Thursday, May 28, 2009

White Guys Like Newt Gingrich Don't Get Racism

Here's the statement that the White Guy Conservatives such as Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have shamefully glommed onto:
First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Read the sentence in context here.
Gingrich suggests if you flip the sentence to say "I would hope that a wise white man..." Gingrich would be called a racist. He would indeed.
But here's the thing. You can't just flip the sentence around because white guys rule the planet. White guy justice has ruled for centuries. That's not racist. That's truth. That is why there are laws AGAINST racism because the white population has been racist. That is why there are laws against hate crimes. That is why there are laws against pay discrimination. As times have changed and leaders emerge to enlighten us, our culture has changed, albeit slowly. But it's picking up speed because younger people don't see race or sex as barriers. 
Imagine if black judges, served on the courts when discrimination against blacks was the norm. Imagine how many court rulings might be different if Hispanic people, gay people, or people who had an other-than-white life experience sat on our judges' benches.
Justice would look a lot different.
People like to say justice is blind and that's true in the IDEAL world. That's what justice is supposed to be. But as a practicality, in modern world, we're still figuring out justice. That's why we need diversity on the Supreme Court.
Imagine if all of the Supreme Court judges were women when Lilly Ledbetter filed her case against Goodyear for not paying her the same as other male Goodyear managers. Women get it. They would've understood that, yes, males (white males) still make more money than women, all women, and that it was wrong for Goodyear not to pay her equally. Instead, the mostly male judges ruled that Ledbetter filed her case too late.
Unless everyone is on equal footing, you can't start at a point of blind justice.
The reality is, white guys rule but white guy rule is fading and instead of viewing that as progress, old white guys such as Limbaugh and Gingrich feel threatened. They're sort of clueless and they make the same reverse discrimination arguments that KKK members make, or as they like to call themselves now, advocates for "white pride." In fact, their lack of understanding is precisely the reason why the republican party is fading. They don't see the advantage of diversity. They don't understand what it might bring to the party. They talk a good game but for them, white guy rule is A-Okay.
They feel threatened, like a species on its way to extinction. Indeed, their kind of mentality is on its way to extinction. 
Instead of signing up to the reality of a changing world and sharing in the joy of black people, Hispanic people, gay people and others coming to power in a more equal society, they're fighting to hang on to power with all the might that they have, which unfortunately, is still considerable.