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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/3/09

What's Wrong With Sotomayor Being Racist?

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Message David Michael Green
When I hear big old fat white male bloviators like Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh calling Sonia Sotomayor “racist”, just one thought comes to mind: Why are these regressives endorsing her to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court?

I mean, since when did racism become a problem in their circles?

Since when wasn’t it perfectly acceptable?

Indeed, since when was it not a political tool of choice for winning power, if not a preferred lifestyle?

Do you remember the lovely Limbaugh leading the charge for civil rights, back in the Sixties? Remember how he stood side-by-side with Martin Luther King, getting fire-hosed, going to jail, and marching until he had blisters on his blisters, all for the cause of fighting racism in America?

You don’t? Funny, neither do I.

I do remember, however, that he once said this: “You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.”

Or this: “I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”

Or this, to a black woman who called his show: “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back”.

Or that he has repeatedly played the happy little tune, “Barack the Magic Negro”, on his show.

So, silly me, I kinda had the impression that Limbaugh thought racism was a good thing!

And how about Gingrich? Wasn’t he historically a great champion of civil rights, always on the front lines, always fighting the good fight, from the suburbs of Atlanta to the halls of Congress? I must be getting kinda senile, ‘cause I don’t recollect that one either. But I do remember his tireless efforts at killing welfare programs and affirmative action and at prosecuting the war on drugs, all of which actions are loaded with racist implications and cater to racist mentalities in the public.

So when I heard these clowns criticizing Sonia Sotomayor for being a supposed racist, I couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t supporting her.

After all, conservatives seem to love racism.

Remember William F. Buckley, who, during the crucible of the contemporary struggle for equality in America wrote that it is right and proper for whites to rule America, because they are the naturally dominant race? That guy was the intellectual founder of modern conservatism (pardon the double oxymoron). But let’s give credit where it is due. When it came to the question of whether whites should employ violence or not in enforcing their racist regime, Buckley admitted that he wasn’t sure on that particular question. How generous. Did I mention that Buckley was himself white?

Remember Richard M. Nixon – one of America’s most notable presidents for so many other reasons – who famously seized the presidency by means of the “Southern Strategy”? What was that? Nothing short of taking complete advantage of Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Party’s political courage (yes, they actually had some then) in fighting the good fight against institutionalized racism in America. Nixon figured he could offer a thinly-veiled racist appeal to Southern whites who had literally been in the Democratic Party for as long as Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican. Johnson saw it all coming, but did it anyhow. He figured his act of moral courage and sacrifice would cost the Democratic Party lost elections for a whole generation. Nixon was right, Johnson was wrong. It’s now been two generations.

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David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. His website is (more...)
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