This blogger skimmed the ebook “My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor, published in 2013. This is the autobiography of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor. Born in 1954, she grew up in a low-income neighborhood in the Bronx, in a close-knit family of Spanish-speaking origin.
Sotomayor’s mother’s philosophy was that whatever one is doing, one should do it well. Sotomayor internalized her advice. She became an overachiever in high school. As a Puerto Rican, she benefited from the growing popularity of “Affirmative Action” policies of the early 1970’s. She attended an Ivy League college. “The Daily Princetonian routinely published letters to the editor lamenting the presence on campus of ‘affirmative action students,’ each one of whom had presumably displaced a far more deserving affluent white male…”
In the United States, Affirmative Action, aka “diversity” is still a very controversial practice in education and employment in which the people in power, some say, out of “white liberal guilt,” are trying to salve their consciences for past discrimination of “minorities”– people who are not of white European origin. Ironically, this can result in reverse discrimination in specific sectors of society– favoring of non-white over white candidates. On the other hand, some ethnic groups comprising the minorities are statistically no longer in the minority of the entire population of candidates; they are now the majority.
Even so, people are becoming more tolerant of the growing popularity of multi-ethnic situations. Sotomayor remains very close with her younger brother, who married, had a daughter and adopted twins, “…Korean boys with Irish names, a Polish (adoptive) mother and a Puerto Rican (adoptive) father– the perfect American family.”
In college, Sotomayor had a lot of catching up to do, linguistically and culturally because she had grown up in a sheltered, limited environment. She writes, “I was enough of a realist not to fret about having missed summer camp, or travel abroad, or a casual familiarity with the language of wealth.” She had had trouble learning to write an essay because syntactically, her writing reflected her first language– Spanish, making for awkward phrasing in English. It was only as an undergraduate that she realized she needed to use the same thesis-oriented communication style she used on her high school debating team, but commit it to paper.
When she was planning her wedding, Sotomayor became a bargain-hunter, but “The prices horrified me, each piece of the fairy tale seeming a bigger rip-off than the last.” She attended Yale Law School and became an Assistant District Attorney to get litigation experience. Her dream was to become a judge. Even at Yale, there had been no program that equipped students with the specific skills and experience for becoming a judge.
When she told her mother about her appointment to her first judgeship, she had to explain that various aspects of the job would be less than exciting. There was no world travel involved. She would get to meet “interesting people,” just not the kinds she would be able to make friends with, as she had in her previous position. On top of that, she would be earning very little money, compared to what she could earn at a big-name law firm.
Read the book to learn the details of Sotomayor’s life triumphs and tragedies, and her opinions on various issues.