I can’t help feeling like the Sotomayor Senate Judiciary hearings are some sort of perverse theatre-of-the-absurd joke on all of us. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announces at the beginning that she will almost certainly be confirmed, but we listen to Jeff Session (R-AL) say some dumb racist shit just for the hell of it. I’ve tried not to watch, but when I say this post at Feministe, I was reminded of some of the ridiculous places these hearings are headed.
Many of you have probably already heard of the group of black camp-goers who were kicked out of a swimming pool for being both and black and there at the same time. The situation is repulsive, but this video of the kids’ reactions is heartbreaking.
It reminded me of all the discussion of (god, they don’t make scare quotes big enough for this one) “reverse racism” surrounding Sotomayor’s nomination. It’s the same tack the conservatives took on Michelle Obama, to no avail. I’m willing to be some large amount of money that Sotomayor does not hate white people. But watching this video, I’m reminded of why it wouldn’t be irrational for her to distrust the white establishment.
If I were to take the anti-affirmative action right at their word and not at their almost certainly Klan-loving insinuations, they fear that Sotomayor and other Latinos as well as blacks are itching to enact some sort of revenge fantasy against the white powers that be. What they won’t admit or discuss is the long history of institutional racism that continues in America to this day. They won’t admit what causes them to fear imagined angry hordes of racial minorities. You can see in those kids’ eyes the lesson they got at that swimming pool, and I’d be shocked if Judge Sotomayor never got the same one a few times over at Princeton and Yale. The lesson is that there are places you are not welcome because the color of your skin. Equating the subsequent distrust of the white establishment with the vicious racism that brings that distrust on is intellectually dishonest at very leastonly pool, .
The take home message, although only tangentially related to the preceding post, is that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is a racist who “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he found out some of them were “pot smokers.” Therefore nothing he has to say, especially his informing of a Puerto Rican federal judge about racism, is worth listening to at all and should be generally ignored.