Monday, June 1, 2009

I am Sonia Sotomayor.

"No you're not," you say pointing to my white skin and my pants. "You are NOT Sonia Sotomayor. Besides and more importantly," you add (while looking into my blue eyes), "you think so much differently than she does."

Well, exactly what I've been thinking about some today are the felt confessions of some other guy. He says:

"My experience as a southern white boy in. . . Georgia in a low-income/working class family certainly influences how I think."

And he adds the following, now with the legitimate academic credentials of a thinking professor (imposed credentials of the thought that we must be thinking people without color or sex). Nonetheless, he can think and still say:
People of color are now in prominent positions of power and spectacle. It is astonishing to me that the “race card” is still being dealt for political labor, although I probably should confess that the idealistic reality of the academy—our active working toward equality—shields me from the harsher, brute reality of non-academic careers. I suppose this absurd rhetoric is proof positive there is no such thing as post-racial politics. Same as it ever was . . . but with one difference: in the days of acceptable racism, one would use racial slurs without a thought. Today, the racists exercise their racism by calling the racialized Other racists.
"Yes, see that's what I mean," you cry.

And you add: "See that other guy 'thinks' so much more differently; he doesn't seem to think much of the Bible, using labels like 'Republichristians' and being all concerned about 'postmodern racism,' etc."

"But what," I ask you, ". . . what if thinking requires hermeneutics? And what if this line of thinking becomes her.menuetics?"

"What if," I reason further, "the one with her her.menuetics calls herself a mother and a grandmother? And writes for The Christianity Today blog for women? What if she, then, says, 'Sonia Sotomayor: I Feel Your Pain'? And what if she addresses her own kind first and some of the rest of us too trying to get us to think in our own skin, with our pants still on?"

She says:
Women: Imagine you’ve been having problems with pre-menstrual depression or unpleasant menopausal symptoms.

Men: Imagine you’re having problems that are probably prostate-related, or maybe you’re having trouble getting it up. All else being equal (though of course it never is), would you rather see a male or a female physician?

Empathy matters. That’s why I’m not worried about the line from Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 lecture, “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.”

. . . I am not saying you should be thrilled about Sonia Sotomayor. Honestly, I don’t know enough about her to say one way or the other. I’m just saying: If we want objective, impartial judgments that result in equal justice for all, we’d better not throw empathy out the window.
That would certainly be some different kind of thinking, wouldn't it? Sort of like Jesus listening to thoughtful individuals so different from him, like the one Mark labels "the woman . . . of the Syrophoenician race" and the other whom Matthew tags as "a Canaanite woman."


UPDATE: I just read Phyllis Chesler's post - Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Singing Sensation Susan Boyle -

"Judge Sonia Sotomayor is now the fourth woman ever in the history of the United States to be nominated for the Supreme Court. For the last 220 years, 180 men and two women have served on this Court. President Obama has earned the right to nominate Sotomayor; he won the election." Want to keep reading?

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