What we talk about when we don’t talk about race

January 15th, 2007 → 11:35 am @ // 4 Comments

Eliot Spitzer — and for those of you not in the New York region who also have had your heads buring in the sand, he’s the Empire State’s new governor — made his first judicial appointment yesterday, nominating Theodore T. Jones to the Court of Appeals. The Times‘s headline on the story reads, “Spitzer Selects a Black Jurist for the Top Court.” Jones is also ID’d in the first sentence as a “black judge,” and the story notes that “Spitzer’s predecessor, George E. Pataki” left office with the Court of Appeals absent a black member for the first time in more than two decades.

It would seem safe to assume that when considering his options, Spitzer gave some thought to Jones’s race…right? Not according to the governor, who said — with a straight face — that “race, gender did not play a role in my selection process” and that he only considered “who would be the best jurist.” He also said he was glad the state’s government reflected “the diversity of our society,” which it most definitely does not, unless whites are counted differently from everyone else…but that’s a whole other story.

Twenty-nine** years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr…and we still can’t talk openly and honestly about race.

(The most unintentionally humorous comment on Jones’s appointment came via the Times, who characterized embattled Republican State Senate Joseph Bruno’s comments about Jones as being “very affirmative.” Indeed.*)

*No, I am not saying Jones is not fully worthy. I know absolutely nothing about the state’s judges.

** Actually, 39. I ain’t so good at math.


Post Categories: New York Times & Race in america

4 Comments → “What we talk about when we don’t talk about race”


  1. deversm

    10 years ago

    Even with one of the best performances ever at the QB position in SuperBowl history, people still wonder: “How long has Doug Williams been a black quarterback?”

    Reply

  2. Daniel W. Drezner

    10 years ago

    Yes, I know I have a strange sense of humor…

    It’s probably wrong that this year, in thinking about Martin Luther King Day, I can’t stop thinking about the first three minutes of this clip from Blazing Saddles: Or maybe it’s because, as Seth Mnookin points out, “[It’s] twenty-nine years……

    Reply

  3. lonborgski

    10 years ago

    Seth:
    You’ve got Dan Drezner and Jacob T. Levy commenting on your posts; wow, if you hadn’t been an addict in the 90’s you might have Leon Weiseltier’s job by now.

    Reply

  4. ygbluig

    10 years ago

    Thirty-nine years after the assassination of Martin Luther King…we still can’t do basic mathematics. (cough cough)

    Touche — it’s fixed. And to think I used to pride myself on my math skills.
    — Seth

    Reply

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