Repubican Senator’s Obsession with Being a Wise Latina

Malika Saada Saar

Repubican Senator's Obsession with Being a Wise Latina.

Let it go already. It is striking to me that the Republican Senators
on the judiciary committee are still obsessing over the wise Latina sentence
uttered by Judge Sotomayor—rather than her vast record of legal opinion. What
is it about a strong, smart Latina woman who is grounded and unwavering in her
ethnic  identity that so deeply threatens
 the Republican Senators? Does being a
wise Latina mean that you are therefore unwise towards the needs of other Americans? During the Alito confirmation
hearings
, not one Republican—or Democratic—Senator expressed dismay at the
expression of Justice Alito’s ethnic-based knowledge. In fact, Justice’s Alito’s
expression of the distinct sensibilities engendered by his Italian ancestry was
construed at the time of his confirmation hearings to be a seamless part of his
American identity that ostensibly rendered him a uniquely empathetic, fair, and
even-handed jurist.

 

Here is what these Republican Senators  don’t get—there is a whole  generation of highly educated people of color
who honor their ancestry, families, and communities (i.e. not Clarence Thomas)
and do not play out identity politics as the spring board to their political
ascent (i.e. not Jesse Jackson). People of color can love themselves, love America, and love other citizens of this nation. It is a new America and a new
voting electorate—and if Republican Senators can’t discern this sea change,
they will lose more than elections.

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