Frank Rice has a good piece on the Sotomayor nomination today, and how it the process highlights how difference is threatening to some people, even though difference is becoming more normative. See also Stewart and Colbert.
Unfortunately, while Rich focuses on Latino/a aspects, I think he misses the larger issue of how we all fear difference. For example, this type of fear applies to Muslims, but also emanates from Muslims. Hopefully, the recent experiences with Pres. Obama and Sotomayor help highlight how we fear difference and how we can overcome it.