If the worst decision Sonia Sotomayor has ever made was implying that white people are not superior at everything to every other race ever... we could--and have-- done much worse. Raise high the roofbeam, carpenters, for Ms. Sotomayor. The less-cordial sentiment of Gingrich and Limbaugh (and I'm careful not to say Republicans or Conservatives for a reason) is that Sotomayor is a racist. For Rush, it's obviously about ratings and attention. For others, disdain is deep-rooted in a sense of self-entitlement to the reigns over America. This small faction is afraid; they're desperate and shaking because a smart, independent woman is not apologetic about her identity, nor is she compromising of her belief that Latinas - and indeed all minorities - find life experiences that make them stronger and more perceptive than the dime-a-dozen white Protestant politicians. That's not an original thought, and Obama can defend her words well enough on his own without Andrew Roberts. But the underlying issue is that there is still a sector of mainstream media and elected officials whom are comfortable degrading a minority - and further, a minority of a minority - for in so many words, being "uppity." Maybe she should get 2/3 of a vote on the Supreme Court, eh Newt? A few years ago a colleague of mine at IU (Nathan Reed) wrote a parody skit in which a human rights activist was berated for being "racist" against racist people- a "racicist." The aggression against Sotmayor isn't far off, and we've seen it before. Those who threatened Branch Rickey's life when he signed Jackie Robinson to a Major League contract are now remembered as some of the great idiots of the last 50 years-- as will be the opposition to Sotomayor. Some baseball owners tried to justify their protests of Robinson as a business strategy; a noble fight in honor of fair competition to keep blacks out of the game, under the guise that no black man could play the game as well as white men, and that allowing African-Americans to play with whites would sully the good nature (1919 Black Sox, anyone? ... all white guys... ) of America's pastime. Also, black people would start coming to games, stealing massa's watermelons. That makes Gingrich and Limbaugh are modern day bench bums for the Boston Braves, barking blindly from the dugout - sliding into second base, cleats up. Their salivating jaws are dripping with opportunistic lust for a reversion to a general consensus that minorities in America can be sidekicks, co-pilots and public-relations pawns, but never truly at the reigns. It's a dangerous sentiment, and Sotomayor's comment was ammunition; albeit a flare gun, a blank, a distraction. But Sotomayor and Obama are dug in deep, and like Jackie - neither of them were chosen for their role based on skill and natural ability alone. A cool hand and inherent tact for the larger battle are the traits that made Robinson the hero of Branch Rickey's "noble experiment," and Sotomayor's unapologetic pride in her background and life-experience will find her similar success. "Take out her language and put in the word white," Gingrich said. "Put in white male where she had Latina, that person would be disqualified from the court." Firstly, I'm sure he would love nothing more than to "put in" a "white male" where there is a "Latina." In that single quote, Newt summarizes what he just doesn't get; what a person with no sense of self-awareness or awareness in the world around him could possibly understand - and why Sotomayor gets it - why her comment is justified. Because his line of thinking is a Jim Crow ideology; his definition of equal rights is treating everyone and every situation as if they're separate but the same, without regard to forward progress and small daily victories over the history of this country; a history of exclusion. The truth is that it's not the same to publicly say that a white man would be a better lawmaker than a Latina, because white men have not been excluded from positions of power in this country for 300 years. The notion that Sotomayor put forth - that racism is a real obstacle in our country, and that those who overcome it have a unique life perspective that is not only valuable, but essential to the Supreme Court - is one of the most important ideological conversations quietly stirring in the country's closet, and she should be commended for bringing it into the living room. What she said is the reason that people travel to explore different cultures; that people read about different societies and why the Jim Crow theories didn't work. Human interaction and diverse experiences are the only way to grow. A person, and therein his or her judgment, is merely a sum of their experiences, education, and choices. It is paramount then, for the leading judicial bodies of our country to be far-reaching and bold in their experiences, education and choices - and minorities are often times above the rest in these attributes. Limbaugh and Gingrich and others are flailing; reaching, appealing to America's sense of white preservation to put down Sotomayor. But it's not going to work. Because I sincerely believe that people are not as dumb as they used to be, and like it or not, guess who's coming to dinner.