Monday, June 8, 2009

The Politics of Race

"Judge Sotomayor is the archetypal 'challenger.' Challengers see the moral authority that comes from their group's historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites -- whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development. If their group is not yet competitive with whites, the moral authority that comes from their grievance should be allowed to compensate for what they lack in development. This creates a terrible corruption in which the group's historic grievance is allowed to count as individual merit. And so a perverse incentive is created: Weakness and victimization are rewarded over development....

"Sonia Sotomayor is of the generation of minorities that came of age under the hegemony of this perverse incentive. For this generation, challenging and protesting were careerism itself. This is why middle- and upper middle-class minorities are often more militant than poor and working-class minorities. America's institutions -- universities, government agencies, the media and even corporations -- reward their grievance....

"With the Sotomayor nomination, Mr. Obama has made the same mistake his wife made in her 'This is the first time I am proud of my country' remark: bad faith toward an America that has shown him only good faith."

-- Shelby Steele, Stanford University

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