Really, Scalia? Does “Originalist” Mean You’d Own Slaves If You Could? (UPDATED)

UPDATE: According to a video of the event, Justice Scalia’s quotes were taken out of context, at least regarding Brown v. Board of Education. The newspaper altered its story. It’s not really clear what happened, but I think my quotes below are still accurate, so I’ll leave them up.

Ugh, I am so disgusted by what I just read on Huffington Post.

Apparently, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would have dissented if he had been on the court for Brown v. Board of Education.

Appearing on stage with Justice Stephen Breyer, Scalia cautioned against “inventing new rights nobody ever thought existed.” Scalia said he advocates an “originalist” approach to the Constitution, warning against an “evolutionary” legal philosophy that he described as, “close your eyes and decide what you think is a good idea.”

I think that’s out of control. It’s almost as if he’s suggesting that nothing should ever change. Any challenge to the way things were should be rejected because it would violate the original intent and invent “new rights.”

Last time I checked, equality wasn’t “new.” The only thing new is how modern society understands ways of protecting and maintaining equality. Scalia apparently thinks is that such new understandings should never be incorporated:

“The only thing you can be sure of is the Constitution will mean whatever the American people want it to mean today,” Scalia said. “And that’s not what a Constitution is for. The whole purpose of a constitution is to constrain the desires of the current society.”

This is a man who has 11% of the ultimate responsibility to uphold my rights and he’s still hung up on change that happened 55 years ago?

Perhaps he thinks that slavery should be legal, or that black Americans should only be counted as 3/5th. I mean, that’s what the Constitution originally said. Women shouldn’t be able to work or vote, either. I mean, after all, there was no provision for suffrage in the original Constitution. He probably thinks I should apologize to all my friends of color I went to school with for pretending I was okay with them being there when really I should be secretly appalled at their special invented right to go to school with me.

And we’re supposed to respect this man’s judgment when he can’t make his point without invoking Godwin’s Law (a preposterous reference to Hitler inventing a car)?

Please. This man’s way of thinking is archaic and it is disgusting that he holds such a prestigious position.

What a waste of the title “Justice.”



Defend Joe Wilson Against Leftist Attacks!!

Haha, I promise the title of this post does not reflect how I feel. Also, know that this post is not a poe. This is an email I received from World Net Daily today. I’m not going to bother with extensive commentary, but there are a few remarks and extra links at the bottom. (Note: All the “CLICK HERE” links linked to a Minuteman PAC donation page.) For your convenience, the text is quoted below the image captures.

joewilsonwnd1joewilsonwnd2

Fellow Patriot,

This is an urgent alert! A fellow patriot, Congressman Joe Wilson, is under severe attack from the left for telling the truth!

Last night, Barack Obama tried once again to sell the American people on his fallacious government health care plan. And he continued the pandering when he claimed, “the reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

Rep. Wilson, in a fit of patriot passion, yelled, “You lie!

FINALLY! Some one said what’s on all of our minds!

No more milquetoast passing of the buck like calling lies “misinformation”, “misdirection”, or “confusion of the facts.” We need to call a lie a lie…and that’s just what Joe Wilson did!

Now, Rep. Wilson is under vehement attack from the Left. Turncoat Sen. Specter is calling for Wilson’s censure and now the forces of the left are using the event to raise thousands of dollars in campaign funds for Wilson’s Democrat opponent.

We MUST rally around Joe Wilson and send a message to our patriots in Washington: “Don’t be afraid to tell the truth! Call a spade a spade!”

The future of our country is at stake, yet the politicos in Washington are more worried about perception and decorum than telling the truth to the American people.

Not backing down, Joe Wilson is defending his argument: that ObamaCare WILL cover illegal aliens.

And he should know:

Rep. Wilson is an immigration attorney in South Carolina AND he helped push amendments to the health care bill that would have expressly prevented coverage for illegal aliens …

… but the Democrats in the House killed those amendments.

This begs a question: If illegal aliens aren’t going to be covered by ObamaCare, then what’s the harm in specifically prohibiting it?

We all know the answer to that question: BECAUSE THEY’RE LYING!!!

Pure and simple.

Now, the pro-amnesty, pro-ObamaCare forces of the left are loading all their guns to take out Joe Wilson.

Are we simply going to stand by and watch while a patriot congressman gets destroyed in the media?

NO! We will fight and defend him. We MUST send the message to Washington that the American people will support and defend leaders who don’t back down to pressure from the media and threats from the Obama White House!

