Latina, South Asian, Whatever – They’re all the same, aren’t they?

5 06 2009

Ever since Sotomayor’s nomination, she has been under attack by so many insensitive, ignorant assholes.  The latest ridiculous OMG! WTF?!! head-banging-against-desk bullshit:

national review

So… Sotomayor is South Asian?  She’s dressed up in South Asian attire, seated in front of what seems to be the Himalayan Mountains, has very slanted (and therefore obviously Asian) eyes.  First she was a Mexican, and now she is the wise, all-knowing Buddha.

Women of color are all the same.   It doesn’t matter what their ethnic identity/background really is.  The bottom line is that because they are not white men, their ethnic identity clearly isn’t important.  They are just otherized and dismissed as the insignificant (non white male) OTHER.  Renee has a great analysis:

The very normalization of whiteness is what allows these kinds of images to exist.  These cartoons scream DIFFERNT, DIFFERENT, DIFFERENT…without acknowledging that the issue is not really difference but the value that has been applied to difference.  As Sotomayor goes through the confirmation process we will probably see more attacks of this nature.  Though whiteness is under no great attack from invading Puerto Rican women seeking to rule, the idea that  one could possibly sit on what has been commonly a throne to white men is threatening because it suggests that white men do not have a monopoly on intelligence.

This is also a stereotypical caricature of Buddhism.  While Buddhism did originate in India, Buddhists exist throughout the world.  Not all Buddhists are Asian.  Not all Buddhists seclude themselves in the Himalayan mountains meditating for days and days.  And of course, because Sotomayor is an intelligent, hard-working and successful woman with credentials, she must be Asian because they’re the smart ones.  No other people of color are wise!  Gotta use the Asian stereotype!



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