Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor - a racist's and a sexist's view

So, Obama picked a minority.

And a woman.

Sounds like a win-win situation, listening to Air America, NPR and the other mass media, and preventive shills are already spewing their line that anyone who dares to criticize this appointment to the Supreme Court is a racist, sexist, behind the times, irrelevant.

Whenever I hear some shill on TV or radio telling me what to think before I have had a chance to analyze a situation, while failing to provide any facts to base his/her opinions on and using ad hominem attacks, my hairs start on end, I snarl, bare my teeth, and assume a posture of an attack dog.

Then I google.

Being a hated group in this country - a white male - I am naturally drawn to Miss Sotomayor potential impact on me, an average working white guy Joe Schmoe trying to make ends meet.

NPR blog quotes Miss Sotomayor as saying this:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.

A wise Latina who has lived her (Latina specific) life will, no ifs or buts about it, make a better decision than a white guy.

A woman is better than a man, and a Latina woman - hohoho! - intellectually a wise Latina woman wipes the floor with a foolish, pathetic white guy.

May I humbly raise my hand and humbly, piteously, ask this wise Latina exactly what fantasy dreamworld is she living in?

McClatchy, May 19 2009, Parents' help sought to cut Latina teen-pregnancy rates:

A coalition of Latino organizations said Tuesday that teen pregnancies in their community wouldn't drop without more help from parents.

"To say that we are in a crisis is an understatement," said Amy Hinojosa, the director of leadership initiatives at MANA, a national Latina organization that's a coalition participant.

More than half of Latina teens will get pregnant before they turn 20, the coalition reported, which is nearly twice the national average and the highest pregnancy rate of any U.S. ethnic or racial group.

Yes, indeed, it seems that the Latina women are the wisest of them all, eh, Miss Sotomayor?

Huffington Post, Latina Teen Pregnancy Rate Deserves Recognition as National Crisis:

There's no clearer sign that too many Latina teens are having babies than the title of a segment on a popular Dallas Latino hip hop radio station -- Baby Daddy Hotline. Girls who have problems with the fathers of their children call in to complain to the DJ. There's always a full line-up of calls.

A friend recently told me that her daughter, who attends a majority-Latino, public middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grades) in Dallas, Texas, told her that there were 26 girls pregnant at her school. She routinely has 1-3 girls, at minimum, in her classes who are pregnant.

Flip it.

Imagine a male saying what Miss Sotomayor has said.

"I would hope that a wise Latin man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white female who hasn't lived that life."


Only an idiot would say that.

Flip it again and mix it up.

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

Now that is grounds for being vilified, crucified, even sued, and definitely for losing one's job... if one happens to be, say, a lawyer... or a Supreme Court justice nominee... and white.

But just because she said one idiotic thing does not necessarily make her an idiot.

Things slip out once in a while, things that make us embarrassed and ashamed the minute we say it.

Fair enough.

Lets look at a case she has helped to decide.

Being a white male average working Schmoe, lets pick a case that involves average white guys working schmoes.

NY Times:

Judge Sotomayor, whom President Obama announced Tuesday as his choice for the Supreme Court, has issued no major decisions concerning abortion, the death penalty, gay rights or national security. In cases involving criminal defendants, employment discrimination and free speech, her rulings are more liberal than not.

Miss Sotomayor has not ruled on any hot button issues; she has mostly worked on ordinary (if that is the right word for the human drama present) cases.

But they reveal no larger vision, seldom appeal to history and consistently avoid quotable language. Judge Sotomayor’s decisions are, instead, almost always technical, incremental and exhaustive, considering all of the relevant precedents and supporting even completely uncontroversial propositions with elaborate footnotes.

Miss Sotomayor, like any good judge, looks for precedent, and uses past cases to justify her rulings.

This makes me very happy, and is proof positive that she is not an activist judge, that her work is indeed very good and not prejudiced in any way.

And... uh... oh...

