Neomi Rao is President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 12th District of Columbia Circuit. Ideally, we should have been positive about this. At the sight of it, we are getting a person of color, an immigrant from India, and most important of all, a woman. A woman who seeks to replace Kavanaugh, a man alleged of sexual assault and misconduct. What could be better? But is she really the federal judgeship we seek? Or is our goal to have a judgeship that embodies equality, justice and dignity?
“And if she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice” – Neomi Rao.
With picks boasting opinions like these, the highest authority of the country is relegating from its commitment to equality by promoting people with such toxic notions of victim blaming. An attempt to disregard women and abuse against women is what this looks like. This implication, that every assault victim in a state of inebriation is responsible, is damaging to the dignity, as well as adding to the trauma of survivors. Dare I say, it adds to rape culture instead of dismantling it. A far cry from the ethos of a responsible society and an able government.
She described race as a “hot, money-making issue,” affirmative action as the “anointed dragon of liberal excess,” welfare as being for “for the indigent and lazy,” and LGBTQ issues as part of “trendy” political movements.
Unfortunately, her internalized misogyny is not the only problematic thing she has expressed. Credited to her are a string of problematic statements that undermine racism, and enable classism. She described race as a “hot, money-making issue,” affirmative action as the “anointed dragon of liberal excess,” welfare as being for “for the indigent and lazy,” and LGBTQ issues as part of “trendy” political movements.
In a piece for The Washington Times denouncing “multiculturalists” on her university campus, Rao wrote that, “underneath their touchy-feely talk of tolerance, they seek to undermine American culture.” Additionally, she has written:
“They argue that culture, society and politics have been defined — and presumably defiled — by white, male heterosexuals hostile to their way of life. For example, homosexuals want to redefine marriage and parenthood; feminists in women’s studies programs want to replace so-called male rationality with more sensitive responses common to woman. It may be kinder and gentler, but can you build a bridge with it?”
Her casual racist slurs embolden the perpetrators as she climbs the professional ladder of success. The glorification of ethnic supremacy is evident when she sees tolerance as a way to undermine “American Culture”. Moreover, such beliefs ignore the fact that the U.S. has the largest number of global diaspora members of any country in the world. Their diasporic roots are a quintessential part of the country’s narrative. Therefore, to see someone disengage from tolerance in this manner is a blot on the country’s rich and diverse social fabric.
Furthermore, her comments are hostile to survivors and disregard the LGBTQ movement. Her supremacist thoughts do not sit well with me. They seem to encourage xenophobia when she looks to override tolerance. Her views on feminism are in poor taste and impede the progress of feminist discourse. Though these conservative views may well be in line with conservative Republican ideology, such archaic notions don’t befit a modern nation.
At this point, it is also essential to recognize the undercurrent of misogyny in Trump’s politics. His penchant to put politics above basic social values is demeaning, to say the least. With Kavanaugh, he had served a reminder of how political inclinations hijacked moral and ethical values in his power narratives. Seeing Rao’s name as a probable reaffirms that politics triumph all in our current presidential office. The only message for women across the country here is the blatant disdain for their dignity. This line of policy must be condemned for a more progressive society across political lines.
Considering her position is that of a stepping stone to the Supreme Court of America, a person with a track record of racially-charged and provocative statements must not be encouraged. Conclusively, it would be unfair to view this as a political appointment only, and disregard her past words– much of which has been made in the public eye.