We need to move quickly to send a clarion message to the Left…

… help us act now on behalf of Joe Wilson!

Friends, it’s in times like these that our patriotism and belief in our republic are put to the test. Let’s not fail this test. Let’s not fail Joe Wilson. Join us in ensuring his re-election now!

For the Republic,

Brett Farley
Executive Director
Minuteman PAC

P.S. Rep. Joe Wilson called Barack Obama out as a liar in last night’s address to Congress. And now he’s being dragged through mud… simply because he cared more about the truth than about what others think. The Left is doing everything in their power to destroy him, and they’ve already raised thousands for Wilson’s opponent. Help us fight back and defend Joe Wilson.


Disgraceful.

In case you forgot, missed it, or are just curious, here’s what Wilson said in his “apology”:

This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.

As Rachel Maddow reported last night, he apologized for being rude, but not for being wrong.

This convoluted non-apology is consistent with his ramblings to the press today:

Since last night, Wilson’s 2010 Democratic opponent has raised over $500,000.

Senator Arlen Specter has called for censure.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wilson used to be a page for Strom Thurmond, and even defended Thurmond from accusations he had an illegitimate daughter with a black woman.

Joe Wilson is also known to have defended the Confederate Flag, claiming, “the Confederate heritage is very honorable” and dismissing any claims of racism or hate as “offensive.”

What a winner. Thanks South Carolina.



Pat Buchanon: The Epitome of Racism in Our Country

It has occurred to me that, with a lot of issues, that I might have a tendency to repeat myself.  That’s why for today, I’m going to refer to past posts before I share this awe-inspiring video.

Here is a post I made in March about Affirmative Action: Misunderstanding Affirmative Action

Here is a post I made last month about the accusations of racism about Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor: Sorry white men (and Ann Coulter), Sotomayor is not a racist.  You are.

Read those first.  Then watch this ridiculous video.  I am so impressed by Rachel Maddow as she interviews Pat Buchanon in this clip:

(UPDATE: In Rachel’s broadcast on the following Monday, she responded to this discussion. That clip is at the bottom of this post.)

Here are a few excerpts:

Well, I think I would vote no on Sonia Sotomayor the same way I would’ve voted no on Harriet Miers and I said so the first day she was nominated. I don’t think Judge Sotomayor is qualified for the United States Supreme Court. She has not shown any great intellect here or any great depth of knowledge of the Constitution. She’s never written anything that I’ve read in terms of a law review article or a major book or something like that on the law. And I do believe she’s an affirmative action appointment by the President of the United States. He eliminated everyone but four women and then he picked the Hispanic, so I think this is an affirmative action appointment and I would vote no.

Affirmative action is to increase diversity by discriminating against white males.

Affirmative action is basically reverse discrimination against white males, and it’s as wrong as discrimination against black females and Hispanics and others, and that’s why I oppose it.

Like there’s any other kind of reverse discrimination, Pat?  I think you get the idea.  You have to love that reverse discrimination meme. (It’s pretty much a joke to anyone who knows anything about social justice.)  White men never get tired of using it.  The only other group of people you hear use it are white women who forget that they’re women and had to work twice as hard to get where they are.  Or Ann Coulter.

Actually, let’s get a few more of these quotes.  I think when you look at them in isolation, the racism just shines right through.  What else do you have to say, Pat, ol’ buddy?

Well, I think white men were 100% of the people that [sic] wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built, basically, by white folks in this country who were 90% of the entire nation in 1960 when I was growing up, Rachel, and the other 10% were African Americans who had been discriminated against. That’s why.

Wow, Pat, no sense of entitlement there.  Who references Vicksburg?

Just a friendly reminder as you watch the rest of the clip: Affirmative action only promotes minority candidates who are qualified.  When Pat suggests that Sotomayor only got into Princeton because of affirmative action, she had to prove she was qualified to get into Princeton before she could be admitted.  If she got in and a white man with higher scores did not, it doesn’t mean she was not as qualified.  Admissions set a bar and choose from among all the candidates who are qualified, and only after that distinction is made does affirmative action weigh in.

Want some more?

I believe everybody should get a chance to excel and be on the United States Supreme Court, but if I look at the U.S. track team in the Olympics, and they’re all black folks [watch Rachel flinch], I don’t automatically assume it’s discrimination. I will say, I think maybe those are the fastest guys we got…

See how ignorant you are to privilege, Pat?  You assume that everybody has a level playing field.  You assume that everybody has the same “chance to excel.”  That’s not what the case is in our country.  It couldn’t be farther from the truth.  By the way, Pat, do you support eugenics?  If you still think black people should only do athletics, it makes me wonder…

If you say, “Be the best we can be,” we’re not being the best we can be with Sonia Sotomayor, and I think you know it.

