Tag Archives: Sonia Sotomayor

Towards A More Perfect Nation: Sotomayor Navigates A Race, Gender, And Class Minefield In Pursuit Of Justice

by Latoya Peterson, originally published at Jezebel

In Latina, we learned all about Sonia Sotomayor‘s personal life and style. A new profile in the New Yorker thoroughly probes her work life and relationships to paint another picture of the justice as intellectually savvy, confident, and compassionate.

Running twelve long pages, Lauren Collins’s piece delves deeply into Sotomayor’s past, relying heavily on the testimony of friends and congressional gossip to reveal how much was at stake with her historic nomination, and how long a climb it actually was. Collins’s article deserves a deep reading on its own merit, but here are eight items that stood out to me as particularly telling.

Focus on Sotomayor’s Clothing as a Signifier of Difference

Much has been made of Sotomayor’s nail polish and hoop earrings. Writer Lauren Collins continues this trend within the first few paragraphs noting:

By the end of the hour allotted to the case, Justice Sotomayor-wearing a snaky silver cuff bracelet and with her fingernails painted sports-car red-had spoken five times.

This is normally positioned alongside other quirky characteristics of Sotomayor, like her card-sharking ways. No, seriously.

The financial-disclosure form that she filed with the Senate revealed that, in 2008, in a Florida casino, she had won $8,283 playing cards.

During the nomination process, Sotomayor’s background was carefully scrutinized, and she was instructed to camouflage or obscure some of her normal habits. In some ways, her embrace of her own cosmetic preferences and hobbies over what is considered to be safe or acceptable signal she is not ashamed of who she is or where she has come from. Assimilation requires a very high price and her refusal to do so is an amazing stand for individual truth. There is nothing inferior about wearing colored nail polish, or wearing an off-the-rack suit to work, or rocking hoop earrings. Just as many of us are asked to remove our ethnic and regional markers in exchange for success (straightening hair, tightening diction, and avoiding items that call attention to the wearer) Sotomayor’s subtle – but persistent- refusal to fall in line implies much more than a love of candy apple red polish. Continue reading

Open Thread: Sotomayor Hearings

by Latoya Peterson

I got an email from my friend Erica Gonzales saying she was going to be in DC this week. Then I found out she was on a mission – live tweeting the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings for El Diario La Prensa. And to be quite honest, I think I prefer her coverage over everything else I’ve read. She’s not pulling any punches. Some of the highlights:

Graham calls #Sotomayor speeches disturbing. Repb tactic is to frame her as presenting different versions for herself.

Graham citing sexist criticisms of #Sotomayor — i.e. “she can be a bit of a bully.” If it was a man, would the same comments be an issue?

Graham on “wise Latina” remarks: basically said that white men don’t get a break for misspeaking – that people of color have advantage

Senate judiciary majority releases another handout titled “Attacks on Judge #Sotomayor’s Temperament are Baseless.”

4th handout from Senate judiciary committee majority — quoting Republican appointed Justices who “have touted their unique backgrounds…”

Feingold is asking how #Sotomayor can empathize with rural Americans?

SHe is a baby killer. #Sotomayorabout 19 hours ago from web
#Sotomayor another protester escorted out.about 19 hours ago from web

Hatch: “People all over country tired of courts imposing their will against one group or another ‘without’ justification.” #Sotomayor

You can follow her updates via twitter.

I’m also hating the blatant gotcha strategies. Why would Sotomayor make a statement on some bullshit ass hypothetical that they will twist to their own ends? Ugh. Fuck politics.

Add your thoughts in the comments.

Parsing the Politics of Caricature, e.g., Rich Lowry Is a Moron

by Guest Contributor Jeff Yang, originally published at the Secret Identities Blog

Oh, man. As if we needed another reminder as to why cartoon art is a medium that can be used for evil as easily as good, comes now the next installment in a series of racist National Review covers trafficking in Asian stereotypical imagery.

You’ll remember, of course, that back in March 1997, the National Review released the infamous “Manchurian Candidates” cover seen here (which, due to the fact that the Internet was just a tot when that slice of tripe hit the newsstands, I was only able to find in greyscale — embedded in a journal article written by Darrell Hamamoto, w00t!)

Asian Americans understandably reacted with stunned rage at the depiction of then-President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, and Vice-President Al Gore in stereotypical Chinese garb, their features warped into exaggerated Asian caricatures (slanted eyes, buck teeth).

The National Review was unrepentant in the face of charges that the cartoon was offensive and inflammatory, responding, in part, that:

“Caricatures and cartoons … require exaggerated features and, where a social type is portrayed, a recognizable stereotype. Thus, a cartoonist who wants to depict an Englishman will show him wearing a monocle and bowler hat, a Frenchman in beret and striped jersey, a Russian in fur hat, dancing the gopak, etc.”

Continue reading

Open Thread: Political Cartoon on Sonia Sotomayor

by Latoya Peterson

Via Shakesville (comments), came across this image on Middle Raged Punk:

The author of the post notes:

In case you can’t read the caption it says “Fiesta time at the confirmation hearing”. And yes, President Obama is wearing a sombrero while offering up Sotomayor as a pinata for a group of Republicans who each have a stick.

The racism is obvious, but the sexism seems to have escaped the people at The Oklahoman. Violence has very commonly been used to silence women and “keep them in their place”, and Oklahoma is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to violence against women.

Your thoughts?