30 May 2009

Sonia Sotomayor on Empathy

For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir—rice, beans and pork—that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events. My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla, [sic]—pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo—pigs' feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs' tongue and ears. I bet the Mexican-Americans in this room are thinking that Puerto Ricans have unusual food tastes. Some of us, like me, do. Part of my Latina identity is the sound of merengue at all our family parties and the heart wrenching Spanish love songs that we enjoy. It is the memory of Saturday afternoon at the movies with my aunt and cousins watching Cantinflas, who is not Puerto Rican, but who was an icon Spanish comedian on par with Abbot [sic] and Costello of my generation. My Latina soul was nourished as I visited and played at my grandmother's house with my cousins and extended family. They were my friends as I grew up. Being a Latina child was watching the adults playing dominos on Saturday night and us kids playing lotería, bingo, with my grandmother calling out the numbers which we marked on our cards with chick peas.

(Sonia Sotomayor, "A Latina Judge's Voice," Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 13 [2002]: 87-93, at 88)

Note from KBJ: Does Judge Sotomayor have empathy for animals? Apparently not. Does she have empathy for fetuses? Does she have empathy for white males? What good is empathy if it's selective?