You know what I think they oughta do? They oughta defend the legitimate rights of white working-class folks who are the victims of discrimination, because that’s the right thing to do, and because it’s the politically right thing to do.

WE GOTTA DEFEND THE WHITES!  Thank you, Pat.

I hope, my dear readers, this has been an informative exercise at how palpable racism still is in our society.  Pat, unfortunately, speaks for many.

UPDATE (7/21/09): Rachel responded, herself, to the claims Pat made:



Brüno: It Takes Silly Absurdities to Reveal Harsh Realities

So, succumbing to all the hype, I attended the premiere midnight showing of Brüno last night.  Here are my reactions and reflections.

*WARNING: There are some general spoilers in this post about what happens in the movie.*

I’ll start by saying this: I liked it.  In fact, I actually felt I left the theatre with a positive message.  Brüno is filthy, offensive, and absurd, but it actually has a decent point to make.

If you walk into Brüno expecting some coherent, gripping plot, then you are a clueless hermit who has never heard of Sacha Baron Cohen.  As in Borat, the character of Brüno is merely a device designed to create reactions.  In a sense, it’s a very extreme form of candid camera.  Some of the scenes, such as a sex montage that was surely inspired by Team America: World Police (with an inventive homage to Burn After Reading), are for the audience directly, whereas others are more to capture the reactions of the innocent passers-by in the camera’s view.

What is interesting is the way that Brüno is essentially the opposite of Borat.  Borat represented “foreign,” and created many unique scenarios that exposed much of the xenophobia and racism Americans can express.  Brüno actually represents an exaggerated archetype of the American dream: rich, glamorous, celebrity.  This personification creates many opportunities to reveal sexism, racism, classism, and definitely quite a bit of homophobia and heterosexism.  Many have expressed concern that Brüno’s sexual orientation represents a mockery of the gay community, but my reaction was that I did not actually perceive the character as playing gay the way we think of, say, Jack McFarland.

Let me be clear: Brüno is stereotypically gay. He’s got the effeminate posture, the revealing wardrobe, and the oversexed behavior and bitchy queen attitude that fill out the stereotype, but I felt it was so obviously over-the-top that it almost became irrelevant as I watched the movie.  When I go back and watch Will & Grace, I often feel like Jack epitomizes the idea of “queerface” that Brüno has been accused of.  Jack was a straight actor playing a gay man the way society saw gay men, and it was normalized.  What the 90s saw as progress of gay inclusion, we can now look back on as gay manipulation.  We cheered Jack’s flamboyance and weekly hook-ups while actually kind of hoping Will would start a family… but with Grace, not another successful mature gay man like Will.  It’s almost kind of astonishing how heterocentric Will & Grace is in hindsight.

Brüno is different because the character makes no assumption of being normal.  You expect to actually find gay men like Jack; you don’t expect to find gay men like Brüno.  In my theatre audience, I heard a few “gay panic laughs,” nervous isolated reactions by men because suddenly something gay happened, like if Brüno seemed to be coming on to someone who was straight.  But it’s clear the intent is usually not to laugh at Brüno because of his eccentricity, but to observe the reactions of the people who don’t realize he’s not real.

And the reactions are quite telling.

There are kind of two parts of the movie.  The first chunk is mostly about making fun of the celebrity ideal.  I was honestly delighted by how easily Brüno revealed “fame” for what it really often is: shallow and stupid.  From the way Brüno exposes and creates controversy himself to the way he reveals what others will do for fame (including a great montage of sell-out stage parents), the movie’s message is clear: fame is overrated.  Somehow, though, he also worked into the movie the fact that war in the middle east is stupid.  Much like Tim Minchin suggests peace over not eating pigs, Brüno suggests peace through the eating of the healthy snack that is hummus.

The rest of the movie really is about sexual orientation and gender roles, and I thought it actually did an effective job of demonstrating just how ridiculous anti-gay and patriarchal views are in the United States.  Brüno decides he can’t be famous if he’s gay (which alone is representative of the disadvantage and oppression the LGBT community does experience), and so goes on a quest to become straight.  Along the way, he speaks to Christian ex-gay therapists (one of whom had awful things to say about women), he goes to boot camp and self-defense training, he goes hunting, he attends a swingers’ party, and then, in the movie’s denouement, he creates quite the controversy for an arena of wrestling fans.  In each of these scenarios, people’s discomfort with same-sex relations—despite comfort with opposite-sex sexuality—becomes the true exposé.  While many of the reactions are not quite as extreme as the viewer hopes for, they don’t have to be to get the point across.

