Rick Sanchez, a CNN anchor, provoked a tempest in a Twitter this week when he said he'd be a rich guy if he "sold out as hispanic and worked at fox news." The commentary on the episode mostly centered on whether working at Fox News Channel constituted "selling out," with left-wing bloggers defending Sanchez and conservatives weighing in on Fox's behalf. But the real outrage in Sanchez's statement isn't what he implied about Fox News; it's the whole idea that an individual is capable of "selling out" others who happen to share his race or ethnicity.
First, a bit of disclosure: I've been a Fox News contributor since 2001. I'm usually on to discuss politics or comment on a news item, including recently giving my views on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.
While I suppose Sanchez might read the latter as proof that Fox invited me as a "token" Hispanic conservative foil to the liberal Hispanic judge, he'd be reading into it his own biases. In fact, Fox has invited me on to discuss every Supreme Court nominee since I became a regular contributor. I was one of the earliest critics of Harriet Miers (a Bush nominee) and a staunch supporter of Chief Justice John Roberts, with whom I worked in the Reagan White House, and Justice Samuel Alito. I'm there to articulate a political point of view and to share my policy expertise, not to "represent" the views of women or Hispanics on any issue.
Unless you believe that all women -- or blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, you name it -- think alike, it's absurd to assume that any one person can or should represent the views of the diverse members of his or her particular group. Of course, we don't tend to do that with whites or men for that matter.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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