Posted by: inforodeo | June 29, 2009

A Wise White Man With The Richness of His Experiences Would Reach a Better Conclusion

The headline was edited for space, what i really meant to say (to give you the context) is:
“I Would Hope That A Wise White Man With The Richness of His Experiences Would, More Often Than Not, Reach a Better Conclusion”

no, not talking about myself. not really talking about any actual existing caucasian. the comment gave you a weird feeling in your gut, though … either the shrink of embarrasment (if you are white or male, or both) or the peptic rise of anger (if you are “other”).  It kind of rubs you weird.  What does the statement mean? Does it mean that we should have assumed a white male to be wise and rarely make mistakes? Is it a subtle poke … reminding us that White men are “superior”?

Unless you live on a remote island with no modern communication, you probably know this is a direct reference to Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s repeated comments (at least 7 different occasions, all well documented) about a “Wise :Latina”.  The most famous of these quotes being
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.”
Look familiar?

In New Haven, CT, twenty firefighters (19 caucasian, 1 hispanic) were denied promotions because city officials were worried their numbers (quotas?) would suggest they were discriminating against other minorities. This is, perhaps, similar to Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case in which a white applicant (Allan Bakke) was denied admission to a medical school twice even though there were minority applicants admitted to the school with significantly lower scores than his. The medical school had used a quota system, and the Supreme Court ruled against the school, in favor of Bakke.  (Perhaps they, too, were worried about “going under the knife” at the hands of a doctor who only made it through med school by virtue of his skin color?)
The New Haven firefighters case, however, is significant because one of the judges who supported this racially prejudiced practice (a term which fits perfectly in this example) was Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Switch the roles of the victims.  Lets say 19 blacks and 1 white are working at a technology company, and they are denied promotions because “everyone knows that” persons of asian or indian descent are much more detail-oriented and technology minded than whites or blacks, so they’re waiting for some asians or indians to come up for promotion. The victims (the 20) go to court, and a white male judge – the same one we quoted above talking about the “wise white man” – judges in favor of the technology company, because in his “wisdom” he knows that asians and indians are better suited for the job, and these policies need to remain in place because it’s better for everyone if blacks and whites aren’t building our technology.

You’re really wanting to argue now.  “how on earth can you equate –”

i’ll show you.

the idea that certain minorities are still discriminated against (as bad as they were 30 years ago, when many of these policies began to gain popularity) is a racially-based theory.
this theory rests on some sub-theories:

– that the minorities discriminated against are always the same specific minorities
– that the discrimination is universal (nationwide, occupation-wide, etc)
– that all persons from completely different backgrounds and experiences have equal ability
– the ONLY way to provide equal opportunity is to handicap the (perceived) majority so the (traditional) minority can “catch up”.

obviously, there are some serious consequences to these assumptions. the biggest of these consequences is that such thinking PERPETUATES RACISM.

all “successful” (meaning, it doesn’t go away as readily) racial discrimination employs as “justification” for ‘the better good” element, as well as anecdotal “evidence” to support the bigotry and solidify the prejudice. The justification element for “affirmative action” programs is what i just outlined above – it is the belief that discrimination still exists, that all people are equally capable regardless experience and background, and that lowering the bar and creating quotas will “level the playing field”, and create equality.

the story about the technology company does the same thing: we use some pre-existing racial stereotypes (blacks and whites are not as good with technology as asians and indians), we justify our position by saying “it’s better for everyone”, and we use a bunch of anecdotal evidence to support the stereotypes (blacks and whites scoring lower on test scores, the “usual” jobs employed by the lower class of each – without regard to the possibility that that itself may come from a longstanding discrimination against those ‘majorities’!).

someone once said (and this has been attributed to Justice Alito and Justice Roberts, in a few versions – i most recently heard it from Idaho Justice Winmill at a symposium):
“the only way to end discrimination is to stop discriminating”.

affirmative action programs – particularly those with quotas, are the modern version of Plessey vs Ferguson – creating what often pretends to be a ‘seperate but equal’ admission process in schools/jobs, which can ultimately result in confirmation of JusticeWarren’s famous quote in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that seperate is “inherently unequal”.

both affirmative action and “good racism” (“blacks are better athletes”, “asian students study harder”, “native americans are more wise”) are examples of racism or discrimination, and continue the divisions between race, gender, religion and culture.  when society lowers the bar to accomodate natural differences or to spare ‘hard feelings’ (as is the case in most attacks on religious displays), SOCIETY becomes the loser – losing all the diversity, culture, identity, challenges and experience which make us (nationally) a great people.

We need to move past our socialist attempts at equalization, and do two things:
– don’t make ANY judgements – good or bad – based on race (judge on merit only!)
– don’t try to hide those things which really are unique and which contribute to society’s well-being (religious displays, cultural festivals, clothing in schools, differences in language).

yes, there will be some details that have to be worked out on an individual level, but that is not the government’s place.  we hire the government to preserve and protect our freedoms, not to sand and whittle them away so we all have the same uniformity and lack of identiy.  Government should fight hate crimes, not legislate some manufactured version of “equality”.  While Sotomayor was right about the ‘richness’ of a person’s background being essential, she is seriously wrong to display so much bias and bitterness, inflated pride and division if she is to wear the title of “Justice”.  Justice is blind, not vengeful …

We also have to stop trying to demand government micromanage life.

sources:
http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/SupremeCourt/Sotomayor/SoniaSotomayor-Questionnaire.cfm
http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/legal_beat/2009/06/sotomayor-repeatedly-reference.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/28/firefighters-ruling-expected-monday-impact-sotomayor-confirmation/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regents_of_the_University_of_California_v._Bakke

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