One of the best examples of this is an encounter Brüno has with former Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul.  While certainly not being a gay rights activist, Paul’s libertarianism was often lauded as progressive, particularly when he suggested he would support same-sex marriage.  Unfortunately for Paul, he represents the perfect example of how talking the talk is not the same as walking the walk.  When Brüno comes on to Paul, his reaction is offensive and intolerant.  Though prompted by absurdity, I found the scene one of the most poignant in the movie: saying you support or tolerate gays or saying you have gay friends doesn’t mean you’re an ally.  Paul’s reaction represents the invisible homophobia that persists in society.  When Brüno knocks over a Westboro Baptist Church (“God Hates Fags”) picketer while trapped in leather bondage, you realize that it’s not the trivial, obvious Phelps clan that maintains oppression in our society, it’s the closet homophobes like Ron Paul.

Yes, Brüno intentionally tries to make you cringe in the graphic over-the-top ways first inspired by Jackass.  There is plenty in the movie to find wholly offensive, and sometimes it’s so offensive, the audience laughs because people don’t know how else to respond.  Surely, there is nothing funny about deciding whether Jamie Lynn Spears’s baby should be aborted, but what is funny is how shallow and pretentious the rich and famous can be.  There is nothing funny about using Mexican workers as furniture, but the portrayal of how the rich literally sit upon the poor is profoundly symbolic.  And there is nothing funny about an arena full of wrestling fans chanting “Straight Pride,” but it is remarkable to see how easy it is to get people to show their true colors.

Brüno‘s goal is to trigger people’s reactions—both on screen and in the audience—and the film succeeds. What astounds me, though, is how the movie actually makes you think.  Brüno reminds us that we have to stop trying to measure up to the American ideal (white, rich, Christian, heterosexual, patriarchal), and start trying to meausure up to a better human ideal.



Sorry white men (and Ann Coulter), Sotomayor is not a racist. You are.

Why does this damn “reverse discrimination” meme continue?

Oh right, FOX News.

I’m just going to put it out there: “reverse discrimination” is bullshit.  It’s a weak claim made by powerful white people who don’t want their privilege challenged in the slightest.

Let’s look at Sotomayor’s infamous quote again:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

I’m going to put it out there: even without additional context, it’s not a racist statement.

The key words to think about are “who hasn’t lived that life.”  The context we need is already there.  She’s talking about being able to relate to the experiences of women and people of color.  She is saying that a Latina woman who has endured the trials of sexism and racism in America will have a much more personal context from which to relate to someone else struggling with sexism and racism.

If there is a white man out there who claims to know more about the experiences of people of color and women than people of color and women, let him say so.  None of the people that have called Sotomayor a racist or reverse racist will actually claim that, but please, we know it’s what they’re implying.  You don’t get to say you know more about racism.  We’re white and have power and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

Pat Buchanon:

The question is: does she believe in reverse discrimination against white males?  And it appears she does.

Please, tell me, what would that look like?  How would she discriminate against a white male?

I thought I was done addressing this in the Farce File last week, but it just has me so damn irritated.

If the words “reverse discrimination” come out of your mouth, you are the racist.  You are the one trying to maintain your racial privilege.  You are the one trying to defame a person of color.  You are the ignorant one.

If anyone knows this, it’s Newt Gingrich.  Look at how frantically he’s trying to backpedal:

My initial reaction was strong and direct — perhaps too strong and too direct. The sentiment struck me as racist and I said so. Since then, some who want to have an open and honest consideration of Judge Sotomayor’s fitness to serve on the nation’s highest court have been critical of my word choice.

With these critics who want to have an honest conversation, I agree. The word ‘racist’ should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable (a fact which both President Obama and his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, have since admitted).

Again I say: bullshit.  Notice what he didn’t say?  “I’m sorry.”  Notice what else he didn’t say? “I was wrong.”  Notice what else he didn’t say? “Sotomayor is not a racist.”

It’s clear from the statement that all he cares about is saving face.  All he is acknowledging is that he shouldn’t have said “racist.”  When I read the statement, it sure seems to me that he still thinks she is a racist.  He certainly thinks her words were racist.  And he has no intention of backing down from that.

It’s time to call out the racists for who they really are.  Go watch that video again.

