Every job posting and even the cover of our seminary catalogue states that “Cornerstone University does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age or disability in any of its policies and programs.” This important statement is enforced by our nation’s courts. Should we ever sin by discriminating “on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age or disability,” we will be held accountable by our country’s legal system, which is headed by the Supreme Court. So ultimately it is the Supreme Court which enforces America’s policy of non-discrimination.
Which makes yesterday’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor so interesting. I am glad that Obama chose a qualified Hispanic woman for the Supreme Court (I don’t know enough about her rulings to say whether or not I would vote for her). I think that the diversity that she brings to the bench is a significant benefit. But I also believe that her nomination process raises questions about the meaning of non-discrimination.
Three times last week—on the Today Show and PBS’s The Newshour and WashingtonWeek—anchors from Matt Lauer to Jim Lehrer asked if this Supreme Court opening is one to which “a white man need not apply.” It was obvious to these newsmen, as to many other pundits, that a certain amount of discrimination was being used in this appointment.
I’m fine with that. But what I don’t understand is how we can then say with a straight face that we don’t discriminate when it is clear to everyone that we do. Perhaps the way past discrimination is to discriminate for awhile. Perhaps diversity requires it. Fine, but let’s at least admit that is what we are doing. This current trend of doublespeak seems dangerous and even a bit Orwellian. If we can’t honestly talk about what is happening, how will we ever trust each other enough to openly share our views and heal the rift between races?