282236

JR
Rush is too easy a target but hard to fault you. The right is fresh out of new ideas and their old ones have failed. All they have left is populist fear mongering and Limbaugh is the master.
Personally I am a bit dissapointed in BHO’s selection. I was hoping for someone really conrtoversial, like Anita Hill(Want to grab my butt now,Clarence?) or Bill Clinton. The right is going to oppose any BHO appointment just because they are a BHO appointment. This is a fart in a windstorm.

Posted by: bills at May 30, 2009 5:08 AM
Comment #282238

dbs,

“i listened to the show in question.”

I have been listening to Rush since Clinton was in office, and Sotomayor hasn’t been his first racist gaffe. I could quote you chapter and verse of Rush’s “elbow in the ribs” style of racisim.

Rush is a buffoon, he’s always been a buffoon, and as surely as Michael Savage will go stark raving boogie cookies during one of his rants, Rush will come up with some racist comment about Sharpton, or Jackson, or whoever of color on the left, and claim he was taken out of context.

Like I said, it’s his style.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 30, 2009 10:59 AM
Comment #282239

The Deal with Estrada was that Bush was trying to appoint him to a stepping stone position to the Supreme court with no prior judicial experience, and without the benefit of providing samples of the legal writings he was giving while he worked in the Justice Department.

So there is no comparison to Sotomayor, who was nominated with plenty of experience and extant legal rulings to pour over.

Christine-
Answer me a question here: Are the Republicans not playing identity politics by griping about the pronunciation of her name not being “American” enough (this from a guy named Krikorian), or by stirring up anger over a strained interpretation of a quote as being racist, or by emphasizing the racial politics of one of her decisions?

The irony is, if you examine Sotomayor’s actual words, she says that essentially it’s something you also have to lay aside when its not appropriate. Hardly the war cry of an identity politics hardliner.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2009 1:14 PM
Comment #282241

Stephen

I don’t know this Krikorian. I have no need to defend him or anyone else. I am against such identity politics wherever we find them, anyway, since I am against racism.

As I said, her statement about Latina women is racist by the strained definitions used today, mostly by liberals. I don’t think it is racist, and we should throw out that hypersensitivity.

Her avoiding the Ricci case is a problem. That is clearly an instance of racism. We should begin to dismantle affirmative action. It has become a racist cancer and is prolonging many of the maladies it was supposed to remedy. I hope that Sodomayor is wise enough to see beyond her identity and do what is right and oppose racism. So far it doesn’t look good for her.

Posted by: Christine at May 30, 2009 2:42 PM
Comment #282243

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk_Kerkorian

Posted by: dbs at May 30, 2009 6:20 PM
Comment #282244

Christine-
The case in question had nothing to do with identity politics, it had everything to do with fairness for minorities.

Under the law, you are not allowed to design tests that intentionally or inadvertantly eliminate minority candidates at higher rates without justification that the criteria are job related. The law enforces fairness in hiring, and cities like New Haven must abide by these laws, and should.

A commentator on Slate offered this clarification on things:

Race discrimination has locked minorities into poor neighborhoods with failing schools for generations: As a result, blacks, as a group, continue to perform less well on written exams than other races. Perhaps New Haven’s black candidates could overcome these disadvantages by studying harder, like Frank Ricci did. But Ricci took extraordinary steps to ace the test—six months off work to prepare and $1,000 on tutoring. An equal-opportunity law that’s premised on everyone taking such steps isn’t likely to do much good in the real world of scarce time and money. And would encouraging the equivalent of intense cramming for the final really help employers select the best firefighter for the job?

The author goes on to say that it was very crappy of New Haven to pull the rug out from under Ricci, but that’s not the issue he sued over. He sued with the claim that he was discriminated against because he was white. He was not. All the tests were thrown out, White, Black, Hispanic, or otherwise. The system itself, it was feared by New Haven officials, was biased, making the results discriminatory

So Ricci’s argument essentially is, correctly read in the law: Please force this city to break the law so I can benefit from potentially (though inadvertantly) discriminatory testing practices.

