In a recently published article, “Of Race, Gender and Justice,” Linda Chavez, a prominent and influential conservative, reiterates some of the arguments she made before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. This article is a splendid example of the White Racial Framework running full-blast.
Chavez has blown out of proportion Sotomayor’s statement that the ethnicity and sex of a judge
may and will make a difference in our judging.
Sotomayor’s assertion pointed to events experienced particularly by nonwhites and females that may heighten their perceptions in judicial cases. There is nothing radical about this statement. In an instance of poor thinking, Chavez contends that Sotomayor’s statement clearly indicates that Sotomayor
believes that one’s race and ethnicity should determine (my emphasis) how someone will rule as a judge.
The root of the “problem,” in Chavez’ eyes, is Sotomayor’s “identity politics.” Chavez explains that
Identity politics involves a sense of grievance against the majority, a feeling that racism permeates American society and its institutions, and the belief that members of one’s own group are victims in a perpetual power struggle with the majority.
Chavez can call it “Identity politics,” but I see it simply as an accurate description of what many minority members feel. The perception of a socially-ingrained, pernicious U.S. racism against Puerto Ricans is widely shared by many Puerto Rican people and intellectuals, both in the United States and in the island of Puerto Rico.
As I write these lines, The New York Times reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a 13-6 vote, endorsed Sotomayor’s nomination. It was widely predicted so it was no surprise.
Speaking of surprises, I saw a column Chavez published on April 17 of this year. The topic was “Supporting Family Values.” Although the column is not free of “Chavezms,” it praises the “illegal” family and disputes predictions that the “illegals” will never fully adapt.
This is the side of Linda Chavez that I’d like to see more of, to the point that such columns would not be surprising anymore.