In the course of my web browsing today, I ran across a column in the Boston Herald by Margery Eagan, on the Sotomayor nomination. I’ve never heard of Ms. Eagan and the op-ed isn’t noteworthy–it’s standard issue liberal triumphalism. But it struck me that this paragraph might be unintentionally illuminating:
Note to those arguing that if a white man said about caucasians what Sotomayor did about Latina women judging better, he’d be finished: That’s true. But it’s a ridiculous analogy. White men – unlike women and minorities – have never endured government-sanctioned racism. Not yet, anyway.
This is a stunningly clueless thing to say. White males are precisely the individuals who, in our society, can be discriminated against, and are. That is what affirmative action–“government sanctioned racism”–is all about. Is it possible that any person of normal intelligence fails to understand this?
Well, there may be one more–Sonia Sotomayor. Because a good example of a white male who was discriminated against, in a legally sanctioned way–sanctioned by Sonia Sotomayor–is Frank Ricci, who was denied a promotion, solely because he was white.
I don’t actually think that Margery Eagan, let alone the much more intelligent Sonia Sotomayor, really believes that white males are never discriminated against as an empirical matter. I think that for highly ideological liberals like Eagan and Sotomayor, it is tautologically impossible for a “white male” to be “discriminated against.” In the context of any race or gender issue, white males, for such liberals, are outlaws. It is open season on them. No matter what happens, it cannot be invidious “discrimination.” Hence Sonia Sotomayor’s anonymous rubber-stamping of the district court’s decision in Ricci, with no acknowledgement of the facts of the case. When you’re on the “right” side, and white males are on the wrong side, facts need not be taken into account.