Not all removal of advantages represents discrimination. Logically, it follows that to enforce regulations against discrimination, the majority must lose some of its excessive hold on the benefits of being the majority, an outcome that some will naturally see as a slap against them. This is one of reasons we can’t just assume the end of overt racism is the end of discrimination, because obviously, people with better resources and employers who prefer following their old habits will have an advantage, if people aren’t forced to make conscious efforts to integrate equality, and those who benefit from that equality, into the workforce.

You know, the funny thing is, for all the Conservatives out there lament judicial activism, it seems to be most of what they want out of the system: overturning the laws and precedents they don’t like, rather than interpreting the law and the constitution on their own merits.

You could claim that Conservative judicial activism is a response to Liberal, but even so, that only means you have more than one side out of whack, not moderate in their approach to law. Is the real solution divisive counter balance, or checked and balanced moderation, where the goals of the agenda of one’s political affiliation take a backseat to proper, stable jurisprudence?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 30, 2009 6:59 PM
Comment #282245

Maybe the others should study harder. The argument that Ricci worked too hard is not really very convincing.

Presumably the writers of the test thought the tested knowledge useful or necessary for the job. If this is not true, they could write the test differently, but they should not penalize those who worked hard and played by the existing rules, just because of thier race.

The best of any fairness is turn around. If there was a test given where blacks passed but no whites or hispanics, do you think it would be racist to throw out that whole test and deny the people who passed jobs or promotions.

Of course, we can lower standards, but we still have a problem with making choices.

If no standards actually apply, we can just do repeated rounds of rock-paper-scissors. If standards to apply, we have some trouble. I am not sure I want to drive across a bridge or fly in an airplane designed by someone who was math challenged.

We also have trouble with what is a minority. The terrible secret of affirmative action is that it discriminates most against Asians, many of whom come from really poor places, but they work hard.

Affirmative action as it works today is an elitist scheme, whereby the rich, well-connected and established white folks can manage to get their kids into good schools and jobs by keeping down the competition by poor but smart whites and Asians by throwing some patronage at other minorities and calling it justice.

So somebody like Ricci is not allowed to get ahead. There is nothing he can do to get ahead in his profession. Nothing. Working hard won’t help. Talent won’t help. Intelligence won’t help. The only thing that could get him the job would be to change his skin color. Nothing about his circumstances or the content of his character matters. He is being punished for his birth. That is 100% discrimination. How can you not call that the racism it is?

Posted by: Christine at May 30, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #282247

Christine:

We also have trouble with what is a minority. The terrible secret of affirmative action is that it discriminates most against Asians, many of whom come from really poor places, but they work hard.
Affirmative action as it works today is an elitist scheme, whereby the rich, well-connected and established white folks can manage to get their kids into good schools and jobs by keeping down the competition by poor but smart whites and Asians by throwing some patronage at other minorities and calling it justice.
So somebody like Ricci is not allowed to get ahead. There is nothing he can do to get ahead in his profession. Nothing. Working hard won’t help. Talent won’t help. Intelligence won’t help. The only thing that could get him the job would be to change his skin color. Nothing about his circumstances or the content of his character matters. He is being punished for his birth. That is 100% discrimination. How can you not call that the racism it is?

Of course affirmative action is race based. Did you just wake up in 2009? Lessee the purpose is to counter…..oh yeah, 200 years of racism. Yep a few years of affirmative action makes everything even and just fine now. Nope, no racism or discrimination today. Just ask Rush. It’s those old white men who are being discriminated against. No, really!

Posted by: gergle at May 30, 2009 10:31 PM
Comment #282253

Christine-
Tests reward certain efforts and merits. The city was obligated to make sure that the efforts and merits were consistent with the job, and not discriminatory in their expense or arcanity of preparation. Legally obligated.

You keep on trying to make this about merit, as if every test is a good test of merit. But that’s the thing, not every test is. Some tests are unfair.

There is a defense in there for measures in a test that are built on the notion that whether or not somebody’s a minority, they need to rise to certain standards.

