On Friday, Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, said in a radio interview that the nominee {for the Supreme Court} would be a “beneficiary” of affirmative action.

In making that statement, I think Senator Wicker should also be aware of the fact that justices Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett were the“beneficiaries” of white racism. In other words, if black people are being chosen for important positions because of their color, it must be understood that white individuals were also selected in the past and often in the present, at least in part, for their color.

The term “affirmative action” was coined as being applied to people of color. But the truth is that skin color has always weighed into the selection process.

The same goes for the current outrage about the “indoctrination” of children with critical race theory which offers young people insights into the historical record from the vantage point of Asians, Blacks, Native Americans, etc. The truth is that kids were always being “indoctrinated” — we were indoctrinated to believe in the importance and the rightness of America’s Manifest Doctrine that justified white settlers grabbing land from Hispanics and Natives. We were indoctrinated to see slavery as an evil but important component of the economy of the South. And by omitting many of the horrendous abuses of slavery, we were indoctrinated to believe it wasn’t such a bad system, after all. We were indoctrinated to overlook the civil rights disenfranchisement of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans at the outset of WWII.

As black people rightly contend, affirmative action isn’t over-compensating for their omission from jobs, education, housing and so forth — it’s simply creating a more level playing field. Do Republicans honestly believe former President Trump wasn’t considering race when he made his appointments? He made three picks— isn’t it odd considering the make-up of the country (36% non-white) that not one of his selections was a person of color? His decision was probably not conscious, it simply reflected the bias of the past 200 years in this country.

Of course it would have been hard for Trump to find an equivalent to Justice Clarence Thomas who owes his Yale education not to mention his appointment on the Supreme Court to so-called “affirmative action” but who most assuredly would veto (if he could) any other person of color, especially a woman, from serving alongside him. He despises the principle of affirmative action that has empowered him to rule against others who aspire to equality in this country. Is it because he doesn’t want anyone else to believe affirmative action affected his ascent to power?

No, Thomas admits that was a key factor — yet he sees it as a “handout” or more appropriately a “hand up” that doesn’t benefit black people. He believes they should struggle to achieve. Yet, in this country, and elsewhere in the globe, minorities struggle and struggle and still don’t achieve because of the cards being stacked against them, of doors being shut, of resumes being discounted.

As we’re seeing from the lists of potential black female judges under consideration for the Supreme Court, there’s no shortage of qualified individuals, so why shouldn’t one of them be chosen? Why shouldn’t we get the opportunity to see what justice looks like from their perspective without immediately detracting who they are and why they were chosen?

Fortunately with President Biden at the helm, it looks like we will soon have this opportunity.



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