WHAT SHE SAID: "If I introduced every one that's family," Sotomayor said with a strong voice and a smile, "we'd be here all morning."Really? Sonia Sotomayor, in noting she has a large family during a nationally broadcast statement, really meant to convey she knows she doesn't look like—who? members of the Judiciary Committee? members of the Senate? every American watching along at home? As Digby notes, "This kind of remark says far more about the person who says it than the person they are ostensibly describing."
WHAT SHE MEANT: I may not look like all of you but, trust me, I'm no different than every other family-loving American. I'm surrounded by people who love me.
WHAT HE SAID: "Judge Sotomayor's journey to this hearing room," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., "is truly an American story."Or he was merely coyly reminding the audience that the Latina up for nomination is as American as anyone else in the room—and, gee, I can't imagine why he'd feel the need to do that, when wire service Washington bureau chiefs busily exhibit their expansive tolerance by interpreting Sotomayor's comments about her family as a treatise on looking different from all the "normal Americans" or wev.
WHAT HE MEANT: If you love America, you'll love Sotomayer -- or at least vote for her.
WHAT HE SAID: " ... a struggle ripe with anti-Semitism .... likewise, the first Catholic nominee ...," Leahy said, underscoring that Sotomayor, like Catholic and Jewish nominees before her, would be a barrier-breaking justice.So Leahy can't even bring up that Sotomayor is a trailblazer without being accused of implicitly condemning others' potential racism. Echoes of when a person of color points out that a white person has said/done something racist, and the POC is accused of "playing the race card," so that it's impossible to call out racism without having it immediately turned around on you.
WHAT HE MEANT: Criticize Sotomayor at your own risk. You don't want to sound racist.
In this case, the white Leahy celebrating a Latina's success despite still-evident racial barriers in America can be nothing but, according to Fournier, a caution that any criticism will be called racism. Then, if there is later occasion for Leahy (or another Democrat) to call out a demonstrable bit of racism in the proceedings, the criticism can be disregarded as unserious, because, hey, we already knew Leahy was going to "cry racism" on any criticism, anyway. Remember how he praised her? But we all knew what he really meant.
Never mind that the GOP has already established a history of using racism against Sotomayor (and of calling her racist), which would give Leahy the right to make such an admonishment even if he were.
WHAT HE SAID: Leahy said nobody should demonize "this extraordinary woman, her success or her understanding of the duties she's faithfully performed the last 17 years."Merely mentioning that Sotomayor is a woman is, according to Fournier, Leahy "playing the gender card," implying that criticism of her will be deemed sexist.
WHAT HE MEANT: Criticize Sotomayor at your own risk. Don't be sexist.
This is the position of trolls we've seen come through here day after day for years: I can't say anything negative about POC without being called a racist! I can't say anything negative about women without being called a sexist! I can't say anything negative about queers without being called a bigot! You just silence dissent by lobbing -ists and -isms at me! Over and over and over, despite the reality that I manage to criticize people of color (like our president) and women (like Sarah Palin) and queers (like John Aravosis) all the time without resorting to race-baiting, gendered slurs, or anti-queer epithets.
But it's just so convenient for privileged fuckwads to believe—and claim—that support for diversity is akin to the silencing of dissent, that they'll say it ad infinitum, irrespective of mountainous evidence to the contrary, until they believe it.
And the Washington bureau chief of the AP has done precisely the same.
There's your "liberal media bias" for you, right there. The AP's exactly as liberal as your average troll at Shakesville.