New Haven, however, did not think their test would hold up to that standard, and that failures among minorities were excessive. If the pattern was, you needed to take tons of time off and pay thousands of dollars to cram for the test, then it might work against people whose only liability was their inability to wrangle the breaktime and moola necessary to successfully pass the test.

There’s a way to be fair to those who don’t skip months of work at a time to spend thousands of dollars to cram for a test.

There’s very likely a way to formulate the test to where it determines something else than just the ability and resources to study for it. Do you need thousands of dollars to learn how to lead firefighters well? To plan out strategy in dealing with a fire? What exactly, when the chips are down, good judgment is needed, and you don’t have six months and thousands of dollars worth of study aids handy, are the qualities you’re going to need out of the person you’re aiming to promote?

Let us not fall for the assumption that all tests measure merits well or equally, that we can look at a person and determine innate ability from academic book learning alone.

I don’t think Ricci’s position is as bad as you think it is, nor most whites affected by affirmative action. We’re still a country in which most people are white. You really have to be on the margins to feel the sting of rejection on this account, and there’s a good question here whether the years of racist policy afforded those on the margins unfair advantages they would not otherwise have had on simple merits.

But let me be clear: this case isn’t about affirmative action: it’s about taking the biases out of the tests, to the extent that is possible.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2009 12:22 AM
Comment #282255

gergle

SO you think it racism is okay as long as it is applied to white working class men & Asians? When does it stop?

Do you really believe the purpose remains to counter historical racism? Maybe you just woke up yesterday. It is a racist spoils system. Some people use it in place of doing something concrete about changing conditions.

It you might be better just to determine the numbers you want and then just give out the jobs based on racism. For me, I still stick with Martin Luther King on this one. The content of our characters, not the color of our skins should determine outcomes.

Stephen

They thought the test was okay until it didn’t produce the racial results they wanted. They can indeed design a different test. The problem is that nobody has yet to design a test that will produce the racist results desired by the affirmative action crowd.

I am against racism. Period. But I don’t expect equal results since we have different preferences and efforts. There are very few whites or Asians in the NBA. Do you think that is racist? Jews make up 3% of the population, yet 2/9 members fo the Supreme Court are Jewish. Is that Racist? Almost 20% of the U.S. population is of German descent (58 million on the 1990 census). Yet only two presidents Hoover & Eisenhower had signficant German background. Is that racist?

So we need a political affirmative action program for German-Americans, a legal one for non-Jews, a basketball for non-blacks, all this can go along with the firefighter tests. Gets silly quick, doesn’t it?

Posted by: Christine at May 31, 2009 12:43 AM
Comment #282258

Christine,

You make light of the very difficult problem of redressing the consequences of historical discrimination in employment based on race, gender or ethnicity. It is an unfortunate fact that whole classes of our society have been prohibited from sharing in the American dream by intentional, pervasive discrimination. Affirmative action remedies, as currently structured, may indeed have failed in many regards. But, what do you suggest as a constructive alternative? Simply leaving whole classes of victims egregiously harmed without a remedy mocks our concepts of justice and fairness.

There are no simple answers. The courts and legislatures have struggled with this issue for decades. It is not a “silly” issue.

Posted by: Rich at May 31, 2009 9:28 AM
Comment #282263

Christine-
Out of twenty-nine hispanics who took the test, only two scored high enough for promotion. No blacks did so.

Reverse discrimination? The City was obligated to prevent just plain discrimination in the first place by Title VII. Unless they could demonstrate that this disparity of result had a basis in job-related criteria, they would be liable to be sued for discrimination by the black and Hispanic test takers.

The city of New Haven did not have the confidence that it could say that the people who failed the test failed because they didn’t have what it took to do the job. Let me repeat that: they could not, with confidence, map the disparate results to disparate merit.

Is it discrimination to just simply promote no one? I could see the point if they promoted Blacks and Hispanics, but not whites, having retained the results That would be discrimination. This is just simply the city deciding that the test was inconclusive on its merits, and the policy being to promote based on the test, to promote no one.

Or put another way: if it’s uncertain that the test is truly measuring people on their merits, then what fairness it there in promoting anybody?