It looks like she did work on one case which was a hot button issue.

All of which makes her remarkably cursory treatment last year of an employment discrimination case brought by firefighters in New Haven so baffling. The unsigned decision by Judge Sotomayor and two other judges, which affirmed the dismissal of the claims from 18 white firefighters, one of them Hispanic, contained a single paragraph of reasoning.

Wait, what was this all about?

Lets go to ABC news:

Matt Marcarelli, who is white, got the top score on a promotion exam in 2003 and was first in line for captain. But when the city reviewed all the test results, it found that the pass rate for black candidates was about half the corresponding rate for white candidates. None of the black firefighters scored well enough for an immediate promotion. As a result, the city threw out the test results.

Re-read the paragraph please.

A test - the same test, the exact same test - was given to all firefighters who were in line for promotion. Whoever does best is first in line for promotion.

Seems... oddly fair.

However, by some fluke (I dare say not otherwise, I am not Steve Sailer) the black firefighters score badly on the test, and a white guy gets a best score making him first in line to be the captain.

Because this result did not result in any black firefighters being promoted... the test was scrapped.

Think on that for a moment.

Try to apply it to other areas of life in Yoo Ess of Ey (now, apparently, Idiocracy land).

Say there are multiple types of kids in a math class in a high school - girls, boys, white, asian, black, mixed... all in all a pretty realistic scenario in our melting pot country.

Lets say that it happens that it just so happens that white and asian kids score higher than their black counterparts (hey, it could happen - this is a purely hypothetical scenario, of course).

So what would be the caring educator's response?

Lets examine what is up with the black kids, and try to bring them up to speed. Organize tutoring, help them out, perhaps tailor a teaching technique to help them pass the test.

Of course, there is a very much easier way out.

Change the test itself.

Because, you see, this scenario proves that the math test is biased somehow against black people - it is prejudicial, nay, racist.

The results prove it!

And no, I am not kidding in my hypothetical scenario.

I wish I was.

Education Week: 3 minority teachers allege bias in Mass. test

Three former Boston school teachers have filed a lawsuit claiming that the Massachusetts teacher licensing exam is biased against minorities.

The federal suit filed Thursday seeks to stop the state from using the exam as the sole method of licensing teachers and demands repayment of test registration fees, payment of unpaid wages, and restoration of seniority and benefits.

The suit claims minorities and nonnative English speakers who take the test fail the communication and literacy section at higher rates than whites and native English speakers.

Re-read that please.

Especially the last paragraph.

The suit claims minorities and nonnative English speakers who take the test fail the communication and literacy section at higher rates than whites and native English speakers.

I dare you to try not to bust out laughing.

Disclaimer: I am an immigrant, and I have kept my accent - it is noticable (hey, chicks dig it - ah, unashamed sexist, c'est moi!). My mom speaks broken English, and one of the careers she has decided not to pursue is as a teacher.

Wonder why?

Perhaps my mom should have pursued being a teacher, and, failing at it and failing an English aptitude test sued the system.

That seems to be the (new and improved) American way.

That was teachers (yes, fucking-a teachers) who are suing the system because they, the teachers, have themselves failed a standardized test.

Words... fail me.

Irony... overload.

Excuse me as I spill milk out of my nose...

Now, this of course has to inevitably be followed by... of course, the poor students victimized by standardized testing...

Press Telegram, Long Beach, CA.: Study; School exit exam hurts minority, female graduation rates:

LONG BEACH - The California High School Exit Exam disproportionately hurts graduation rates of minority and female students, according to a study released Tuesday that was partly based on Long Beach data.


A test disproportionally hurts minority students.

The same test does not seem to hurt non-minority students.

Amidst all the calls for changing the test, the shouts that it is racist, and the calls to change it, so that the poor kids graduate (and make the achievements of other kids more meaningless), I wish that someone, anyone, fucking one person, simply stand aside and in a hushed voice, but then as they get more courage against political correctness, their voice gets louder and louder, until the shills on TV and radio and newspapers, the advocates of racist quotas, of systems based on what color of skin one was born into, shut up and just stand there, as the question is asked, louder and louder each time.

