Ben Buchwalter

Racial Terms as Alphabet Soup

I think we can all agree that it’s a little odd how steamed honkies like Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh are getting that President Obama nominated a Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court. As a white man, I can attest that it is terrifying that we not only have a black President, but he wants to increase the representation of women and minorities throughout government! Can you imagine anything worse?

The most frustrating aspect of the racially motivated pushback against Sotomayor is the way that some of these wingnuts define terms like “affirmative action” and “reverse descrimination.”

Today on MSNBC, Pat Buchanan told Norah O’Donnell that the pick amounted to nothing more than affirmative action because the Obama administration hinted throughout the process that they were looking for someone who would make the Court more representative of the country as a whole. See the video:

I guess that brings up the question of how we define affirmative action. And if it was affirmative action, is that a problem? It’s definitely possible, though unlikely, that there were no white men qualified for the Supreme Court. But the overarching fact here is that the Supreme Court, currently with one woman (Ginsburg) and one minority (Thomas) does not represent the American people as a whole. So in my view, adding a female voice is valuable. And adding a Hispanic voice is valuable. And if that is affirmative action, I am fine with that. But I don’t think it is. Sotomayor is a great pick because in addition to being incredibly smart and having a thick resume, her confirmation will bring the Court much closer to being representative of its constituents. That is a qualification, not a crutch.

Rush Limbaugh was also (not surprisingly) spewing some crazy Tuesday. On his radio show, Limbaugh called Sotomayor a “hack,” a “racist,” and a “reverse racist.” Matt Yglesias tries to understand Limbaugh’s outrage and apparent confusion about the difference between racism and reverse racism.

Being a “reverse racist” can’t be similar to being a “racist,” it needs to be the reverse of being a racist. Limbaugh clearly just thinks Sotomayor is a racist. She hates white people. For a Latina to hate white people isn’t “reverse” racism, it’s racism. Reverse racism would be if you had a white person who hates white people. It would be like racism, where you hate people of other races, but in reverse.

It seems there is a war brewing over Sotomayor between ultra-conservatives in the Republican party and GOPers who actually want to get something done. It will be interesting to see where the battle lines a drawn and how far this racial rhetoric will go. So far, the media director for the Republican National Committee, who will supposedly be part of the efforts to rebrand the GOP, has enlisted on the ultra-conservative side… through Twitter.


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