Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No tolerance for intolerance

I disagree with Andrew Sullivan:
The critique of her seeming preoccupation with her heritage nonetheless seems valid to me, but it's also a little - how does one say this? - 1995. The underlying arguments about affirmative action are still relevant, of course, but their salience seems less potent now. I'm not sure why - perhaps the war and the recession and the debt make the intensity of those fights seem like a luxury of a time of peace and prosperity and fiscal sanity. Perhaps Obama has made racial diversity less threatening to some.
I think the racist views that Sotomayor appears to hold could be very damaging for her. There seems to be something about my generation, especially those of us who have invested a lot of time and energy into our education, that drives us to have a deep dislike of racist views, regardless of the race of the person holding them.
I certainly have zero tolerance for racism and, off the top of my head, I can think of many friends of mine, of a wide spectrum of political views, who share my lack of tolerance.

I'm very interested in hearing what other people have to say about this. Does Sotomayor potentially holding racist views and allowing those to influence her judicial decisions bother you? Do you think there is something unique about our generation (the edge of Gen X and Gen Y) that causes us to feel especially disdainful towards public figures holding racist views?


Oreo said...

I agree with you. In this day and age we (Gex X, Y and whichever comes next) have little to no tolerance for people in power. We have come to a point in our history where the color of someone's skin, or the place they grew up should have no effect on their judgment of their fellow man. It is unacceptable that we have been raised to have open minds and open hearts, and yet the politicians have no compassion.

John said...

Well, I don't think the issue is politicians having compassion, so much as a judge allowing her compassion for one group of people over another to have sway on her interpritation of how a law should be carried out.

There's a reason that the statue of justice is blind, so that she can weigh the facts of a situation with regards to the law, blind of her own personal feelings towards those involved.

Anonymous said...

I agree that racism is unacceptable and that opinions should be drawn from a case to case matter instead of being stereotyped. BUT....Looking at it as a whole does change certain situations. For example lets take an area in Connecticut that has a higher cost or living, and compare their schools with the ones in any inner city. You cannot tell me that they are receiving the same education. If you really want it to be equal then lets stop kidding ourselves by trying to think that all spectrums are equal. More often than not minorities end up with a lower level of education because of their lower incomes. She doesn't lack compassion she is speaking the truth. Sure she could have worded it better, but it is what it is. We are supposed to have open minds, but that doesn't mean blinding everyone from the raw truth. Everyone does not have the same opportunities. You look at the journey of a young minority raised in the slums and then take someone of a white collar community that have both arrived at the same location...Tell me the journey wasn't more difficult for the minority. Tell me the journey was equal to get to the same place. It wasn't.

John said...

I don't disagree that where someone comes from can inform their opinions and allow them to see certain situations more clearly. However, I don't believe that unique experiences exist only for those who are in the minority on a national level.

A white kid growing up in a majority black slum is the minority for all intents and purposes. Could he not have lived a life very similar to her's even though he is white? If she had said that the richness of her experiences makes her wiser than someone who hasn't had them, then I would be fine with that, even though I still wouldn't agree with it. However, she applies race to her statement, as though some how her racial origin gives her an advantage over someone of a different race. That is the very definition of racism.

Also, her quote isn't directed towards some specific set of circumstances that she would have more insight into, but towards being a judge in general. There is no reason to believe that under certain circumstances a European, African, Asian, or male of any other ethnicity, with his experiences, wouldn't be able to reach a better conclusion than her.

Finally, a supreme court justice shouldn't be drawing from their life experiences when deciding how a law should apply. The idea that how a law will applied to me could vary from judge to judge depending upon their personal background is very troubling. Law needs to be universally applied, regardless of the back ground of the individual enforcing it. While I understand that is not the case, and of course a judge's background influences their decision, it should still be limited as much as necessary. This is especially true at the level of the supreme court, which sets precedent for every other court in this country.

John said...

"necessary" should have been "possible" in my last paragraph.