The question is very simple - one word.

Fact: The same test does not seem to hurt non-minority students.
Question: Why?
Fact: The test only hurts minority students.
Question: Why?





The study also looked at how the exit exam affects lower-performing students. Among such students, those who were required to pass the exit exam had a graduation rate that was 15 percentage points lower than pupils who did not have pass the test to get a diploma.

Among the lower-achieving students, the exit exam requirement had no effect on the graduation rate of white pupils, according to the study.

But minority students facing the requirement saw their graduation rates decline by at least 15 percentage points, researchers said. Female graduation rates also were affected.

Quibble: since minority graduation rates were affected by the solid 15%, and it is stated as such, by exactly what percentage were girls' graduation affected? Give me a number - because, if, say it was less than 1% either way, it would mean that perhaps female graduation rates were not affected.

Also, it is very probable that the girls school population was made up of both minority and the evil offspring of hateful racists - please break it down by minority girls graduation rates and non-minority graduation rates.

Seems to me that the last sentence about female graduation rates was thrown in to make the case about the test being evil more palatable, to somehow throw in the women alongside minorities into one boiling pot, to make the case stronger.

Because if the test lowers the graduation rate of the minorities and women, then, heck, perhaps the test needs changing.

But if the test affects only minority students then... well...


Which leads us back to Miss Sotomayor.

Focus on Affirmative Action /
A project of the African American Policy Forum

Contrary to popular belief, African Americans are not the sole, or even the primary, beneficiaries of affirmative action. Rather, a wide range of groups have benefited from these polocies which promote equality by directing resources, outreach and other opportunities to targeted underrepresented communities.

These groups include women, Native Americans, Arab Americans, Latino/as, Asian Americans, and African Americans. Of these groups, the United States Department of Labor found that white women are the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action.

Women, specifically white women, are the primary beneficiary of affirmative action (google it for yourself - women are the chief beneficiaries of this non-merit based rewards program).

Lets give the mic to Miss Sotomayor and leave her to graciously describe herself and what makes her tick. by David Frum:

"From the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, Nov. 4, 2002, found by an NM reader:"

"I had enough natural intelligence to get myself through my early education, but at Princeton I found out that my earlier education was not on par with that of many of my classmates. When my first mid-term paper came back to me in college, I found out that my Latina background had created difficulties in my writing that I needed to overcome."

"At that time in my life, as I was meeting all these new and very different people, taking reading classes, and relearning writing skills, Princeton was an alien land for me. I felt isolated from all I had ever known, and very unsure about how I would survive. The Puerto Rican group on campus,
Accion Puertorriquena, and the Third World Center provided me with an anchor I needed to ground myself in that new and different world."

"Because of my work with Accion Puertorriquena, the Third World Center, and other activities in which I participated, like the University's Discipline Committee, I was awarded the Pyne Prize in my senior year.

Which is tremendous - a woman from the disadvantaged segment of the society, who struggled at Princeton her first year (hell, I would probably be thrown out on my ear!) has pulled herself by the bootstraps and worked hard, studied hard - and received a prestigious prize her senior year.

If that is not an American success story, I don't know what is.

Lets let her continue:

"In my years there, Princeton taught me that we people of color could not only survive there, but that we could flourish and succeed. More important, I learned that despite our differences from others at Princeton, we, as people of color with varying ethnic experiences, had become a permanent part at Princeton. It gave much to us, but we gave back to it as well.

"Princeton changed us, not just academically, but also in what we learned about life and the world. At the same time, we changed Princeton by our presence there."

Oh.. kay.

Despite being a (non person of color, aka white) immigrant I do not consider myself significant enough to have managed to change somehow, to enrich the university which proceeded to give me a failing grade in astronomy (don't ask - I took it pass/fail).

