sonia sotomayor Archives - The Jose Vilson

sonia sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Book Con. Miami Device. Vox Media. FiveThirtyEight.

I see any argument against affirmative action as invalid. Time and again, I see clear examples of situations where there was a rather conscious decision to exclude because of “fit,” which is just doublespeak for “whatever’s normal and profitable to us.” Which is often to the detriment and ostracization of an “other.”

Thus, I have something else to add to the plethora of things I’ve already said:

Affirmative action is my best friend. Actually, it’s every person of color’s best friend. And, mostly, it’s white women’s best friend. We ought to embrace affirmative action with both arms wide open and say “Thank you!” For, without affirmative action, we leave the decision of selection to those who would relegate we of different experiences and perhaps more negative perceptions of the fairyland they call united.

While one might say, “What do panels and media staff have to do with anything?”, to which I respond, “With all the qualified and vested individuals out there, many of whom have passed the respectability politics test from some institute of higher learning, would you think that the panels and staff put to the fore still look like this or would they be more representative of the wealth of knowledge out there?”

The nice part of you wants to believe that the selectors will come to their own egalitarian way of approaching diversity and pick folks outside of their country club or beer garden. They don’t. It’s the same people speaking the same language inculcating each other on their rightness, flabbergasted when the rest of the world looks at their selection with rolled eyes and loud sighs. Once the reactions flow in, a promise to “improve” always comes out, and a few people of color get a “privilege-to-be-here-so-take-it” pass, even if they may not get a chance to speak up and out.

As an after-thought. Not a “before-thought” the way legacies do at Ivy Leagues or “thought” the way bros with beard implants get. An after-thought.

That’s why, when Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the recent affirmative action case, I nodded like my head was about to fall off:

“In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. [...] This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”

Affirmative action isn’t a handout. It’s the idea that everyone who isn’t a “bro” should have a part to play. We can’t just wish racism away. If institutions continually perpetuate racism, then the institution has a hand to play in dismantling racism. Otherwise, expertise, like those linked above, looks bleached, devoid of the gradients this world allows us.

Jose

photo c/o

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Sabrina Stevens at TEDxNYED, Brooklyn Tech

Sabrina Stevens at TEDxNYED, Brooklyn Tech

A few things:

Quote of the Week:

A current of love rushed from his heart, and the boy began to pray. It was a prayer that he had never said before, because it was a prayer without words or pleas. His prayer didn’t give thanks for his sheep having found new pastures; it didn’t ask that the boy be able to sell more crystal; and it didn’t beseech that the woman he had met continue to await his return. In the silence, the boy understood that the desert, the wind, and the sun were also trying to understand the signs written by the hand, and were seeking to follow their paths, and to understand what had been written on a single emerald. He saw that omens were scattered throughout the earth and in space, and that there was no reason or significance attached to their appearance; he could see that not the deserts, nor the winds, nor the sun, nor people knew why they had been created. But that the hand had a reason for all of this, and that only the hand could perform miracles, or transform the sea into a desert … or a man into the wind. Because only the hand understood that it was a larger design that had moved the universe to the point at which six days of creation had evolved into a Master Work.

The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.

- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

*** title credit to Sabrina Stevens ***

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Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor and President Obama

Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor and President Obama

A few minutes ago, Al Franken, who himself went through a few months of struggle attaining his position as senator of Minnesota, confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice, 68-31. We all know the biography: products of hard-working Puerto-Rican parents, Bronx-native, came through Catholic education and through the Ivy Leagues, rose up the ranks of the US justice system, lauded by prominent liberals and conservatives alike, and an excellent example of someone whose hard work, intelligence, demeanor, and persistence benefited her. As the first Latina and the third female Supreme Court justice ever, she’s the pride of the many people invested in each of these groups.

People all over Twitter, interestingly, were concerned that she’d never get in, with good reason. The backlash against every decision President Obama’s made or planned probably puts at least a little angst if not outright fear into every other American who’s not a right-wing extremist (and that crowd’s getting smaller as it gets louder). Even non-racial topics like health care have been racialized simply by Obama’s imprint being there. While I’m quick to verbalize my disagreements against Obama and anyone else who sides against the 98% of us who aren’t rich, I also don’t get disagreeable and personal, and that’s where some of these orchestrated zombie mobs get it wrong. Questions about whether Obama was born here or in Africa or whether he’s really on the side of Islamic terrorists simply because his first and middle name “sound Arabic” are ridiculous.

With all that said, it’s important to look at the nomination of Sotomayor as true progress. This generation has grown tired of hearing about the “firsts” and we’re hungry for more. I would now ask us to keep looking forward and measuring progress as more than milestones but in cultural movements where underrepresented people can truly be represented (I don’t subscribe to the word minority as there’s nothing minor about me). As the backlash of progress starts to increase from those who want to preserve the status quo and even regress, it’s incumbent on people of all colors concerned with the advancement of this country as a whole to do their part in making these growing issues a part of their work.

Siempre pa’lante, pa’lante …

Jose, who’s really proud of her …

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