New York Times: Sotomayor Called Herself an “Affirmative Action Baby”

200px-Sonia_SotomayorThe New York Times reports that Judge Sonia Sotomayor once described herself as “a product of affirmative action” and that she was admitted to both Princeton and Yale with “subpar” scores due to affirmative action. The comments have heightened criticism of her vote in the New Haven firefighters case where she supported the throwing out of promotion results because whites and Hispanics scored better than blacks.

In statements that seem directly relevant to the New Haven case (reviewed here with her prior opinions). Sotomayor says that her lower scores were due to “cultural biases” that are “built into testing.”

The videos included references to herself as an “affirmative action baby” and notes that “[i]f we had gone through the traditional numbers route of those institutions, it would have been highly questionable if I would have been accepted.” She tied her own life to the purpose and value of affirmative action programs, stating “my test scores were not comparable to that of my classmates. And that’s been shown by statistics, there are reasons for that. There are cultural biases built into testing, and that was one of the motivations for the concept of affirmative action to try to balance out those effects.”

For the story, click here.

13 thoughts on “New York Times: Sotomayor Called Herself an “Affirmative Action Baby””

  1. Affirmative Action’s time has gone and past. Only the black-american has even a slight argument for benefit. No other races or culture’s or people have a legitimate claim to affirmative action at this point in American history, if they ever even did.

    Everybody today is so intent on getting themselves classified as some kind of protected class so they can get all kinds of benefits and advantages that haven’t we got to the point where everybody in some way can get themselves classified a “minority” of something open to some type of entitlement and protection.

    It is getting absolutely ridiculous, everybody drapes the flag of victimization around themselves and no intelligent discourse can ever be raised to address the issue lest the one raising the issue be quickly branded the “racsist” or “bigot”.

    With all the diversity in America, all the diversity training, diversity sensitivity, all the griping and moaning by everyone who considers themselves a “minority” class which is getting to be everyone what in fact now constites cultural bias.

    Ok maybe Sotomayor needed a jump-start back when she was coming up. I in NO way begrudge her that. I’m not going to debate her judicial ideology. I’m not even going to hold her affirmative action benefits against her. That’s water under the bridge at this point. But can all these “minorities” wailing about their plight please stop. There are so many minorities that there are minorities within the minorities. When does it all end?!

    Please, I BEG anyone ready to respond to me with a knee-jerk racist accusation, PLEASE read my latest blog and you’ll see I’m in NO way a racist and that I come from an interesting perspective in this debate.

    type in sicilian1, read and give me the benefit of the doubt before you brand me a racist

  2. I just wonder two things whe I see your post.

    1- First you do not argue anything…What if I said myself, that the amount of research on the cultural bias regarding ,arithmetic, geometry, logic in sentences or whatever, does not really show any cultural norm but simply intelligence? Do I demonstrate anything? No.

    But if I say that maths appeared within different people were they chinese, indians, amerindians, europeans, middleeasterners? What does maths have to do with culture?
    And the same with language logic. As far as I know maths were written with phrase suntil the 16th century when a french man whoe name I do not rember decide to simplify the writing. So question is english unberrable or impossible to tackle for people froma different culture? Does a “culture” prohobit reasonning in english?

    2- What are the consequeneces of what you are writing?
    If selection of people should be based on culture as defined by racial background or not ( but you don’t explain anything, then how come people of different cultures can live together?

    If even a test is culture bias, then what about a legal question? What aboutr Sotomayor then? Do you understand that waht you are asking is back to segregation?

    Well I’m happy to tell you that you consider that everythng that goes with the western civilisation is uniquely western and exclusively wester, and that by consequence you consider that maths tests are only western are they GMat, OQ, LAST orthe french baccalaureat, and that maths or logic have nothing to do with latinos, that by logic the same goes with sciencs, physics, medecine, engeenering etc… you condier that a superior culture does in fact exist. Thanks you.

    Come on. “The amount of research on this subject is staggering.”. And what we say is ridiculous… That being not only stupid but pretentious. Argue. Facts- hypothethis – fact check.

    What you imply coulmd even be considered just mere racism. Why would a “culture” prohibit logic or standarsized american test even if – by incredible magic -happen not to bet logic?

    Either if it is a question of will or capacities then how can we live together in “a multicultural country”?Because you know if someone from another culture is not able or does not want to understand me, then why would I live with him?
    Tell me, because I would really like to know how you avoid identiy laws, ethnical cultural segregation and racism.

  3. Standardized tests aren’t biased based on skin color, but on culture. The United States is a multicultural nation (despite the best efforts of the bigots amongst us) and it is ridiculous for us to use tests that are biased towards any cultural norm. The amount of research on this subject is staggering.

  4. Great Baba:)
    I conclude that your research answer implies that the colour of your skin indulges your culture. I also conclude that your race limits your freedom and that race means culture… and that because you are from such racial origin then you are limited to some specific capabilities. Adn that, maybe one culture is not equal to another because some guy from one race (ie culture) can not do what some other guy from another race (ie culture) can do… Wait…isn’t that clearly racist?

    More seriouly, Benjamin Frabnklin said of the American Constitution that “his is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism … when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other”.

    By corruption he meant corruption of values. Something that as soon as the 16th century Etienne de la Boétie talked about. Something that Tocqueville warned.

    When I hear someone say twhat you say, tat a man of some origin s can have a special treatment just because he is from that origin, I conclude that he is either a complete idiot or a man who has lforgotten that all man are equal in rights.

    Basic philosophy and economy will make you understand that if you grant economic rights you turn your country into depotism.

    Why should Puerto Ricans like Sotomayor, who were never subjected to slavery get racial or ethnic preferences over Polish, Asian Americans?

    By the way, why should african american have it as they is no more Jim Corw Laws in the US now?

    How come positive dicrmination is not racial economic righs?

    We all know it is just wrong to discriminate against. But all that america has done is to switch the color of the victims with the color of the beneficiaries.

    This is the best recipe to go into identity politics. And this will lead your democracy to end as soon as it will turn into a minority-majority. In order to have people you will either call the Leviathan and you will surrender your freedom or you will split your country into racial lines.
    You can avoid it as long as you stick to the idea of marthin Luther King: judge people by the content of their caracter and not by their color.

  5. I dont understand how a standardized test would be more difficult for someone because of the color of their skin.

    Em because, “standardised testing” is designed around cultural norns of the Anglo Saxon, next unresearched question?

  6. Good link eniobob.

    I still admire what Ms. Sotomayor accomplished—both academically and professionally—given the odds against her success. I support her nomination and the forthcoming Senate hearing will be extremely informative and revealing.

  7. I dont understand how a standardized test would be more difficult for someone because of the color of their skin.

  8. The counter argument to the idea that affirmative action is bad, at least in this case, is that despite her lower scores on standardized tests, she still did better than most of her peer group in the schools she attended. Consequently, standardized tests did not accurately reflect her actual abilities.

    She did graduate summa from Princeton. She was on the Yale Law Review. Presumably, once admitted, her test scores reflected actual merit-based evaluation, without any consideration of her background.

    Perhaps this raises questions regarding her judgment in the Ricci appeal, but that was a 6-1 decision where she sided with the majority (the rest of which were white males).

  9. And to think that Thomas a great beneficiary of Affirmative Action has denounced the same. Will she take that same posture too?

  10. as we approach the 233 year after the signing of the Declaration, the words of Calvin Coolidge come to mind.

    “”About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.””

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