"The differences from the larger society and the problems I faced as a Latina woman didn't disappear when I left Princeton. I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of any of the worlds I inhabit."

This Latina woman does not find herself comfortable in the, lets face it, white, anglo-saxon dominated world she has found herself in.

But she also says that she is not comfortable in her Latino world, also, because (read between the lines) she is different than that world, she is a success story.

My opinion, psychoanalysis done by a totally unqualified person (me, of course - so take it with a huge grain of salt): now she is finally in a position to change the environment she finds herself in, and make it more to her liking, as a Supreme Court member.

"I do not live in the Latina world of my youth. Instead, I have a lovely apartment in a yuppie neighborhood of Manhattan. I have worked in job environments that have been challenging, stimulating, and engrossing, but none of them are controlled by Latinos. As accomplished as I have been in my professional settings, I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up and am always concerned that I have to work harder to succeed."

Is that still true in the 2009?

Or does she have a chip on her shoulder?

This next tidbit is interesting:
"I have also taken solace and comfort and received continued support from keeping myself anchored in my Latina heritage. Despite working and succeeding in non-Latino environments -- the Manhattan DA's Office, a private firm doing international work, a district and now circuit court judge -- I have remained connected to and integrally involved in community activities -- Latino and non-Latino groups devoted to serving the underprivileged of our society."

Forgive me, maybe I am a naive sucker, but I thought the meme was that this is the land of opportunity.

As an only Eastern European guy in an office which is 80% made up of women, many of them Latinas (thanks, affirmative action!) I do not dare say that I do not find myself working in a non white male environment (even though, as many men working in offices will silently - always silently, in their deepest, hidden thoughts, because the meme is that white guys are the powerful rulers of this country, the oppressors, the evil overseers) acknowledge, it is an environment hostile to men, white men in particular.

And finally, the kicker, the one that leaves me in cold sweat:

"Growing up, all of my family, except those that remained in Puerto Rico, lived in the Bronx within miles of each other. From technological advances, our children will have more opportunities to enjoy, but it will be harder for them to hold on to their ethnic identities. But hold on to them [ethnic identities -AG] we must because Latinos and all minority and women's groups, despite what part of the country we live in, face enormous challenges in this society. Affirmative action, human rights, and civil liberties permeate our societal discussions,"

We must hold on to our ethnic identities.

To do that, we must use affirmative action and further skew the laws towards political correctness, bending human rights to only certain types of humans, and making civil liberties something totally different than what it really means in the English language - perhaps she means racial quotas by her statement?

Sorry, Miss Sotomayor.

I will close this discussion about my ethnic identity.

When I was admitted to a well know, gigantic university (with a great business school) I made a phone call.

To the minority scholarship office.

After hi'ing and a few pleasantries, I told my life story in one sentence, admitted I am an immigrant, and asked if I could be classified as a minority.

What race are you?
And, thinking perhaps that she was dealing with a dumb-deaf brute from the land where white bears eat people for breakfast, she asked, much louder,
What color are you?

"White," I replied, my voice quivering.

Then you are not a minority.




Anonymous said...

"Also, it is very probable that the girls school population was made up of both minority and the evil offspring of hateful racists - please break it down by minority girls graduation rates and non-minority graduation rates."

Also, it is almost certain that the minority population was made up of both NAMs and those mysteriously overachieving Asians.

Regarding your call to the minority scholarship office, I wonder what she would have said if you replied "I don't know, my parents are adopted and we don't know who their biological parents are."

Would she have asked, after an awkward pause "Well... um... what color is your skin?"

It sounds like a funny hypothetical, but it's true for me. I check the "other" box, but I've never actively sought out any minority handouts. It might be fun to try.

Anonymous said...

A math test isn't racist just because Asians outscore whites on it.

A science test isn't racist because Pakistanis outscore Pacific Islanders on it.

But any test IS racist if whites outscore blacks or hispanics on it.

Got it?