June 9, 2009

The roots of Sotomayor's ethnic chauvinism

By David Paulin

Sonia Sotomayor, a self-described “wise Latina woman,” is an ethnic chauvinist if her own words are anything to go by. What are the roots of her chauvinism?

Was it her upbringing by parents who immigrated from Puerto Rico? Or her supposedly hardscrabble girlhood in the Bronx? Or perhaps it was her education at a private Catholic school, Cardinal Spellman High School?

As it turns out, it was none of the above. Judge Sotomayor's obsession with her ethnicity began during her undergraduate years at Princeton University. As Sunday's New York Times explained in a fascinating front-page article:
According to friends, Ms. Sotomayor was not active in her high school’s small Latino club. Ethnicity was not something to be ashamed of, they said, but they did not really celebrate it either.

But on Princeton’s manicured campus, Ms. Sotomayor explored her roots in a way she never had on trips to Puerto Rico or in “Nuyorican” circles back home. In a Puerto Rican studies seminar, she absorbed the literature, economics, history and politics of the island, and by senior year, she was writing a thesis on its first democratically elected governor. In its dedication, she sounds newly enchanted with her heritage.

“To my family,” she wrote, “for you have given me my Puerto Rican-ness.”

“To the people of my island, for the rich history that is mine,” she continued.
It's a fascinating revelation. Above all, it underscores how Princeton and other universities over the past few decades have helped to create the “hyphenated identifies” by which many Americans now identify themselves (especially from Mexico and Latin America) rather than assimilating into a common nationality.

The subject of hyphenated identifies was explored by Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington in his fascinating book “Who are We? The Challenges to America's National Identify.” In it, Huntington described how young college students, the offspring of immigrant parents or grandparents, arrived at college fully assimilated. They regarded themselves as Americans, period – at least until their professors got hold of them. That's when they “rediscovered” their ethnic roots. Giving up their beliefs that they were Americans -- part of a single identify and culture -- they thereafter defined themselves as hyphenated Americans in a country that was “multicultural.”

And in the case of Sonia Sotomayor, ethnicity became an obsession. In college, as the Times notes, she became a passionate advocate for “Hispanic causes.” As a judge, she later complained about the lack of “Hispanics” sitting on the bench.

Sunday's article offers another interesting tidbits about Sotomayor. Until now, the Times and other media outlets have portrayed her as having been a brilliant student who got into Princeton and Yale Law School by dint of her superior intelligence and hard work.

As it turns out, there was another reason – affirmative action. The Times cites no sources for this revelation, but it seems like a no brainer to assume that Sotomayor got a boost from affirmative action. What's interesting about this is that Sotomayor herself has never described herself as being a beneficiary of affirmative action, as the Times noted in an earlier article. And when a Washington law firm with which she interviewed dared to ask if her if she'd benefited from affirmative action, she filed a complaint against the firm with Yale, according to Sunday's article: “For Sotomayor and Thomas, Paths Fork at Race and Identify.”

That Sotomayor apparently was an affirmative action student explains a strange inconsistency – how she got into the Ivy League despite lacking basic writing skills; skills which she supposedly would have learned at a good Catholic high school.

Interestingly, the Times' Sunday piece claimed that Sotomayor overcome her inept writing all by herself at Princeton -- after shuttering herself in her dorm room and studying “grade-school grammar textbooks.” Yet an earlier article in the Times offered a different version of this story of hard work, stating: “Only with the outside help of a professor who served as her mentor did she catch up academically, ultimately graduating at the top of her class.”

Sotomayor, during her confirmation hearing, is bound to hear her most infamous words repeated to her:
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion" than a white man.

It's a remark, of course, that applies a stereotype to "Latina" women – a good stereotype. It's interesting that Sotomayor has no problem using stereotypes, but absolutely bristles when she perceives that others (conservative white men in particular) would dare to define her with the same stereotype by which she defines herself. Or as the Times explained in its concluding paragraphs:
"Judge Sotomayor saw a hitch in her own confirmation for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a not entirely dissimilar light. Senate Republicans had held up her nomination for a year, and shortly afterward, she said they made assumptions about her views simply “because I was Hispanic and a woman.”

“I was dealt with on the basis of stereotypes,” she said.
This was originally published at The American Thinker.
Somali immigrants remake Minneapolis

UPDATE: "Death of Somali Teen A Mystery to Minnesota Family"

By David Paulin

In case you missed it, the New York Times has been running an in-depth series examining the impact on the country of massive levels of immigration, which is unprecedented both in numbers and fact that many of the newcomers are from the Third World, not from Europe as in the past.

"Remade in America," as the series is called, implies that America is remaking the immigrants.
But if you read between the lines in the Times series, just the opposite seems to be the case.

