Just saw the list of recipients for the 2009 Medal of Freedom.
One of the first thoughts I had upon reading it was, somewhere in America, there are people frothing at the mouth because only three out of sixteen are straight white men. (And of those three, one is physically disabled and one is a pillar of liberal American politics. I don’t imagine the people frothing think much of either of those guys.)
[Edited to add: I should have made it clearer in the first instance that the people I imagine are frothing at the mouth are not the entirety of conservatives. I’m talking about the birthers, the Sarah Palin worshippers, the Rush Limbaugh goons and the Freepers, and the rest of the wingnutty base. I honestly think it’s a shame that they have become the vocal face of American conservatism, because they’re doing their best to turn it into the party of racist reactionaries, and that’s an opposition I simply cannot respect.]
Six are women. Three are black. Two are Hispanic. One is Native American. One is Bangladeshi. One is Jewish (at least one — I didn’t check religion). Two are open gays. There are foreigners and the aforementioned disabled guy. Out of sixteen, only Jack Kemp belongs to the core Republican demographic.
And you know what? It warms the cockles of my heart to know that conservative bloggers are probably already bitching about this “affirmative action” list. I want them to be unhappy, because the list they would be happy with is not a list I want to see.
(Not actually true. What I really want is for even conservative bloggers to celebrate diversity. That would be far better than the ongoing fight with people who think the only “real Americans” are the straight white Christian ones. But until we have that, I’ll enjoy this.)
I’d be curious to know how the ratios compare to Bush’s picks, but honestly, I’m too lazy to sort through demographic info for eighty-one more people. At a glance, it looks more white male to me — but it’s hard to tell from just names, and I’m inclined to assume that interpretation anyway, so my glance is admittedly not a good basis for evaluation. Even if Obama’s choices over the next few years aren’t more diverse, people are going to view them that way, because the guy making those choices is black, and so of course he’s probably rewarding all kinds of undeserving minorities while ignoring the achievements of the Great White Male. Right?
I’d rather focus on the good. Like, now I’m really interested to read more about and by Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow. He sounds awesome — and I’m not just saying that because he’s an anthropologist. <g>