Community is where we ALL thrive.
I chose to sit in front of the sofa with the TV on Sunday morning, watching the news because somehow, I missed knowing that my sister in Massachusetts got two feet of snow overnight! I watched TV out of guilt and trying to catch up with the world.
Inquiring minds want to know, right?
Well, something or the other is going on with Spotify and all the political pundits had so much to say against the yet-nominated-by-President-Joe-Biden-“Black“-Woman-Supreme-Court-Justice.
Sigh!!! Did not miss a thing after all!
Facts: Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, of the 115 Supreme Court justices in US history, all but 7 have been white men.
108 have been “white” and “male”!!!
White = Race; Men = Gender.
But when any other race and gender combination is mentioned, all hell breaks loose on these here Internets and news stations!!!!
5 women and 2 Black men is the sum total of diversity on the bench. Thank God for Justice Sonia Sotomayor who is the third woman, first woman of color, first Hispanic, and first Latina member of the Court. At least she checks a couple of boxes!!!!
There have been 7 Jewish Supreme Court Justices and two of them have been women: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kegan. They both check 3 boxes!
And we want to make a fuss about a Black woman?
Now we bring up quota systems and affirmative action as if any of the candidates being speculated upon are not complete bad asses in their own right.
In 1981, in my lifetime, when then President Ronald Regan announced he would nominate “the first woman” to the Supreme Court, no one expected that he would nominate a Black, Indigenous, Asian or Hispanic woman to the bench. Everyone understood that “the first woman” clearly meant he would nominate a white woman and he did – Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Was that Affirmative Action? I guess it is ok when it is to benefit a white woman.
Now, let me tell you what I want…
Next time an opening comes up for a Supreme Court Justice, I want an openly Trans, Indigenous and Asian multilingual who went to a community college, a not-so-highly-rated-Law-School, comes from Hawaii (a state that has never had representation on the Supreme Court bench), was born a citizen of Japan (the 6 foreign born justices were born in Europe with one born in Turkey to missionary parents), is married to a naturalized citizen from Africa, and is a practicing Buddhist. There may have been one atheist Justice, but over 90 of them have been Protestant Christians, the rest Catholic, or Jewish. By the way, this Justice that I want on the bench uses “they/them” for pronouns and is disabled as well.
Poor soul, wherever that person is – way too many -isms on one soul. But it does show you how much is missing on the Supreme Court. Personal lived experience matters – not just Ivy League educations.
There you have it.
Listen, I am at that stage in this work, where I am getting exhausted. That is why the news bores me. Remember after George Floyd, everyone was “woke,” and wanted to do the right thing? “Racism” supposedly became public enemy #1 and we were all going to work together to eradicate it. Right?
Well, where is the passion? Where is the commitment? Where is the ongoing fight for an equitable world where our higher values play out?
All of a sudden, everyone is tired about these issued just because we are tired of covid (yes, valid!) and, daily, we are not seeing news reports of police officers killing Black men in broad daylight with a video to support said murder!!!
I feel that I am yelling, and no one is listening. By the way, O, so many of us are yelling and all that is echoed back to us is a deafening silence.
The real question today is: Are you going to pierce that silence with your voice to tell those who listen to you, “Hell yeah, I already know that the next Supreme Court nominee is going to be a bad ass Black woman who will be overqualified for the job, so friends and family, listen up, call your Senators, call your congressperson, we want this nomination to happen, pronto!!!!!”
Friends, why is this important?
Because Representation Matters!!!!!
This is not just about little Black girls seeing a woman that looks like them sitting on the highest court of the land. It is about us creating a culture where we immediately see that there is a gap and there is value in closing that gap. Gaps mean that some groups of people are not properly represented.
For us to call ourselves the land of the free, representation must be freely given, and space must be made for our voices to be freely heard.
We are not the opposition just because our skin color differs. We do not need our skin to be used to be a determinant of our intelligence, or ability to do a job.
The fact remains that the emotional and mental agility, cultural competency, and flexibility required to be an accomplished intelligent Black woman in America today means that this person is going to have a perspective that will only enhance the bench and ultimately, the structure and integrity of this country.
It is not a handout. It is not affirmative action, and it is not racial bias.
We have relapsed (temporarily, I promise you) from the performative layer of racism in response to the morbid images of racism on TV. It was on everyone’s radar and now ….. crickets…. The need has not gone away. It is just laying low for the moment, running undetected like a strong undercurrent. And it will come up again.
We must not forget that we all need to do the heavy lifting of understanding the role we play in upholding this racist culture. When we do not speak up, and we let the louder bullies take the microphone and shame us for wanting equity and just representation, then, we have upheld this culture that allows for whiteness to determine its character.
Whiteness is the antithesis of community. Community is where we ALL thrive. We can all thrive because we get to hear and consider all voices. Anything less than that is not community.
What are your thoughts about this? Talk to me, friends!