If I can help it, I’m not going to bring this issue up again.  These people are pathetic and I find it sickening that such obvious racism is still a part of mainstream dialogue and isn’t being properly checked.

Understanding the privilege I have as a white man, myself, is a challenging lifelong process, but I’m so glad that I have made enough progress that I can call out these bigots when I see them.

If people start having legitimate conversations about Sotomayor’s competence as a judge and her capacity to sit on SCOTUS, let me know.  Until then, I’m not humoring any more dialogue about whether or not she might be a “reverse racist.”  What a crock.



Friday Fundamentalist Farce File #6

It takes a lot of time to generate the Farce File, but it still feels like shooting fish in a barrel.  OneNewsNow is almost too easy to debunk.  It’s definitely still fun though, until you get weeks like this where the shit really piles up.

This week’s themes: 1) Let’s legislate religion and pretend we’re not! 2) Racism!  And lots of it!

friday-fundamental-farce-file

blog-bullet 5/23/09 – Okla. governor signs bill allowing Ten Commandments monument

A friend of mine was applying for a job in Oklahoma, and I cited this as why I would probably not consider moving there ever.

Apparently, the bill’s sponsor is going to use $10,000 of his family funds to pay for the monument.  If I were one of the kids in that family, I’d be pissed:

Dad, that’s my college education you’re spending on a big rock that violates the first amendment!
Oh, don’t worry, son.  It’s only going to honor the historical significance, not the religious significance
.
Weren’t they historically destroyed the first time around?  I’ll start working on my golden calf to set things in motion.

Just a friendly reminder of what the Oklahomans are going to put in their state capitol. (I copied the version from the Texas State Capitol, since no two versions look alike.  Ugh, that monument is awful with the flag and the eagle and… ugh.)

I AM the LORD thy God.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven images.
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Honor thy father and thy mother that…

Sorry, I can’t be bothered.  Historical significance my ass.  It’s unconstitutional.

blog-bullet BONUS – Get TEA buttons, stickers, and shirts.  They should charge a whole lot more for that shit, since the only people whose taxes are going up is the group in the highest tax bracket.  They can afford to buy much pricier stickers.  They definitely don’t need free shipping.

blog-bullet 5/24/09 – Prison inmates awarded ministry degrees

You know what?  I’m just going to let this article speak for itself.  No commentary will be necessary:

PARCHMAN, MS – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has awarded bachelor’s degrees in Christian Ministry to 28 inmates at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

With caps and gowns draped over their prison stripes, the new ministers — many of them convicted rapists and murderers — accepted their degrees.

Their graduation speaker was Burl Cain, longtime warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. He urged the new ministers to help transform prison culture through their faith.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary first began offering prison courses to Louisiana inmates in 1996 and now works with correctional systems in Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.

A similar program administered by Columbia International University operates in South Carolina. It graduated 15 inmates in December.

I wonder how many liberal arts electives are required to get a bachelor’s in Christian Ministry in prison.  I also wonder if they had to pay $30 for their caps and gowns like other students (myself included, on top of some random graduation fee) do.

For the record, I am all about educating prisoners and helping them learn and grow.  I am against, however, indoctrinating and “saving” them.

blog-bullet 5/25/09 – There was no Daily News Brief for Memorial Day.  OneNewsNow does not observe the Sabbath (despite the fact the Bible dictates that they should), but they do apparently observe national holidays.  Those fundamentalists are so patriotic.

blog-bullet 5/26/09 – 2010: The year of the Bible?

Yup.  There is actually a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives proposing this.  (If nothing else, go look at the wonderful poll OneNewsNow did about the chances of this bill passing.)

Here’s what I hate most about this ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money and representation: the fact that people have to defend being against this bill.

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) says he is not against the Bible or the resolution, but simply believes the bill endorses religion and adds that the federal government should stay out of such matters.

Did Nadler really feel like he had to make sure people knew he wasn’t against the Bible?  If more people actually read the Bible, they might be against it too.  There’s some pretty atrocious stuff in there.  (I’m currently enjoying David Plotz’s The Good Book.  Check it out on Audible.com.)

Of course, this bill isn’t about Christianity.

Broun claims the bill actually has nothing to do with Christianity. He is simply urging Americans to return to the biblical foundation that he contends established and built America.

I think he missed the part where almost all the founding fathers were secularists.  Oh, and the Treaty of Tripoli thing…

blog-bullet 5/27/09 – Perspective: Not all ‘compelling personal stories’ are equal

I think I’m going to have to write up a whole separate post about “racism” in relation to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.  In this Perspective piece, Michelle Malkin gives us plenty to work with.