This is why I hate this whole concept of reverse discrimination. First, it assumes that the opposite of discrimination against minorities is discrimination against the majority. The trap in that is that the majority white population has enjoyed a long period of excessively favorable conditions, an advantage that must be rolled back, one way or another, in order to clean up the mess that racial discrimination has left. There’s no point in acknowledging the fact of discrimination if we refuse to do anything about the effect; worse, you’re essentially creating a society where you have nominal equality, but discrimination in substance.

The sanction against tests which have disparate effects on minorities is one of the means by which this kind of discrimination in substance is prevented. By outlawing this, civil rights law prevents employers from making the test less about the the qualification of the candidate, than the person’s membership in a favored class of people.

You assume right off the bat that the motive in this case is the impulse to give advantages to unqualified test takers. But the throwing out of the test results and the promotion of no-one puts everybody on equal ground, and there’s a question of whether the test results were a good measure of merit for the positions open anyway.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2009 11:48 AM
Comment #282268

Rich

I take racism very seriously and oppose it where I find it. Affirmative action as it is practiced today is based on a simplified caricature, which you have stated. All group identity is arbitrary, but you indicate that you treat them as organisms. That is why you can support punishing a guy like Ricci for something that happened a generation ago.

But people are individuals. Ricci looks like some people who were privileged. But many working class whites on the east coast have a different history than you imply. Very often their grandparents immigrated through Ellis Island. They were escaping poverty and discrimination as severe as anything anybody faced in the U.S. at that time. The built their lives in their new country, working with their hands. They didn’t get into the best universities. They didn’t inherit piles of money or get trust funds. In fact, their story is a lot like Sotomayor’s or Michelle Obama’s. In fact, Sotomayor, whose mother was educated as a nurse or Michelle Obama, whose father was well connected politically, where a little farther up the latter than many working class people.

You guys see only color. So president Obama’s daughter should get presence over some kid from a hollow in Appalachia. Sorry, but that is old fashioned, wrongheaded and – yes – racist.

Stephen

When will they promote someone? Can they think of a fair test that blacks will score higher than non-blacks? Should that be a goal?

Your logic is interesting. What if you and I are involved in a contest. You win. So I just throw out the results, saying that since nobody won it is not unfair. It is like little kids demanding a do-over until they win.

We all agree that a test should be relevant to the skill sets necessary to do the job. In order to be a valid test, it must made distinctions. If it is so easy that everyone passes, it is not good. If it is so hard that nobody passes, it is also not good. Some people just don’t like the results. The remedy might be to make blacks more qualified. How do you do that?
If you study the history of discrimination, you see that Jews suffered greatly in the early 1900s. How did they overcome this? Though hard work at meeting and exceeding standards. My own immigrant grandparent propelled me into the middle class by telling us that we just had to work harder to overcome our problems. It is no virtue to give people unearned benefits.

Affirmative action made sense in its original formulation, when discrimination was still a severe problem. The original idea was to “cast a wider net” and open opportunity. It morphed into a de-facto quota system and corrupted into a racial spoils scheme. Affirmative action was perhaps useful and even necessary when it started in the early 1960s. Fifty years later, with a black president, it is time to phase it out. It is no longer part of the solution and has become part of the problem.

BTW – why was there no talk about Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice’s compelling personal story. Surely two blacks in a row in as secretary of state, the office first held by Thomas Jefferson, should have been a mark of progress. It would have been if only a Democrats had appointed them.

Posted by: Christine at May 31, 2009 1:06 PM
Comment #282269

Stephen

BTW - I never talk about reverse discrimination. There is just ordinary discrimination and racism. It doesn’t matter if it is black, white, brown or yellow.

Rich

I mentioned only the white immigrants. This is incomplete. Affirmative action is also aimed at Asians. The guys who got out of Cambodia just ahead of Pol-Pots death squads are “privleged” according to how the rules are applied today in jobs and universities.

