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Grin & Bear It

Mark Krikorian, who I generally think of as one of the good guys (i.e., one of the real conservatives) at National Review, argues that Republicans shouldn't call Sonia Sotomayor a "racist," despite her membership in the National Council of La Raza, her notorious remarks about the superiority of "wise latina" over "white male" life experience, her attempt to deep-six the Ricci case, etc.:

"Gingrich, Limbaugh, and Tancredo crying 'racist' isn't going to help at all. I know that's unfair, because any kind of Republican nominee, even a Hispanic woman judge, would already have been crucified based on the comments Judge Sotomayor has made, and any on the Left who deny that are simply lying. But that's the reality of the battlespace we're in."

Unsurprisingly, Rich Lowry, who, I must admit, I generally do not think of as one of the good guys (i.e., one of the real conservatives) at National Review, sees Krikorian & raises the stakes:

"Don't call her...'racist'...Don't whine about the double standard when...it's just a fact that a white male can't say the kind of things she did in her 'Latina lecture' and survive (if you don't understand why, you haven't paid attention to American history)..."

...from which I gather that the Head Honcho at National Review today thinks that there's something about American history that makes "Latina" racism (not to mention sexism) more acceptable than the white male variety. So acceptable, in fact, that one mustn't call it out for what it so obviously is.

Well...ummm..excuse me?

Just exactly what history is Mr. Lowry talking about, here?

I'm genuinely puzzled.

Comments (13)

William F. Buckley to Rich Lowry. My have the mighty fallen.

She looks at the world, she looks at the world of politics, of culture, of law and the economy, and she looks at it all THROUGH THE PRISM OF RACE.

Thus by any objective standard, she was and currently is a "racist."

She is fixated on race. She was educated to be fixated on race, and she wouldn't know how to look at the world through any other prism.

The idea of looking at the world WITHOUT a prism, or through the prism provided by Christ and the Holy Spirit, probably hasn't even occurred to her.

I'm just waiting for someone to ask her: "Please tell me how your race informs your decision making on search and seizure?

Or then again, "please tell us how your clitoris informs your take on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure # 56, dealing with Summary Judgement, or Rule 12, dealing with Directed Verdicts?"

"Please tell us too how the fact that your skin is somewhat "brown," and the fact that you've a clitoris with which you're well-acquainted, tell us how that informs your judgement on the Takings clause?"

Race and gender as a prism on much of anythng is a recipe for idiocy!

Just to follow up: I spent several of my early years growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where - queer little white boy that I was - I soon found myself (a) permanently physically disfigured, (b) strangled to within fear of my life, & (c) eternally terrified of Hispanic gangs & their seemingly limitless, unassuagable hatred of "gringos" and "maricons."

But, hey - I'm white & male. So I guess my experience doesn't count for much, compared to that of a "wise Latina."

One of Auster's commentators told a rather weird and chilling anecdote about a relative (by marriage, I believe) of his who, when a child, refused to help clean up after her grandmother had cut herself on the grounds that her grandmother was "not of Spanish blood." Huh? You know--she wouldn't clean up _blood_, because it wasn't "Spanish" blood. Extremely bizarre. It sounds like maybe there's a lot of that in the hispanic world.

That's pretty much why I let my subscription to NR lapse and don't read the Corner as obsessively anymore. It's not so much that NR isn't a decent conservative outlet without a few good writers (Goldberg, Steyn, McCarthy, Ponnuru on cultural issues), but that they're way too politics oriented. What I mean by that is that they have a very Washington-centric view of things that has them fixated on political rather than policy outcomes. I'm much too young to have read it during Buckley's heyday, but from what I have gleaned the magazine used to be a place to read great articles about conservative ideas. Now it's more concerned about achieving Republican electoral victories.

Now I understand you can't totally divorce politics from policy, but to focus on one to the exclusion of the other is wrongheaded.

Straight out of a Catholic school at eighteen in Princeton and all she can think about is how racist and horrible Princeton is for Puerto Ricans.

That's an amazing agenda and fixation to carry with you into your first year of college when you're actually thought to be open to fresh experiences, new people, different perspectives, and the cultural history and achievements of the West.

But she like Obama's wife get there with a chip they're encouraged to carry on their shoulder. Amazing.

