Stumped by NRO’s Sotomayor Cover? Try Being More Racist.

By Channing Kennedy Jun 08, 2009

By now you’ve seen this hum-dinger of a cover that the National Review thought was a good idea (or maybe a so-bad-it’s-good idea, judging by their ready-to-go defense of it). Neil Sinhababu of Donkeylicious does an admirable job of putting himself in the magazine’s shoes and, erm, enlightens the rest of us. Is it a case of all brown people looking alike? Neil says:

Something like that is certainly in there, but the way I see the joke actually depends on incongruities between the stereotypes of the nonwhite ethnicities involved. The Buddha-like pose and Asian features are tied to lofty pretensions of sagelike wisdom. And what sort of person is it who’s pretending to be some kind of sage? A Hispanic woman! As if. The in-joke in this cover is for people who have already internalized a stereotype of Hispanic women as hotheaded and not that bright. Put one of them in the Buddha suit, and if you’ve absorbed the right racist stereotypes, the incongruity is hilarious.