Friday, May 29, 2009

Racist my ass

In high school you may have joined the Inter-School Christian Fellowship because the group reflected your Christ-centered values. If you left Jamaica for a college state side you may have joined a social or advocate group representing Caribbean students to get you a sense of home. Who ever thought seeking interaction with those who share common beliefs, race or heritage could be thought of as prejudiced?

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor is being harangued by Republicans Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Tom Tancredo for being proud of her Puerto Rican heritage and for her membership in Hispanic civic and professional organizations. Gingrich and Limbaugh have called Judge Sotomayor racist. Tancredo has taken it a step further and likened La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group of which she is a member, to the Klu Klux Klan.

These rants from the right have been revolting, offensive and just plain dumb. Students and professionals everywhere belong to organizations that represent their sex, country of origin and race. The suggestion that all those people are racist or sexist because they self identify as women, Black, Hispanic, Native American - or whatever - is ridiculous. The arguments are so ludicrous as to make me think that Tancredo and the others could not possibly believe it themselves.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party - which I have to be sure has some level heads - these are the voices that are getting the air time. (Likely because their bizarre suggestions make sensational television.) Today, they are voices and faces of the GOP. As the party's face, they are alienating, not only Hispanics (who, ironically, they need to win elections), but every other group that can recognize true racism.

To oppose Sotomayor's nomination based on disagreement with her judicial philosophy is one thing. To unfairly label her a racist, to attack the reputation of a venerable civil rights group, is desperate. It is cowardly. It is, clearly, the old rusty kettle calling the new shiny pot black.

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