Reading of Sotomayor’s undergraduate activities, I find it hard not to notice that many minority students admitted to Princeton in the 1970s, possibly under affirmative action, seemed to spend most of their time complaining about their groups’ victimization. It would be nice to know that minority students did something else at such an excellent school than complain. What a lack of gratitude, and what an unseemly sense of entitlement. (Recall Michelle Obama’s senior thesis on her experience as a black woman at Princeton.)
Moreover, the letters Sotomayor wrote to the Princetonian were utterly saturated in groupthink and the unthinking assumption that proportional representation of groups according to their share of the population should be the object of American political and cultural life. Finally, her present-day designation of herself as ”Latina,” a totally artificial and politicized nomenclature, indicates that she may not have come that far from her salad days.
The awful thing about her “wise Latina woman” remark (aside from its use of the disdainful feminist designation “white male”) is that it shows how multiculturalism has affected even native-born Americans to think of themselves as belonging to a separate tribe. Sotomayor’s parents were American citizens via Puerto Rico, and she was born on the mainland and grew up in the Bronx, and had many advantages, yet multiculturalism and Hispanic identity activism, fed in part by large-scale Hispanic immigration after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, encourages her to think of herself as coming from a separate culture.
In their long biographical article on the judge, the New York Times wrote of young Sonia using her college summers to catch up on classics and grammar books that her Princeton classmates from places like Choate and Exeter had already absorbed. I don’t know if this isn’t some kind of Marxist class-division fantasy. The Catholic high-school system of those days encouraged a lot of reading and was very strong on grammar. Be that as it may, it seems ironic that once at Princeton, instead of taking all the courses she could in the great works, she agitated instead for courses in Puerto Rican and Chicano culture.