Prof blasts 'racist' media for calling Sotomayor 'passionate'

Celine Ryan
California Senior Campus Correspondent

  • A UPenn professor called out the mainstream media for referring to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as "passionate," declaring that the term is actually a way of depicting women of color as "overly emotional and biased."
  • Dr. Nelson Flores was responding to praise Sotomayor has received from media outlets for her dissenting opinion in the recent travel ban ruling, arguing that white reporters were "projecting their own insecurities onto her."
  • A University of Pennsylvania professor claims that referring to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as “passionate” is actually racist in nature and meant to delegitimize her.

    Dr. Nelson Flores, an Assistant Professor in Educational Linguistics at University of Pennsylvania and a blogger on the topics of “language and race in education,” made the claim in a tweet Tuesday night responding to media coverage of Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion in the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding President Trump’s travel ban.

    "When women of color are called ‘passionate’ this is not a compliment. It is a way of depicting them as overly emotional and biased."   

    Major media outlets praised Sotomayor as “sharp,” “scathing,” and “passionate” for her dissent, but Flores argues that this language is not a compliment, or even an accurate description of Sotomayor’s actions, and that it is actually a reflection of endemic racism in American media.

    [RELATED: Prof claims ‘civility’ is a euphemism for ‘white supremacy’]

    “Media: It is important to be civil as we disgree [sic] with each other. Sonia Sotomayor: Here are facts that show Trump’s travel ban is racist. Media: Wow! Sotomayor is really lashing out at Trump. She is so passionate!”

    The academic explains that “when women of color are called ‘passionate’ this is not a compliment.” Rather, he says, “It is a way of depicting them as overly emotional and biased.”

    Nelson claims that the reason the mainstream media is describing Sotomayor as “passionate” is simply because “explicit discussions of racism make the primarily white reporters covering the story uncomfortable.”

    “She came with the receipts and they are projecting their own insecurities onto her,” he added.

    Campus Reform reached out to Flores for comment and did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan





    Celine Ryan

    Celine Ryan

    California Senior Campus Correspondent

    Celine Ryan is a California Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Celine is a sophomore at Cuesta College, where she serves as president of Young Americans for Liberty.

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