I'm assuming she was an affirmative action baby, too, but that's only speculation given the fact that she doesn't appear to be very smart, just very arrogant and smug.

Oh yeah, another great case of Catholic formation.

There's an argument to be made that Republicans' accusations of racism and sexism against Democrats and leftists only reinforce identity politics and the power of PC over more fruitful means of criticism.

For instance, was the left's horrid treatment of Sarah Palin wrong mainly because it was sexist? Or because it was dishonest, dishonorable and propagandistic?


I guess this debate is about the appropriate rhetoric to describe the kind of thinking that goes on in someone like Sotomayor's head. On the one hand, you eloquently describe what racist thinking and behavior is like when you talk about your experience in Santa Fe ("I soon found myself (a) permanently physically disfigured, (b) strangled to within fear of my life, & (c) eternally terrified of Hispanic gangs & their seemingly limitless, unassuagable hatred of "gringos" and "maricons.")

I think this is a good working definition of racism: someone who irrationally hates all members of some racial group. So I don't think the description of "racist" fits Sotomayor. What I do think, is that there is a double standard that should be attacked and discredited when it comes to what I'll call "racial thinking", which is what I think you can accuse Sotomayor of being guilty. But here we do come across a double standard, as someone like Sotomayor can get away with her statement but someone like James Watson is subjected to the "two-minute hate", as Steve Sailer would put it. So I'd like to see conservatives fight for the right for folks to talk about racial issues without automatically being branded a "racist" if you believe there are racial differences between human beings. Because then we can get down to the brass tacks of observing the evidence (i.e. is it really true that "Latina women" make better decisions than white men? how does one measure this? what is your standard for evaluating legal decisions? etc.) and coming conclusions without labeling Sotomayor or James Watson a racist (instead we can use labels like stupid or smart to describe the differences between the two individuals).

The phrasing "wise latina" fits perfectly well with the theme of her speech. She said that white men also made wise and good rulings on gender and race, but that an Latino, Black or other, will, as Alito pointed out, have a better depth of understanding some cases about minorities and discrimination, having lived it. And, if going by Webster's Dictionary, a racist believes in the superiority of their race, and I haven't yet seen anything indication she thinks that. I also think comparing her to the KKk as Gingrich did, is just lame and dishonest.

Can't Rich Lowry's comment be taken as a reflection on American mainstream media's liberal deathgrip, in which no other point of view than that criticism of the nominee is pure racism will ever even be mentioned, much less considered? So even saying it merely guarantees a lynching party formed before you can even get the words out "but wait, I mean..." The critical word in Rich's comment is "survive", and I suspect he means it in a strictly political sense of chances at winning the next election.

Not that I necessarily agree with that take - there is a lot more media venue than MSM these days. And the next election is a pretty short-sighted perspective to control all political thought. And truth needs to be spoken at times even if you do get lynched for it. But you have a right to ask whether the outcome is worth the effort and the expected backlash.

I think a basic, irrational contempt (and hatred, unvoiced except in code) for all things White, European, English, and particularly American Founding Father history and culture classifies as racism.

Unfortunately, there are also so many whites who espouse such an attitude that the water gets muddied and acts as a cover. How can Obama be racist and hate whites and America, when I'm white and I hate my race and America? Just sayin' they're evil, man, but if you say the achievement gap might have something to do with IQ, you're Hitler, dude.


She said that white men also made wise and good rulings on gender and race, but that an Latino, Black or other, will, as Alito pointed out, have a better depth of understanding some cases about minorities and discrimination, having lived it.
Because white people never suffer from discrimination in modern society? That's the first bad assumption. The second false assumption is to believe that "having lived it" necessarily leads to better judgment. Unfortunately, in an imperfect world, "having lived it" sometimes damages people in ways that cause them to perpetuate more hate. Sometimes the experience of racism is beneficial to one's character and judgment. Other times, the experience can lead to a deformation of character and judgment, especially if the victim is counseled poorly.

The "heroic minority turns the other cheek and becomes a wise, gracious and forgiving person with a big heart" certainly happens. But not always or even often. The question is: what has happened in each particular case?

In any case, it ought to be clear that a person who has not "lived it" does not necessarily need to have done so in order to exercise better judgment in cases involving "it" than someone who has "lived it."

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