Sunday, June 07, 2009

There lives a girl everybody calls Patches

As if we needed further proof the writers at National Review Online (NRO) are one enchilada short of a combo plate, John "the human female is visually attractive to the human male at, or shortly after, puberty, and for only a few brief years thereafter" Derbyshire allows a commentor to demonstrate Extreme Stupid.

Rivalling Vanilla Ice's claim that being an upper middle-class white dude was key to understanding the urban hip-hop experience, The Derb's commentor criticizes Sonia Sotomayor's life story for being too privileged:
Derb — I’ve been hoping that someone might be bold enough to rain on the Sotomayor “compelling life story” parade.

The woman grew up in the capital of the world, went to two Ivy League schools, and was blessed by Providence with the precisely correct right race-gender two-fer for the moment.

This is a story of privilege, dammit, not adversity.

Curv3ball, writing at The Poorman, from whom we heard about this, has this to say:

For me, on the other hand, life’s been a non-stop hustle from the jump: grew up white, male and middle class in the suburbs, raised in a stable two-parent home with money for college…I marvel that I somehow managed to make it out alive and not end up just another statistic. The shit, as they say, was of the realest variety.

Despite surviving that ordeal, my ceiling is as low as my birth.

If only I could’ve caught a break, lost my pops, seen my mom scrub some toilets and moved to the projects, I’d probably be John Roberts by now. Cause that’s pretty much how kids from the projects roll.

Derbyshire goes onto rant that his story is as poignant as Sotomayor's:
Like my reader, and I'm sure a lot of other Americans, I get mighty annoyed by the unspoken implication in a lot of commentary that anyone not a member of a Protected Minority must have grown up in a twelve-bedroom lakeside mansion and been chauffered off to prep school with a silver spoon in his mouth. Judge Sotomayor was raised in public housing? So was I. Her mother was a nurse working late shifts? So was mine. When did white working poor people disappear off the face of the earth? Where are the eager listeners to their "compelling stories"?

Here's the public housing that poor, deprived Johnny knew:
The house was built in 1948 by the town of Northampton. It was a "council house" — that is, public housing let at a weekly rent. The initial rent was 19 shillings a week (about $3.80 at the prevailing exchange rate). My parents continued to rent it until 1982, by which time the weekly rent was £12.64 (though this was a reduced rent on account of their ages). I then bought the house for them under the policy instituted by Margaret Thatcher's government, of selling council houses to tenants at discount. Because my parents had been renting for over thirty years, they got the maximum fifty percent discount. I paid Northampton £8,425 for the house. At the time of writing (late 2007), houses like this in Friars Avenue sell for £150,000-160,000.

Cool. He bought a government-subsidized house. How, you know, socialist. How does that compare to Sotomayor's early housing?
Ms. Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in 1954 and grew up in the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA's) Bronxdale Houses. Bronxdale Houses, located in the Bruckner section of the Bronx, has 28 seven-story buildings with 1,496 apartments. Bronxdale is home to approximately 3,500 residents. A modern, high-tech community center opened its doors on the grounds of this development back in 2007, and offers educational and recreational activities for children and adults of the development and the surrounding community.

And how about the rest of her upbringing?
Ms. Sotomayor was raised in public housing by her mother, who worked as a nurse at a methadone clinic, to support Ms. Sotomayor and her brother Juan. At the tender age of eight, Ms. Sotomayor was diagnosed with diabetes and just one year later her father, a factory worker, died of a heart condition. She is no stranger to adversity, but she did not let these challenges deter her from reaching her goals.

So, Mr. Derbyshire, your charming English home is somehow equal to 28 7-story buildings, aka The Projects, in The Bronx?

I would write more, but I simply don't have the energy. This kind of "I was born a poor white child" kind of reverse racism has never played well, and now it looks even more ridiculous. Derbyshire, for all his obvious faults, may truly believe that he was as challenged as Sotomayor, but the facts really don't support this. Fantasize all you want about being oppressed, it's really all in your head.