I was listening to npr’s all things considered and listened to the interview of Senator Jeff Sessions who represents the republican contingent weighing in on Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination and it struck me as funny-maybe I got his point all wrong.
While Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment can be exploited to mean that Latinas make “better” decisions than the rest of us, I think it’s folly for people to insinuate that’s what she meant. Her point is the product of bumper-sticker thinking for as long as anyone thought to put their views on the back of their car.
The point may be simply: a person’s background has a role in what they see and use to make judgements-and it’s not evil. It’s diversity. But the sound bite culture doesn’t seem to understand that people no matter what level of expertise (read Gladwell’s Blink) can make different conclusions from different, but often similar points of reason.
Every election season, factoids come out from both sides as to the good or bad of some law. Sometimes they quote identical facts, coming to different conclusions. We all know differing agendas lead to differing conclusions. For the baseball fan, we know that national league umpires call higher strikes than their american league counterparts.
The key in these differences is to accept them as a valid starting place-not an ending point-for decision-making and not demonize them as some instant assumption of radical departure from the way things have always been.