Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Sons And Daughters Of The Elite

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson invoked a great passive-aggressive moment on Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into her nomination to replace Justice Breyer on the USA Supreme Court. Questioned about the remarks made during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings by two Trump-nominate judges, Jackson stated "I do agree with both Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Barrett on this issue,  Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman's pregnancy."

Nonetheless, there was more controversy prompted by the interrogation (first 17:09 of the video below) of Judge Jackson upon Texas senator Ted Cruz 

interrogating Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson about critical race theory.

The Texas senator first took issue with references made to Nikole Jannah-Jones during a speech Jackson gave at the University of Michigan on MLK Day in 2020. Hannah-Jones wrote The 1619 Project, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

"It is not something that I've studied. It doesn't come up in my work," Jackson said about The 1619 Project. "I was mentioning it because it was, at least at that time, something that was talked about and well-known to the students that I was speaking to at the law school."

Cruz then moved on to discussing critical race theory, an academic framework that examines how race and racism function in various institutions. Republicans have decried critical race theory, passing laws to ban the theory from schools.

Jackson repeatedly emphasized that she has never studied critical race theory and that it doesn't apply to her work as a judge.

"It wouldn't be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court," Jackson said.

Democrats were repulsed by Cruz's line of questioning and

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday also attempted to tie Jackson to critical race theory. The committee posted a GIF depicting Jackson with her initials "KBJ" being crossed out and replaced with the initials "CRT," meaning critical race theory.

The committee was also criticized for the post, with many decrying it as "racist."

"Critical Race Theory is being used as a slur against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson," Kentucky's Charles Booker wrote on Twitter. "For some politicians, it's the new way to say the N-word. It's not right, and this Senate confirmation is too important. The American people deserve better."

Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell tweeted at the committee, "Why do you hate black people?"

This was sound and fury signifying nothing- or perhaps everything  As Cruz pointed out, Jackson is a member of the Board of Trustees of Georgetown Day School, which the Senator attempted to prove teaches critical race theory. In roughly 80 seconds more telling than is obvious, the Judge commented (at 10:23)

Georgetown Day School has a special history that I think is important to understand when you consider my service on that Board. The school was founded in 1945 in Washington, D.C. at a time in which by law there was racial segregation in this community. Black students were not allowed in the public schools, to go to school with white students. 

Georgetown Day School is a private school that was created when three white families- Jewish families- got together with three black families and said that despite the fact that the law requires us to separate, despite the fact that the law is set up to make sure that black children are not treated the same as everyone else, we are going to form a private school so that our children can go to school together.

The idea of equality- justice- is at the core of the Georgetown Day School mission and it's a private school that every parent who joins the community does so willingly with an understanding that they are joining a community that is designed to make sure that every child is valued. Every child is treated as having an inherent worth and none are discriminated against because of race...


 Judge Jackson notes that no child should be discriminated against because of race, and establishing in 1945 a school dedicated to that notion was both laudatory, especially so because it probably was controversial.

Nonetheless, it is now 77 years later, 68 years after Topeka v. Board of Education, decades after the nation understood that schools should not be racially segregated. Yet, they still are segregated, in some locales more than in the past.

This is not primarily because of racism or racial discrimination. Instead, schools are separated by race primarily because of housing patterns fostered by economic class distinctions- and the proliferation of private schools, of which (as Jackson pointed out) Georgetown Day School is one.

The class divide in the USA is large and getting larger. "None are discriminated against because of race" at the school, the nominee remarked. 

And so they are not. But the annual tuition at the prestigious school runs from $39,896 to $46,682. It is gratifying that there are black families who can afford that. However, there are more black families who cannot, proportionately even more than of white families who cannot.  

Disturbingly, Judge Jackson, an extremely impressive and well-qualified nominee worthy of Senate approval, is proud to be intimately associated with an institution closed off not only to the poor of all races but to the vast majority of the middle class and working-class of all races.

This is not to suggest that Ted Cruz, evincing a loathing of Georgetown Day School because of its alleged approach to teaching American history, deserves any credit. He'd love to derail approval of a nominee proud of the school's social justice mission, yet failed to notice that the "children (who) can go to school together" at a school "designed to make sure that every child is valued" excludes all but the elite.

It's a reminder that when a Republican oozes sympathy toward, or empathy for, everyday Americans or the working-class, he or she probably is working a con.  But it's a reminder also that, notwithstanding the passion for racial justice among most Democrats, their passion for economic justice, though greater than among Republicans, is fairly meager- except insofar as it advances racial justice.

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