Monday, July 6, 2009

A helping hand can be a slap in the face.

Recently the Supreme Court delivered a much needed ruling against race based decision making. The decision was a rebuke to the misguided “empathy” of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The ruling stems from a case in 2003, when a group of firefighters were administered an exam for department promotions. When the results were released, the city “threw out the results of the tests after no black firefighters scored high enough to be promoted.” Judge Sotomayor agreed with the city. However, Sotomayor did far more than issue a baseless ruling…she perpetuated a stereotype that continues to plague minorities across the country.

Sotomayor gave credence to the demoralizing belief that minorities are to be considered less than their white counterparts. The idea that minorities are not smart enough to compete on the same level. Instead, society should allow minorities a five minute “head start”. After all, we expect them to fail.

Being Mexican American, I reject Sotomayor and her supporters who gush empathy for minorities. I take offense at the notion that a test must be modified or weighted to a lesser extent because of my race. The humiliation is comparable to watching your peers complete an exam while you wait for the “other” test to arrive. The only thing more humiliating would be if they gave minorities a box of crayons to use.

While the rebuke of Sotomayor is not expected to derail her nomination, she should be mindful of the misguided views she inadvertently promotes. There is no dignity for minorities in being the “token” employee. Rather every minority should demand an end to race based decision making. Only then will society give what has long been sought by minorities… equality and respect.