Republicans are not allowed to mention Sotomayor’s ethnicity lest they be branded bigots, but every Democrat on cable television harped on her multicultural “diversity” and “obstacle”-climbing. Obama made sure to roll his r’s when noting that her parents came from Puerrrrto Rrrrico. New York Sen. Charles Schumer stated outright: “It’s long overdue that a Latino sit on the United States Supreme Court.” Color-coded tokenism dominated the headlines, with blaring references to Sotomayor as the high court’s potential “first Hispanic.”

Wow, so much to unpack.  Let’s see.  “Diversity” is diversity.  “Obstacles” are obstacles.  I think honoring the native pronunciation of an American territory is respectful.  Was it tokenism that Obama would become the first Black President?  There’s just too much White privilege to unpack, which is kind of scary since Malkin is actually Filipina.

You know what, I can’t even continue with this.  I’ll post about this later if I gather the patience to unpack all the privilege.

blog-bullet BONUS – Supreme Court nominee supports reverse discrimination.  Yup.  A special alert with one of the most racist ideas in its headline.  In case you didn’t know it, “reverse discrimination” is what people in the privileged group say when they realize they’re losing some of their power.  It’s self-victimization to protest the evening of the playing field.  Read just how petty the attacks are:

Dear Zack,

Here is a brief look at President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. You may want to forward this to your friends.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

President Obama has promised to nominate liberal judicial activists who will indulge their left-wing policy preferences based on “empathy” instead of neutrally in applying the law. In selecting Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee, President Obama has carried out his promise.

In a speech as a Court of Appeals judge, she said, “The court is where policy is made.” Her opinions have followed that approach. What she was referring to was that public policy was made by the Court of Appeals, not by the Legislature.

In a recent case, Ricci v. DeStefano, Sotomayor ruled that reverse racism was to be used in making decisions. She ruled in favor of a city that used racially discriminatory practices to deny promotions to firefighters. In Ricci, an applicant to be a firefighter scored the highest on the test but was denied the job because he was not black.

According to Judge Jose Cabranes, Sotomayor’s colleague, Sotomayor’s opinion “contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case,” and its “perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal.” Even the liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen expressed disappointment with the case, stating, “Ricci is not just a legal case but a man who has been deprived of the pursuit of happiness on account of race.”

Sotomayor readily admits that she applies her feelings and personal politics when deciding cases. In a 2002 speech given at Berkeley, she said she believes it is appropriate for judges to consider their “experiences as women and people of color,” which she believes should “affect our decisions.” She went on to say in that same speech, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

The poor quality of Sotomayor’s decisions is reflected in her record of reversals by the Supreme Court. Sixty percent of her decisions have been reversed by the Supreme Court.

Sincerely,

Don

Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

blog-bullet 5/28/09 – Group urges IRS review of Liberty tax exemption

Hehe… some follow-up to my post about Liberty University and their decision to not recognize the Democratic student club.  There’s not a lot of new stuff to report here, but it might be interesting to see how things play out.  This was enjoyable though:

Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University law school, calls the complaint “frivolous” and says Liberty will ask the IRS to review whether Americans United should lose its tax-exempt status for regularly supporting Democratic Party positions.

Considering students attending Liberty University are probably using federal financial aid, I think there’s a pretty big difference between the two organizations, but then again I’m not dean of a law school.

You know how the hyenas giggle whenever they hear “Mufasa!“?  That’s sort of how I am every time I see the words Liberty University law school.

blog-bullet 5/29/09 – Sotomayor labeled “Hispanic supremacist”

Okay, I’m going to address one more racist claim about Sotomayor and then leave it be.  Hopefully this meme has a shorter life than Carrie Prejean’s spotlight.

A profile published by the American Bar Association reveals that President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court is a member of the National Council of La Raza, which supports illegal immigration and is considered by many Americans to be a racist organization.

Notice how they didn’t say “allegedy supports” or “has been accused of supporting.”

Are you not familiar with National Council of La Raza?  Let’s take a look at their mission statement:

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) – the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States – works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations (CBOs), NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas – assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.

Wow, is it just me or do they sound dastardly and unAmerican?  Just kidding.

So let’s see what William Gheen has to say.  As the president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, a group of paranoid xenophobes who call themselves “peaceful” and “nonracist” despite advocating for inherently authoritarian and racist policies, I’m sure he has some wise, objective words about NCLR and Sotomayor. (He’s white, by the way, in case you were wondering.)

