Phi Beta Cons

The Lingo of Identity Politics

In the wider setting of congressional hearings, the lingo of racial and gender pollitics — so acceptable in academic situations and flung about with arrogance and nonchalance in law schools and panel discussions and the like — does not sound so good. So instead of defending the plain meaning of her words — her statement that a “wise Latina” would be a better judge than a white male, for example, or her belief that impartiality and objectivity are unattainable, or her idea that judges can be guided by their heritage and prejudices — Judge Sotomayor is blandly denying that her words meant what they clearly meant. She is simply not being honest. She was not just giving a pep talk to encourage Hispanics that they have a lot to give; she was saying that they will change the law in some undefined way because of their specific nature, even that their ”inherent physiological and cultural differences” might well influence their judgments. 


This is the duplicity of diversity. The pure, tribal assertion of group identity as a ticket to power is disguised behind the unobjectionable need for openness and inclusiveness in our society. And this is how the American people are fooled into going along with it. 

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