Jun 1, 2009

Objecting to Race vs. Race Consciousness [LINK]

My latest letter to the Globe. The report in question is a reprint of a Los Angeles Times piece that features a casual smear of Senator Cornyn. As blogger Patterico points out, the Times subsequently removed the offensive text without noting the error.

According to a report on the Supreme Court confirmation process, Texas Sen. John Cornyn "pledged that he and other Republican lawmakers would probe deeply into Sotomayor's past comments and rulings to see whether her heritage colors her ability to make fair decisions." This characterization represents a smear. Cornyn did not say "her heritage" might affect her ability to make fair rulings. Indeed, in the same interview with ABC News, he said the opposite: that it "shouldn't make any difference what your ethnicity is." What Cornyn did call attention to was Sotomayor's own racially-charged suggestion that her status as a "wise Latina woman" would allow her to make better decisions than a white male. Cornyn did not question Sotomayor's race, but rather her race-consciousness. Perhaps sensitive to this important distinction, the Los Angeles Times, from which the Globe procured the report, unceremoniously removed those words from its online version of the text. Perhaps the Globe could, alternately, do the decent thing and offer a correction.

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