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Bias?

Among the many outrages of Donald Trump during the primary season leading up to the 2016 election was his assertion that a Federal Judge should recuse himself from overseeing the Trump University lawsuit because his Mexican American heritage would automatically make him biased against Trump (who, recall, had been famously and publicly insulting toward Mexicans as part of his anti-immigration harangue).  My friend and occasional correspondent on cultural and political issues, Ira Goldman, asked me what I thought of the whole thing.  This — only partly tongue-in-cheek — was my answer to him.

10 June 2016

Donald Trump’s claim that judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ethnic background make him incapable of fairly adjudging the Trump University suit because of Trump’s own insulting assertions about Mexico and Mexicans is, of course, offensive on many levels.

But I find the vehemence with which his claims are denounced by the ‘liberal’ establishment a bit disingenuous.  After all, isn’t what Trump is saying entirely consistent with their own official philosophy regarding race and ethnicity?

Isn’t it their policy that African Americans can only legitimately be represented or judged by other African Americans, or Hispanics by other Hispanics, or women by other women, because understanding, empathy, and fairness across those boundaries is impossible? Isn’t it their policy that “multiculturalism” is important precisely because one’s world-view is entirely and immutably formed by one’s ethnic and gender background? Isn’t it their policy that racial and ethnic and gender bias is such a fundamental component of human nature that it does and must overwhelm everything else?

Under the terms of the official ‘liberal’ catechism, would it not be impossible for such a judge to avoid being biased against Trump?

© Copyright 2016, Augustus P. Lowell

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