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"Identity Politics" is Code Words for "Not a White Man"
According to the Washington Post's Peter Baker, of the 110 people who have served on the [U.S. Supreme C]ourt, only four were not white males. And yet the caption to his article states:
With President Obama’s pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, identity politics in America is back with a vengeance. WaPost
This is unadulterated bullshit. What could be a better example of identity politics than past presidents naming the present seven white men to the Supreme Court and only one Black and one white woman now serving? Obviously there was a quota that guaranteed that the court would be all white and all male, until Justice Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Court.
Don't white men have a white male identity? Don't they act in their own interests just by following traditions, rules and laws that were made before Blacks and women had the right to vote? The strongest identity politics in the United States is white-male identity politics, which allows a group that constitutes less than thirty percent of American to nonetheless constitute seventy-seven percent of the U.S. Supreme Court.
And yet Obama has to defend adding anyone other than a white man to the Court:
They [Obama's team] reject the notion that they fostered identity politics through a selection process focused on adding diversity to the court, noting that Judge Sotomayor has more experience on the bench than any current justice did when nominated.
Had the nominated a white man, would we be having this discussion? Four out of 110 justices have not been white men, yet nominating anyone OTHER than a white man is an example of identity politics? Was it mere coincidence that in a country with 53 percent women only two were selected for a Supreme Court that has had 110 members over the years? Why should anyone apologize for saying that the era of white male monopoly of American institutions is over, and it's time to make the court more representative of the country?
The White House and its liberal supporters also dug up quotes from Republican-appointed justices, including Samuel A. Alito Jr., who said at his confirmation hearing that his immigrant roots played into his consideration of cases.
“When a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases,” he said at the hearing, “I can’t help but think of my own ancestors because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.”
Representative Nydia M. Velázquez of New York, a Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said, “So help me God, I just don’t know what is different between what he said and what she said.” Ms. Velázquez added, “I think some people want to create a commotion here that scores political points.” WaPost
There is only one vagina and one set of ovaries on the Supreme Court at present, and I believe we all know that people with vaginas and ovaries think differently about things and have different primary concerns than people with penises and testicles. Why should we pretend otherwise? Could a Supreme Court with no members who have ever been pregnant or even risked being pregnant make informed decisions about women's reproductive choices? "I know what it's like to be a woman because I've read about it." You've never personally faced it, you fucker!
How did this gender apartheid-like disparity come about? It's really quite simple: Since the advent of the Court, an unbroken string of 43 consecutive white male presidents appointed only four Justices to the Court who were not white men. Each time someone who was not a white man was appointed it was a remarkably big deal since appointing anyone other than a white male has been so historically rare and anomolous. Anyone other than a white male on the Court seems as rare as a horse with zebra stripes.
People who believe that minorities and women are the purveyors of identity politics conveniently forget that white men very systematically and determinedly controlled every branch of the Government for most of the history of the nation.
Peter Baker of the Washington Post says in this article:
A president [Obama] who these days refers to his background obliquely when he does at all chose a Supreme Court candidate who openly embraces hers.
How many white males in this nation do NOT openly embrace their white maleness? How did the Supreme Court become 77% white male in the first place, unless it was from white males embracing other white males' white maleness?
“Yes, I think he thinks there’s value in having a Supreme Court that has a diversity of experience and diversity of points of view,” Mr. Axelrod said of the president, “but that was not the principal criteria that he applied. The principal criteria he applied was, is the person an excellent judge?” WaPost
The mere fact that presidents have to justify their nomination of anyone other than a white man contributes to the rarity of people other than white men in positions of power.
The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a test of a line of white male supremacist bullshit to which we have been subjected since the sixties: that there weren't enough Blacks and women "in the pipeline" for us to me promoted to top positions. Now, Sonia is in the pipeline and the media accuses her of embracing the fact that she is in the pipeline? How the hell would she have gotten in the pipeline in the first place had she not confronted a phalanx of white male identity politicians who held up her nomination for the Second Circuit for over a year, specifically to prevent her from being in the pipeline.
Now, if we fight every white man nominated on the basis that he is a white man and part of a group that is already grossly overrepresented, then EVERY nomination will bring up identity politics, if we make a big deal of the fact that the nominee is a white man.
It's a catch 22 situation. White men sail through nomination in many cases, because the nomination of a white man seems natural and proper, white men having dominated politics forever in the history of this nation. But, when someone is not a white man is nomination, well THAT smacks of identity politics. To avoid identity politics, you have to nominate a white man, who has no identity, other than that of being one of a relatively small group that has nonetheless controlled the nation since its founding.
When only white men were appointed to the Supreme Court, white males saw nothing to complain about. It's only when someone OTHER than a white man is nominated that we hear the hew and cry.