Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How Hard Will They Fight This One

President Obama’s pick of Sonia Sotomayor will be very interesting to watch. This will be a moment where America gets to learn something new about the Hispanic population of the country. I have Hispanic friends but I am still not that familiar with how they view people like politicians and Supreme Court Justices. I know how black people are about the first person to do anything. When you are the first black anything it is such a big deal that we will protect you forever. There’s a special place for the ceiling breakers. I bet there is a large portion of the people who couldn’t tell you much about what President Obama is doing right now but his picture is hanging up on their wall or they have an Obama t-shirt. On the city and state level every first black mayors, senators, judges or stuff like that have streets, schools, convention centers and anything else we can stick their name on in their honor. We’ll even let go of our own ideology in support of the first person to take a position. The last presidential election proved that.

Are my Hispanic brothers and sisters like this? If they are then this selection by President Obama was a stroke of genius. From what I have read conservatives would be standing on their principles to oppose her nomination. If they decide to go all out to stop her isn’t that like going all out to stop Thurgood Marshall? She would be the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court. If they stop her appointment and the next candidate isn’t Hispanic, are they basically conceding the 2012 election since the Hispanic population is growing every day? I want to see how it plays out. I think having a diverse Supreme Court is a big deal. It makes the law seem inclusive and fair even if that isn’t always the case. Clarence Thomas probably votes against my personal interests 90% of the time but his image still needs to be in the picture. Maybe Hispanic Americans are not into that kind of symbolism the way African Americans are. Republicans better hope so because she’s liberal and they have to fight her nomination or that will be the ultimate rollover.


Anita said...

I agree they will come at her but I don't know if it will be racist or sexist or both. I've read some think she does not have the "intellect," which is absurd because she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and was on the Yale Law Review. That's brainy. But I've also read she is "outspoken," which means something women are not supposed to be, which is sexist but it might also be code for "stereotypical Latina behavior" and racist.

I guess we'll see. I think we have the votes, though, as long as there is no horrendous secret lurking.

Your blog is very good and especially interesting lately. Thank you.

dsb said...

If Obama can follow with immigration reform by the midterm election, the Republicans will be toast--burnt toast.

vmm said...

Cliff there was a really good story yesterday on NPR's afternoon show where they talked about the conservatives questioning her "academic rigor" and I'm bummed I can't find it but the commentator when on to say that the "academic rigor" question has been raised with every single minority, including women, nominee starting with Thurgood Marshall. There's going to be a lot of negative rhetoric but I really think that Pres. Obama made a great choice.

mominem said...

Hispanics, at least in my experience don't see themselves as a single group.

I think you'll find that Hispanics as a group were largely invented by pollsters and politicians. That unlike blacks, there isn't a single predominate Hispanic voter profile.

A New York Puerto Rican is not that much like a Texas Mexicano or a Miami Cuban. There are people with Hispanic names who have been in New Orleans for hundreds of years.

They tend to see themselves as Puerto Rican or Cuban (who don't like each other much) or Mexican or Honduran or whatever first.

There are also sharp class divisions within most nationalities.

South Americans are clearly divided and some view themselves more as Europeans, especially the upper class South Americans.

The Brazilians don't even speak Spanish.

Puerto Ricans have been U. S. Citizens since 1917.

Richie Valens didn't speak Spanish.

adrastos said...

Under normal circumstances, Mominem would be right BUT this involves the Supreme Court. A reading of the press shows that Latins across the country are thrilled and bursting with pride.

K. said...

In 1967 when I was 12 years old, we moved from the Midwest to a small Texas town about a hundred miles from Mexico. Anglos held the economic power in the town but were a demographic minority. Living there and in San Antonio and Austin, I came to appreciate Mexican-Americans for their subtle intelligence, excellent sense of humor, and greatly misunderstood work ethic. (Trust me, accounts of Mexican-American laziness are a nasty stereotype with no basis in reality.)

I wouldn't presume to speak for any Mexican-American about Sonia Sotomayor, but I would expect a sense of solidarity with her.