Who Are You Calling A Wise Latina Woman? Sonia Sotomayor had to defend a statement where she labeled herself a "wise Latina woman" during her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. Commentator Anjanette Delgado doesn't understand why those three words have earned so much protracted discussion.
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Who Are You Calling A Wise Latina Woman?

Anjanette Delgado is a wise Latina woman. Her first sitcom Great in Bed was bought and is set to be produced by HBO Latin America. Her novel is The Heartbreak Pill. Courtesy of Anjanette Delgado hide caption

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Courtesy of Anjanette Delgado

I rubbed my eyes, focusing on the big, back-lit numbers on the clock display: it was 3 a.m., and the figurative red phone ringing inside the White House of my brain had woken me with three words: "Wise Latina Woman."

After months of trying to figure out the right name for my new blog, it seemed four days of hearings on cable television had done more to inspire my subconscious than entire evenings spent googling phrases such as "best blog titles ever."

As I wondered if the now infamous phrase would transcend, becoming broad enough for a good blog name, I had to admit that a judge who says, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," is setting herself up to have to do at least some explaining.

Still, at this point Congress has hashed out every possible implication of every available Sotomayor statement in excruciating detail, and support for the nominee seems to continue intact, with many of her supporters — even within Congress itself — coming from both sides of the aisle.

Take my friend, Cristina, for example. Cristina is a longtime Republican, yet she isn't bothered by Sotomayor's "wise Latina" statement and she can't understand why this short statement merits so much prolonged discussion.

My very liberal friend Johanna almost shouted her answer: "Why do you think they're beating up on a woman with an impeccable record over a 17-year career? You know why? Because she got uppity, and they want to put her in her place!"

I hung up, understanding that by "they" she meant men, and suddenly realizing what the senators hadn't.

Women supporting Sotomayor believe the comment has no bearing on Sotomayor's judicial ethics. They've interpreted the phrase "wise Latina woman" to be about more than ethnicity, gender and the quality of our life experiences. To them, "wise Latina woman" is an attitude found in women of all backgrounds. It's defiance in the face of adversity. Just ask Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, to name two recent examples.

"Wise Latina woman" is a matriarchal credo, maybe obvious to minorities and the poor of the world only because when the going gets tough, it's often women who get themselves — and everyone around them — going. It's about resilience, accomplishment and daily hardships overcome. Women understand this message. How could we not? It's the story of our mothers.

And so, I've decided not to be afraid to say that I've been known to act like a wise Latina woman once in a while. In fact, I know quite a few wise Latina women. Some called Carmen, others Blanche, and others are named Joe, like my friend's dad, who raised four girls by himself on a handyman's salary, and who is a wise Latina woman if I ever saw one because, as I said before, it's an attitude.

I feel good about my 3 a.m. naming of my blog. That my search of the phrase "wise Latina woman" had just turned up over 60,000 results on every one of the major search engines when coupled with the verb "empower" was just the caramel on my Spanish flan.