Posted by: Christine at May 31, 2009 1:10 PM
Comment #282271

“Jews make up 3% of the population, yet 2/9 members fo the Supreme Court are Jewish.” Ginsburg and Breyer are Jewish no surprise their, Ginsburg is also a WOMAN and the ONLY ONE in the SCOTUS today and not in the best of health and Breyer is a liberal he’s also very pragmatic.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 31, 2009 1:38 PM
Comment #282273

Rodney

I have not judgement about the merits. I am just pointing out the stat numbers and how they might be interpreted.

Posted by: Christine at May 31, 2009 2:12 PM
Comment #282277

The basic question is why someone decided on Sotomayor over Diane Wood:
http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/wood-d

Posted by: ohrealy at May 31, 2009 4:21 PM
Comment #282294

Christine,

Your questions show you neither understand racism nor affirmative action, thus Sotomayer’s comment. It only seems to hurt when it’s your ox getting gored.

Posted by: gergle at May 31, 2009 11:58 PM
Comment #282296

Gergle

With all due respect, a reasonalbe person cannot come to that conclusion based on what I wrote. Perhaps you might read it again, along with subsequent comments.

If you still think they show a lack of understanding, perhaps you can address them in a way that will entlighten all the troglodydes who have still not seen the sun of affirmative progress.

“My” ox is not gored by Sotomeyer’s comments.I wrote that we should indeed not be so hypersenitive to the sort of comments she made, no matter who makes them.

I am sorry if I don’t conform to whatever sterotype you have in mind, but you need to direct your attacks at the actual target, not the target you like to attack.

We both rebelled against the world of racism we were born into. I listened to MLK as a child and believed his words about judging people by the content of their characters. I stuck with that, while others changed and embraced expedients.

Posted by: Christine at June 1, 2009 12:18 AM
Comment #282305
With all due respect, a reasonalbe person cannot come to that conclusion based on what I wrote.

With all due respect, you have never been a target of racism. You are both deaf and blind to what you have never experienced. You think the struggle is over, and only see problems in a one way path. It isn’t what you wrote, it’s what you didn’t. It doesn’t exist for you. It is why you are Republican and why you are out of step with the majority of Americans. You do not get it. It is unreasonable to you. It is obvious to others, just not you. You repeat the mantra of the blind white old men.

I don’t know you personally, Christine, nor do I attack you. I attack your less than insightful arguments and repetitions of old racist rhetoric, that is dressed up in new shiny clothes. Rush Limbaugh is the new KKK with a beard, or white cloth to hide from his own ugliness. You carry that banner. I attack those that carry those arguments and banners. Sadly, the Republican party has picked up that banner. It is why many in the South and across America follow the party.

I live in Houston, I see and hear racism, daily. I grew up in Ohio and saw racism daily, there. You live in cocoon isolated from the real word. I don’t know where you live, but it is completely foreign to someone living in reality.

Posted by: gergle at June 1, 2009 7:05 AM
Comment #282326

Christine-

When will they promote someone? Can they think of a fair test that blacks will score higher than non-blacks? Should that be a goal?

Not if they’re smart. If they’re smart, the test should give equally qualified whites, blacks, and hispanics equal scores that in turn reflect equal real world competence in the job. That’s the point of cracking down on tests that produce disparate results.

The point is to screen out the irrelevant, and to suit the test, in both its difficulty and its form, to the rigors and requirements of the job.

As for reverse discrimination, it might not be your mantra, but the ideas you express essentially repeat the lines of those who do call it that. The point of affirmative action is not to give Blacks advantages they don’t have, but to discourage disadvantages they have had, out of proportion to their skills and presence in the population.

Somebody’s ox will get gored when the grievances of those discriminated against are redressed, but the rhetoric coming from your side essentially paints any action meant to compensate for those unfair advantages as racism, or worse, the creation of a situation where minorities will run rampant over the rights of the white majority. People who even now, according to studies, retain social, economic, and cultural advantages, are claiming to be the victims in society.

Now some, according to these very laws might have a case.

But in the case of that Firefighter, nobody else got promoted, and they though they made a callous mistake in throwing out the test results, having already gotten folks hopes up, It was a mistake nobody benefited from.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 1, 2009 3:37 PM
Comment #282334

I have been the target of racism on several occasions that I know about and I don’t know how many subtle times I might have missed.