The immigrants are remaking America!

Consider what has happened in Minnesota, a place the Times snidely calls a "once lily-white city on the prairie." Today, foreign-born people from places like Mexico, Somalia, and other Third World countries now constitute 5 percent of the population.

As in many other American cities, "Hispanics" -- mostly poor Mexicans here legally and illegally -- make up most of the new immigrants. But in Minneapolis, there are as many as 80,000 refugees from war-torn Somalia, as well. They were resettled in politically liberal Minneapolis because the State Department felt the city's splendid social services system could accommodate them, the Times noted. State Department officials also were impressed with the city's many civic groups that help newcomers.

So how are the Somalis doing in their quest for the American dream? Defying the "Remade in America" theme of the Times series, it seems that they're been remaking Minneapolis.

For the rest of the article, go to The American Thinker.

June 6, 2009

The OAS sham vote on Cuba

David Paulin

"OAS lifts ban on Cuba after 47 years," trumpetd the Associated Press. "Imposing Conditions, O.A.S. Lifts Its Suspension of Cuba," declared the New York Times.

And so it went...

Two examples of the news media's breathless and upbeat reporting on the OAS's disgraceful vote on Cuba last Wednesday. If you believe the headlines, the Obama administration has demonstrated how much can be achieved through "compromise" and "dialogue."
Now, Stalinist Cuba will surely take its rightful place in the Organization of American States, the 34-member regional body supposedly committed to democratic values and human rights.

And all will be right between the U.S. and Latin America.

That's the fairy-tale ending being presented by the U.S. news media regarding the OAS meeting in Honduras.
In fact, the OAS's decision was a hollow vote. A sham. An embarrassment.

After all, as a result of terms insisted upon by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's team, Cuba must meet certain "conditions" to return to the OAS -- namely, it must embrace basic democratic values and stop the thuggery that promoted Human Rights Watch, a rights group, to protest the return of Cuba to the OAS. What's more, Cuba will itself have to initiate the process of "dialogue" that will allow it to return to the regional body. And Cuba, for its part, has said it's not interested in anything of the sort, calling the OAS a tool of the U.S.

In other words, the OAS vote maintains the status quo.

Yet the Obama administration, together with the boot-licking U.S. news media, are portraying the vote as a great turning point in relations between the U.S. and Latin America. A great victory for hemispherical peace and understanding.

So just how did the Obama team succeed in putting "conditions" on the OAS vote despite the best efforts of left-wing Venezuela, Nicaragua, and like-minded OAS members to admit Cuba, no strings attached?

Chalk it up to President Obama and his magical powers of persuasion, which he brought to bear when phoning his counterparts to urge a “compromise” after tense negotiations. What could he have said? It appears there may have been
some George Bush-style arm twisting going on. Or as the Times notes:

A Latin American diplomat said that the risk of losing United States support for the organization, which gets 60 percent of its funds from Washington, weighed heavily on the group’s thinking.

According to the Times, the "stunning" OAS compromise vote ended "an intractable stalemate that threatened to polarize the hemisphere."

My goodness!
Just imagine all those American flags burning outside U.S. Embassies across Latin American if the U.S. had dared to stick to its principles. According to the AP, the compromise vote will usher in a "more collegial relationship between the U.S. and Latin American countries.”

In reality, the OAS vote was much ado about nothing. And it certainly was no victory for the Cuban people, especially its political prisoners. These are non-issues for left-leaning elites in the OAS and U.S. news media.

"Now we know where the priorities of the OAS lie," fumed U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, in a statement regarding the OAS vote, Reuters reported.

"Rather than upholding democratic principles and fundamental freedoms, OAS member states, led by the OAS Secretary General, could not move quickly enough to appease their tyrannical idols in Cuba,” said the Cuba-born representative, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

She added, "Today's decision by the OAS is an affront to the Cuban people and to all who struggle for freedom, democracy, and fundamental human rights."

And it certainly seemed to embolden the thugorcracy in Cuba if the opinion of an anchorman for a Cuban state TV channel means anything. He told Reuters that the vote "recognizes the political courage, the symbolism and defiance" of the OAS members.
In this context, of course, he means the OAS's defiance against America!

Fidel Castro, for his part, was unimpressed by the OAS vote, calling the organization an "accomplice" to crimes against Cuba.
All in all, Fidel and little brother Raul must be laughing it up today.

From Human Rights Watch:

Cuba is the only country in the hemisphere that represses nearly all forms of political dissent. For nearly five decades, the Cuban government has enforced political conformity with criminal prosecutions, long- and short-term detentions, mob harassment, physical abuse, and surveillance. These abuses have persisted since the handover of power from Fidel Castro to Raul Castro in July 2006.

This article was originally published by The American Thinker.