If you haven’t heard yet, Barack Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to the Supreme Court. She’s not only the first Hispanic woman to be nominated (and most likely appointed) but also one of the very few women.
In restaurants, homes and offices across the country, Hispanics responded to Judge Sotomayorâ€™s selection with a puff of pride, some gratitude and considerable discussion. In interviews in Miami, Los Angeles and New York, many said this kind of recognition from Washington â€” Democratic or Republican â€” was long overdue given the growing size of the Hispanic voting bloc.
Some of those interviewed said Hispanic appointments mattered less than issues affecting them directly, like immigration and the economy.
Another article looks at the risk to Republicans in opposing her nomination:
But some Republicans warned that the image of Republicans throwing a roadblock before an historic nomination could prove politically devastating. Republicans saw a dip in Hispanic support in 2008, after eight years in which former President George W. Bush and his political aides had made a concerted effort to increase the Republican appeal to Hispanics, the nationâ€™s fastest-growing group of voters.
Matthew Dowd, another one-time adviser to Mr. Bush, said that in 2000, he calculated that Republicans needed to win 35 percent of Hispanics to beat Democrats. He said that given the steady increase in the number of Hispanic voters, he now believed Republicans needed to win a minimum of 40 percent to be competitive with Democrats.
Here’s a brief view on identity politics – you can’t escape it. A person may want to be identified by their race, gender, class, type of car, profession or religion (or lack of), but people generally like identities. Sometimes the more the better (in my case).
The most important issue is whether Ms Sotomayor is suitable for the post. Obama thinks he is, and that’s good enough for me. But there’s also no doubt that her identity matters – mostly because it points to the fact that America’s ruling class is finally becoming more diverse in race and gender and reflecting the society it serves.
This isn’t always necessary, but it’s important to understand that for many minorities who don’t feel connected to ‘the establishment’ or feel they have a stake in the country, representation from those groups does go some way in making them feel that they do have some sort of a stake. It doesn’t for everybody, but it does for some. The fact that a woman from the projects in the Bronx can be nominated to the Supreme Court will undoubtedly be inspirational to some.
Obama played up the fact that she comes from a poor, immigrant family from Puerto Rico, who was enveloped in “the American dream”. I think it’s a narrative that the left would be good to understand and work with.
Lastly, she also grew up reading and being inspired by Nancy Drew. I can relate to that
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Filed in: British Identity,Culture,Race politics