I am not a Republican. I believe in freedom free people and free markets. I am sorry if that gave you the wrong impression, but I go with whomever seems most likely to support what I support. I don’t expect much from politicians and so I am not disappointed.

I may well be out of touch. The definition of racism that you give seems to be the opposite of what I grew up with. In those old days, I learned that we should not make race a basis for discrimination. I am interested in the new definition you talk about. What exactly do you find racist about my rhetoric? Is it the old-fashioned quote from Martin Luther King? Do his words now trouble you? Is it that I ask that we treat people as individuals instead of as members of races? Or that I oppose all discrimination and refuse to call any of it “positive.” I even believe in affirmative action in the original sense of casting a wider net.

I reject quotas and race-based policies.

I have not been to Houston and maybe the people you hang around with are different than those I know. I don’t see much racism. My kids have friends of many colors and nationalities. They come to the house and I don’t notice any dissentions based on race. We have indeed made a lot of progress since the 1960s. I don’t want to throw that away by reestablishing a type of race-based system that you seem to advocate.

You may find this a racist comment, but I still think that we should judge people by the content of their characters, not the color of their skins.

Stephen

Affirmative action is also aimed at Asians. Asians, in fact, have proven the fallacy of affirmative action. New immigrants, fleeing horrible conditions and learning Engish as a second language often do very well on those tests.

It is unlikely that groups with different backgrounds and choices will do equal on any fair test. That is the nature of diversity.

You also fall into the fallacy of confusing groups with individuals. We have had affirmative action for two generations. When I went to school in the 1970s, the schools I applied to were actively looking for minorities. I suffered discrimination, as you might have. You could say in those days it made sense. The new generation wasn’t even born back then.

The way to get rid of discrimination is to get rid of discrimination. Individuals who have suffered discrimination have recourses.

A couple years ago, I won an award for promoting blacks in my workplace. All I did was choose the best qualifed applicants and several happened to be black. They were promoted because they were the best qualified. This is as it should be. I recently had to hire a new manager. There were two white men, one white woman and a black man in my final selection. All were qualifed. I hired the white man because he was the best qualified. Would you have used race as the deciding criteria in any of these cases? I prefer to judge by the content of character.

For me it is not a question of rights, but of right. I won’t sacrifice my integrity on the altar of racist expediency.

I disagree with both you and gergle very strongly on this issue. I think you are both wrong, but I believe that you honestly believe in what you are saying and are not motivated by racism. I am glad we can have this mutually respectful discussion.

I supported affirmative action years ago and I support the idea of casting a wider net and encouraging diversity. But I believe that what affirmative action has corrupted into does nothing but create a spoils system where opportunists can game the system.

Posted by: Christine at June 1, 2009 8:26 PM
Comment #282350

Christine,

I’m curious what exactly you mean by saying you have been the target of racism.

You are confusing racism with affirmative action. The two concepts are not interchangeable. The later exists because of the first.

I think the younger generations are getting better at getting past racism, but I know in
Texas, and most likely, most of the south, there is a long way to go. Racism is also alive and well documented in areas of New York and New Jersey. I’m guessing you live in Pleasantville, USA.

Houston has a large Asian population. Of course this includes Indians and Pakistani’s. I remember having a discussion with an Asian friend several years ago who griped about the stereotype that all Orientals are smart. Margret Cho does a standup routine about this stereotype. They don’t all do well.

I’m sure you personally don’t discriminate and teach your children the stupidity of such behavior.

I agree the best man should get the job. When over and over and over again it turns out to be a white man, and rarely if ever a minority, then there is something obviously wrong within that institution. I work for an African American. Many of his top personnel are black. That is unusual in an engineering firm. He runs a top notch company. Conversely, many civil contractors of minority status that receive set asides in city contracts, in my experience, are of low quality workmanship.

