Must skin tone replace values?

I AM AN Asian American and a life-long Democrat, who has been rudely hurt by the recent racist attacks on Americans of Asian descent. I am disappointed, however, by Asian American Senators Tammy Duckworth’s and Mazie Hirono’s cynical use of the tragic incidents to advance their own careers. They have announced that they would boycott the Senate confirmation of any White House nominee for Cabinet positions unless he or she is an Asian American! Mediocre lawmakers as they are, they obviously are playing their Asian American card to secure plum jobs in the administration.

I am already put off by President Biden’s overuse of the skin tone and gender criteria to fill positions in his administration. I had hoped that progressive credentials and vision would be his main hiring criteria, while not, of course, making his administration a white monochrome.

I credit the administration for its 1.9 trillion measure that would attend to the needs of folks in the middle and lower-middle classes. But I am disappointed to see the White House being honeycombed with run-of-the bureaucrats with status quo and Cold War mentality.

I remember that a reporter had asked retired Justice Thurgood Marshall what his advice would be to President George H.W. Bush in appointing his replacement on the Supreme Court bench.

“Don’t hire the wrong nigger!” the black jurist admonished Bush.

It looked like Papa Bush was thumping his nose at Marshall, a progressive icon, when he nominated the black Clarence Thomas, one of the court’s most right-wing member ever, to the gifted and visionary black jurist!

It’s strange that the United States is the only democracy that is still hung up on skin color, gender and sexual orientation in politics and government, discounting competence, ideas and insights.

Mustafa Malik, an international affairs commentator in Washington, is the host of this blog.

Mustafa Malik
Mustafa Malik, the host and editor of the blog Community, worked three decades as an American journalist and as a researcher for U.S. think tanks. He wrote continually for major U.S. and overseas newspapers and journals. He also conducted fieldwork in Western Europe and the Middle East on U.S. foreign policy options, "crisis of liberalism" and Islamic movements.

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