Editor's note: Laura Gómez is professor of law and American studies at the University of New Mexico. Gómez, who has a Ph.D. in sociology and a law degree from Stanford University, is the author of "Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race."
By Laura E. Gómez
Special to CNN
(CNN) - It is likely that Judge Sotomayor will face some questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week about her 2001 "wise Latina" remark.
In a speech at a Berkeley conference on Hispanic judges, Sotomayor said, "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."
Her comment has been lampooned on the cover of the National Review, where cartoonists apparently could not quite fathom a wise Latina judge, choosing to portray Sotomayor as a Buddha with Asian features. It has caused Rush Limbaugh and others to label her a "racist," and it has caused even liberals to bristle.
I was a speaker at the conference Sotomayor's speech kicked off, and I would like to put her comment in context.