I have an Indian friend who is an engineer. He started his own engineering company. He has been in business 3-4 years. He is still struggling. He applied at the outset for minority status, after achieving a lot of expensive criteria to qualify for city and county work. He has yet to get awarded any contracts. His wife is a 50% owner in the company. The city recently announced they would not be using female ownership status as a set aside. There are lots of engineering companies in Houston. My friend comes from a well to do family in India, his wife is a highly paid programmer (She is on the board of the company, but works another job). They mostly hire immigrants. It’s cheaper for them, but they also have a different perspective of employees. Is it fair? I don’t know the answer to that question. Do you?

Things don’t always work out the best. But had there never been affirmative action, or civil rights enforcement by the government, Houston engineering businesses would be whiter than Casper’s sheet.

Anyone can find examples of unfairness. That isn’t always simple racism. The racism I am referring to is an institutional bias. That has improved, but it’s still not entirely a level playing field.

Posted by: gergle at June 2, 2009 1:33 PM
Comment #282368

Gergle

I call not getting jobs or being denied promotions discrimination. My race has been a factor in both of those things. And it certainly was the result of institutional bias. I don’t think you need to look at the color of the people involved to judge the behavior.

I don’t think your Indian friend deserves any special favors. It is not fair. There is no justification at all.

I repeat again (and again) we should stick with Martin Luther King re judging by the content of character, not the color of skin.

I have believed that since I was a kid. I regret that so many others have moved on by going backwards in the interests of expediency and a misguided desire for retribution.

Posted by: Christine at June 2, 2009 8:39 PM
Comment #282451

Another basic challenge is to discover how to organize our strength in terms of economic and political power. No one can deny that the Negro is in dire need of this kind of legitimate power. Indeed, one of the great problems that the Negro confronts is his lack of power. From old plantations of the South to newer ghettoes of the North, the Negro has been confined to a life of voicelessness and powerlessness. Stripped of the right to make decisions concerning his life and destiny he has been subject to the authoritarian and sometimes whimsical decisions of this white power structure. The plantation and ghetto were created by those who had power, both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. The problem of transforming the ghetto, therefore, is a problem of power—confrontation of the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to the preserving of the status quo. Now power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achievepurpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. Walter Reuther defined power one day. He said, “Power is the ability of a labor union like the UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say, ‘Yes’ when it wants to say ‘No.’ That’s power.”…….

…….We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income. Now, early in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation, as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual’s ability and talents. And, in the thinking of that day, the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operations of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. Today the poor are less often dismissed, I hope, from our consciences by being branded as inferior or incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands, it does not eliminate all poverty.

—-Martin Luther King SCLC august 16, 1967

Posted by: gergle at June 4, 2009 7:16 PM
Comment #282454

Gergle

What King said that spoke to me was that we should judge by the content of character not the color of skin. Do you disagree with that? Was he lying? It is a simple truth. We can try to make it complicated to hide the fact that we are not living those words. But the simple words come through.

Most Americans believe in fairness and the orginal aspect of affirmative action - i.e. casting a wider net and creating opportunity. Most Americans believe in fairness and oppose quotas, set-asides and preferences.

What we have seen too often is a bait-and-switch. Proponents talk about affirmative action in the first way and act on affirmative action in the second.

If Martin Luther King’s words have a qualification that it only applies to some races, I missed that. And if they have such a qualification they are not worth repeating. I choose to believe in the truth and goodness of the man. YOu can make your own choice.

Posted by: Christine at June 4, 2009 9:47 PM
Comment #282464

Christine,

Agreeing with one statement about one subject does not make for effective or good government.

The alternative you offer is ignoring the existance of racism and believing after a few years, it’s all good, so let’s pretend it’s all fixed.

While your quoting MLK sounds good, it doesn’t really relate well to your actual positon.

The reason I posted the quote from MLK, is that your use of MLK to support your argument seems to show either a rather incomplete understanding of his message or a dishonest use of his ideas.

Posted by: gergle at June 5, 2009 3:10 AM
Comment #282495

A couple of links for those that think racism is dead.

http://imgur.com/uRTLo.jpg

http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/06/max-blumenthal-feeling-the-hate-in-jerusalem-on-eve-of-obamas-cairo-address.html?

Posted by: gergle at June 5, 2009 10:28 PM
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