Back when I was on the receiving end of racial discrimination, it was to me not simply a personal misfortune, or even the misfortune of a race, it was a moral outrage. But not everyone who went through such an experience sees it that way.
When it comes to subjecting other people to the same treatment in a later era, some have no real problem with that. They see it as pay-back.
One of the many problems of the pay-back approach is that many of the people who most deserve retribution are no longer alive. You can take symbolic revenge on people who look like them but this removes the whole moral element. If it is all right to discriminate today against individuals who have done you no harm, then why was it wrong to discriminate against you in the past?
These are not just abstract questions. These are serious, real world questions, especially when considering someone to be given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Some judicial nominees have had racial bias attributed to them, despite their years of unwavering support of civil rights for all-- Judge Robert Bork and Judge Charles Pickering being striking examples. But the current Supreme Court nominee is the first in decades to explicitly introduce racial differences in their own words, along with the claim that their own racial or ethnic background makes them better qualified.
Attempts to claim that Judge Sonia Sotomayor's words were isolated remarks-- a slip of the tongue "taken out of context"-- have now been discredited by further information showing that she has repeatedly expressed the same ideas, in virtually the same words, at other times and in other contexts.
Moreover, her deeds-- including years of participation in group identity politics-- are perfectly consistent with her words. So too was her vote on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to summarily dismiss the appeal of white firefighters who did not get the promotions they had earned by passing a required test, because not enough minority firefighters passed to provide racial "diversity."
The Supreme Court of the United States found that appeal worth hearing, even if Judge Sotomayor did not.
The warm and genial image of Sonia Sotomayor presented on television, during President Obama's introduction and afterwards, is in sharp contrast with what attorneys who have appeared before her in court have said.