Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Conservatives try the reverse racism ploy again...

I really should write more about conservative rhetorical tricks because they are the current masters. Take their offensive about Judge Sotomayor where conservative bloggers and pundits have been virally quoting this line from one of Judge Sotomayor's speeches:

"First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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."

Now on the surface it sounds like some of those insufferable comments that people on the left used to make in the late 60's when they would romanticize people of color but the problem is that the comment is taken completely out of context-sort of like what's done by the left and right with the Bible.

And as so often the case, the whole point of the narrative is missed and often close by in the narrative a key paragraph is missed, either intentionally or because of some sort of filtering going on in the reader's brain. Here for example is the very next paragraph of the the Judge's speech:

"Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown."

Clearly she is talking about something else entirely than racism, something closer to an appreciation of diversity than FOX's news commentators and Newt Gingrich care to recognize.

Here is the complete speech.

Maybe conservatives ought to read the whole thing rather than look for little snippits. They might even find something to like about the judge. But hey maybe they have gotten so hooked on phonics that they have forgotten that reading rquires more than pronouncing the words.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Diversity Conservative Style

Some conservative religious groups complain about the alleged "oppression" of their point of view in secular universities. Well it seems they don't mind suppressing view points on their campuses that don't match their own. First we had the flap about Notre Dame giving Obama an honorary degree and now we have a flap over campus Democratic club at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

Seems that the University's Student Democratic Club cannot be recognised any more by the school because of the Democratic party's alleged support of positions antithetical to the religious teachings endorsed by the private University.

Reverend Falwell is quoted here as saying:

“They are good, Christian kids who sit with me at ball games. I just hope they find a pro-life family organization to affiliate with so they can be endorsed by Liberty again.“

An e-mail to the leaders of the University's Democratic club allegedly explaining the reasoning for the ban says:

“The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the “LGBT” agenda, hate crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.)”

As a private school, the University may well be within its rights to do this, but it strikes me as a bit extreme. After all Democrats are hardly uniform about the above issues, and the student leaders claim to have views in line with the University's. Plus this is a bad strategy on the part of the University-after all if Falwell wants to change the Democratic party and insure representation of conservative religious tenets, then what better way to do so than to promote conservative Democrats.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Susan Stanton lands a job!

Susan Stanton who lost her job as Largo FL. City manager when her plans to transition from male to female were leaked, has been hired as City Manager of Lake Worth Fla by a 4 to 1 vote.

According to this article in the Palm Beach Post:

"The national discussion that followed Stanton's firing led the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council to persuade West Palm Beach, Tequesta, Lake Worth and Palm Beach County to add provisions to their codes that prevent discrimination based on gender identity."

I would love to think that in 10 or 15 years the whole controversy about Stanton in Largo will seem as both mean spirited and curiously quaint.