“We do not need a Hispanic supremacist on the Supreme Court. This woman is openly affiliated with a racist organization, La Raza, and is making overt racist comments — and it is against the spirit of American law to define laws based on race,” he notes. “We’ve spent decades getting America away from that. And now Obama is trying to throw that backwards by presenting an Hispanic supremacist to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

I like how he made sure to say “Hispanic supremacist” and “racist” each twice.  Really?  She wants to overthrow the Whites?  She wants to impose El Imperio or something?  (That was my attempt to demonstrate that Gheen is a hair’s breadth away from invoking Godwin’s Law.)

For the umpteenth time this week, we hear white people accusing Sotomayor for being racist because she has supported work that supports the nation’s Latino/a population.  Isn’t that convenient?  People… who have privilege… making inaccurate accusations… at the expense of racial advocacy groups… to portray themselves as victims.

I got news, folks.  That’s racism.  That’s white privilege.  That is the sound of bigotry, and I would not be surprised if it sounded the same for any other candidate of color who has ever—heaven forbid—advocated on behalf of hir race.

And it disgusts me.

There’s your Farce File.  Walkaway lesson?  Don’t legislate religion and don’t ever try to validate “reverse discrimination.”  You’ll look less stupid if you don’t.



Misunderstanding Affirmative Action

Wow.  So, thanks to OneNewsNow, I learned about an interesting little event the students at Purdue University had last week: an Affirmative Action bake sale, organized by students of the Conservative Coalition for American Values.  (Bake sale raises awareness at Purdue – OneNewsNow)  Here’s a totally biased video about the event:

So, each person was charged differently for baked goods depending on their race.  And what did this accomplish?

OneNewsNow interviewed Coalition spokesperson Naomi Whittaker. “Asian-Pacific Islanders are charged the most because, although they are a minority they are punished in a sense for being successful minorities,” she explains. “So…they will pay the most at $1.50 per baked good.”

Whittaker says Caucasians will be charged $1 and African-Americans 50 cents, with Native Americans getting baked goods for free. But she adds that if the students and faculty want to be judged based on character instead of skin color, then they will all be charged the same fee for baked goods.

This reflects the quotas used in the public school system,” she notes.

The whole intent of the event was truly to propagate the myth that I put in bold above.

Affirmative Action is not about quotas.  Affirmative Action is about resisting racism and other forms of discrimination.  It does not unfairly support those who are not qualified; it favors those who have proven themselves the same as everybody else but who might unfairly be discriminated against because of the prejudice that still persists in society.

The video claims that:

In order to achieve true equality, Affirmative Action must end.

What such a claim fails to convey is that the specific reason we have (and continue to need) Affirmative Action is specifically to compensate for the fact that we do not have true equality without it.  It is an initiative that attempts to provide equity.

Affirmative Action is designed as an attempt to resist privilege.  And you know what?  It works.  It’s not perfect.  It’s not ideal.  But, it does level the playing field.  Did anyone else notice all of the members of the CCAV were white?

Some conversations are now being had on the Purdue campus about this issue.  Here’s a letter in The Exponent from freshman Marinett Cabero (02/25/09), demonstrating some of the mythology that persists on the campus (I’ve highlighted some concerns I see in the author’s point of view):

Why should a measure that was supposed to be temporary, only to be used during the Civil Rights Movement, still be in existence more than 40 years later? Simple, it should not. Affirmative action’s original goal was to level the playing field, making a job open to all applicants regardless of race. Rather than just achieve this goal, by the late 1970s it was clear that it had outlived its usefulness and morphed into something much worse: discriminating based on race, the very concept affirmative action attempted to eradicate. Many people have mistaken notions about affirmative action, thinking it helps minorities get ahead. The opposite is actually true. In reality, people who may not be academically prepared to go on to college or post-bachelor degree work will be thrust into situations where they struggle and ultimately fail. A more qualified candidate may be passed over another less qualified candidate based on skin color (which is the exactly what affirmative action sought to end). Take the example of the University of Michigan, where up to 20 points were awarded towards admission based on what race a person was. Finally, above all else, affirmative action moves us further away from Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of a colorblind society, as race drives affirmative action. Therefore, affirmative action should be abolished.

I really hope that Dr. King did not envision a colorblind society.  That would really diminish my admiration for what he stood for.  I’d like to think that he envisioned a society where every race, ethnicity, and cultural background was appreciated for its uniqueness and never treated as superior or inferior.  I think a “colorblind society” is a myth that maintains white privilege (as Stephen Colbert reminds us through satire).

