Writing While White

Barack Obama did not choose to be black and white. You did not choose to be whatever your racial or ethnic heritage is. It is not an accident of birth. It is obviously linked to a choice selected by those two people who happen to be your parents. So why is race and ethnicity so important?

Using a word without the current hot button issue significance like ‘race card’ can render this term, ethnocentrism. Borrowing from Wordnet, this is the ‘belief in the superiority of one’s own ethnic group.’ Your race or your ethnicity and cultural heritage are viewed as the most important and it influences your view of the world and what is important.

We are all to some degree racist or xenophobic or at the very least, prejudice. We should all simply agree that it is the way things are and we are not likely to change it or make it go away. So let’s just deal with it and accept the fact we all participate and contribute to the problem.

Because the Senate confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor are being held this week the ‘race card’, our ‘ethnocentrism’ is again at center stage. For all the posturing on the ideal of judges being objective interpreters of the law and how it applies to matters brought before the court this process is entirely political.

Could we please stop pretending it is anything else? After all, any reports, discussion, analysis of the process or even the process itself is reduced to a battle between two political philosophies. The primary question is whether or not the nomination will be of a liberal or conservative, essentially a Democrat or Republican and which party will the confirmed choice benefit.

What seems to be the only practical matter centers on two points. Past confirmations have not guaranteed the perceived left or right leaning translating to the expected vote on the court. And the party affiliation of the President dictates the selection of a nominee perceived to be a benefit to that party. There appears to be no practical matter for forcing all participants to adhere to the objective ideal.

So the nomination and confirmation process of advice and consent is strictly political theatre. It also seems clear that Sotomayor is not objective and her published body of work demonstrates that. But the show must go on. And both teams (since that is all we have) will act out this foolish attempt to appear objective pursuing the ideal in this political charade.

All that is left to do is express one’s opinion. Accepting my ethnocentrism and expressing my intent to be objective I respectfully submit the Senate should reject the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice to SCOTUS. This opinion comes from a white male who believes his rich experience results in a better conclusion than a Latina woman.

Stanford Matthews