27 May 2009

What's My Name

An interesting juxtaposition at the newstand today: The Baltimore Sun's lead article talked about President' Obama's Hispanic choice for the Supreme Court, while the Washington Post spoke of the Latina Judge who had been picked.

Looks like us Negro/Colored/Black/African-American people are not the only ones that those outside our community don't know how to name.

Since Judge Sonia Sotomayor's family comes from Puerto Rico, IMHO that makes her....American!:)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I plan to call her Latina, although she's in fact puertorriqueña (or boricua if your being political). "Hispanic" was a term created by Richard Nixon's administation in 1973 when we all got divided up into either Native American/Eskimo, Asian/Pacific Islander, White, Black, or Hispanic. Most of the Hispanics/Latinos I see (mainly immigrants from Mexico, Central South America or the Caribbean in our part of the world) are EXTREMELY proud of where they come from. You do NOT confuse a Nicaraguan with a Salvadoran, or a Dominican with a Cuban. (Check this for even more confusion). It sort of reminds me of how many Inner City blacks call all Asians 'Korean' or a joke I heard a Mexican comic tell about his dating a Japanese girl who his mother insisted on calling "La China."

To be honest, since she grew up in the projects, I wonder if we can call her Madame Justice from 'round the way? The Boogie Down Bronx in da Court!!

The coming confirmation hearings will be very interesting. Or rather the hearings will be anticlimatic compared with all the posturing and flame throwing going on prior to the hearings, which has already started. A veritable sweepstakes of racism and sexism -- even going so far as to ridicule the pronunciation of her name! I refuse to link to the now-infamous piece of attempted character assination put out by the formerly reputable New Republic about Judge Sotomayor, but will lead you here, to Glenn Greenwald and encourage you to follow his continuing coverage of the smears.

I also find the newest 'meme' on the judge interesting: reading her rulings one can find 'no vision'. She "lacks depth" (this one pains me as I in the main like and tend to agree with Jonathan Turley).

I certainly don't want to limit debate on the merits of Judge Sotomayor, or stop people from looking at her rulings and statements. But the current, low, level of discourse in these opening hours are enough to make me wonder: what does Person of Color (whatever you call them) and/or a Woman have to do to be considered 'qualified' around here?

2 comments:

Oscar Bermeo said...

She might also identify as Nuyorican, simultaneously claiming her urban upbringing and island heritage in the same way as Martín Espada and Pedro Pietri (to name two noted poets of the Nuyo lineage).

Regardless, I'm glad the nation's most famous Bronx Puertoriqueña is no longer J-Lo.

John K said...

Exactly--and in the NY Times, they interviewed a guy who made a point of noting that he was *not* a Nuyorican. Folks be trippin, oy vey!

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