Here is a response from Purdue sophomore Charleston Crouch (03/02/2009):

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of a colorblind society with the intent that society would actually be colorblind itself. If you are not aware, and you possibly may not be, racial discrimination is still very much alive in many settings. There are things that are done not knowingly that come from one’s background and past experiences. The reasoning for affirmative action is just how you have stated it, which is to level the playing field. The reason it must continue is because there are inner-city school or public school children, who a lot of times are minority children, who have the potential or natural intellect to be great in any career. The children are not provided with access to the teachers or technology that another student may be; therefore they are accommodated for that. A student can only learn what is presented to them by their educators. So imagine that you lived in a low-class area and your school cannot afford many computers for you to learn as much as you have to get where you are, but you have the intelligence to use it and be great and haven’t been given that shot to show it. Most of your family members have not been to college before because of the past racial discriminations or economic problems, but you desire more. Today, the only way to get there is by going to college; without it any man or woman is at a loss. So why not admit some minorities to boost your college’s national appeal or even graduate some minority leaders? Which does not even really level the field entirely, but just gives a few people of different races a shot at success that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

I commend both these students for speaking out on their point of view, but particularly Charleston for calling out privilege.

Affirmative Action raises a lot of concerns, but only because people don’t understand it.  I hope we can all continue to have conversations about privilege so that we can continue to deconstruct the inequality that persists in our society.

How do we go about that?  What is the best way, particularly as higher education professionals, to respond to events like this?  How do we address political points of view like the one presented by CCAV appropriately to protect our students and deconstruct privilege?  Post your comments!  Let’s get some discussion going!



Brief moments of racial understanding…

In my field, we talk about a lot about microaggressions.  Wikipedia offers the definition of racial microaggressions, but microaggressions can apply to people because of any aspect of their identity… sexist, heterosexist, faithist, etc.  Microaggressions are difficult to understand because we do them often unconsciously or unintentionally.  We make a stereotypical comment or we are insensitive to other cultures, but we don’t realize that we’ve done it.

I am responsible for microaggressions myself, and work to understand my white privilege and male privilege so that I can be more sensitive and understanding of my non-white and female peers.  This is very important to me, because I expect the same effort of my heterosexual and faithful friends of the dimensions of my own identity that are typically oppressed.

I say all this to share a moment this morning where I had the OPPOSITE experience.  There isn’t a word for micropositives, because we shouldn’t need one.  Being good and being nice mean being good and being nice.  At any rate, I was sitting in the waiting room at my university health center this morning, and I was alone except for one other student who happened to African-American.  Behind us, a TV was on and President Bush was holding his last press conference and we were both listening.

Bush was talking about Hurricane Katrina and reconstructing New Orleans, and all of a sudden got kind of angry and said the following:

You know, people say the federal response was slow… Don’t tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.

After which I immediately said, “All the white people.”

The student got the biggest smile on his face I’d ever seen.

We all need to try just a little to be more sensitive to the racial inequities that still persist in our nation.  We are white, and whether we have overtly acted in racist ways or not is irrelevant.  We have a responsibility to reach out and build bridges that other white people destroyed.

Every little moment counts.

You can watch President Bush’s press conference on MSNBC.  The moment I referred to is at 39:16.



Trumping Prop 8’s supposed “race card”

Surely everyone remembers the supposed claim that African-Americans and Latinos voted in higher proportions for Proposition 8 than Whites.  I was so furious when I heard this claim, because to me, it sounded like all the White people trying to avoid any responsibility for passing discrimination.

Well, not only was it a pathetic obfuscation by the White media, it was also just plain wrong.

You can read the full report here: “California’s Proposition 8: What Happened, and What Does the Future Hold?” (PDF)

Here’s the basic premise: people voted for Proposition 8 because of religion.  This confirms my original conclusion from long-ago that religion is the ONLY source of anti-gay views.  I’m not saying that all religious people are anti-gay, but I’m saying that religion is the only source of anti-gay rhetoric.  If anybody can think of a different source of anti-gay views, please let me know, but I have yet to hear an explanation that is not rooted in religious views.

That’s why I wanted to start this blog: to bring light to my point of view that religious views have too much power over our nation.  The rights of LGBT people were stripped by a popular vote that succeeded only because of money spent and ideas spent by institutions of religion.

Below is a pair of charts from the report that pretty much dismantles the whole nonsense about the Black community being to blame for Prop 8 passing.  More on these issues in future posts…

Prop 8 Report Figure 4 Prop 8 Report Figure 5