We are witnessing a historic moment. For the first time in our nation’s history, the president has nominated a Black woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court.

As a Black woman attorney, I can confidently say that I have been waiting for this nomination for a very long time. Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley put it perfectly: “It meant that our qualifications had some chance of finally being judged on our success, rather than dismissed because of stereotypes.”

That Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a highly qualified, über-competent, and all-around powerhouse of a judge is no surprise. There have been so many Black woman legal scholars, judges, and advocates who have been wrongly overlooked and who deserved the opportunity to sit on the Supreme Court bench. But I’m still so grateful that this moment is happening. My son, who is 10 months old, will get to grow up in a country with a Supreme Court justice who looks like his mom and who understands that, as SisterSong executive director Monica Simpson said to me this week, “it is beyond necessary to have the intersections of our lives reflected in legal language.”

During her nomination hearings, Judge Jackson taught a master class in diplomatic poise in the face of racist and sexist dog whistles. We witnessed “the strength that Black women have to pass on to our daughters,” the author and UC Irvine law professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin said. “We are taught to walk through fire. This poise is about survival and the attempt to attain a thin slice of thriving, bit by bit.”

When Senator John Kennedy “complimented” Judge Jackson for being articulate, she responded with a cool and collected candor that told me she has been training for this exact moment her entire life. Her response was accompanied by a familiar Black woman facial expression. It is the face I saw my mom assume as she smiled and responded calmly when clerks in expensive stores looked at us with suspicion, wondering, “What could they possibly be shopping for?” She also gave a polite but I-know-what-you’re-really-insinuating smile to the parents of my white high school friends who told us they were happy that affirmative action policies exist because they allowed me to gain access to a college that their children did not get accepted into. Appearing unbothered in the face of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia is the only way to survive as a Black woman in America.

But Judge Jackson’s nomination and confirmation process is not only important for Black women like me; it is also a necessary step toward achieving the long-sought goal of representation and inclusion that our Constitution promises: “We the people.” We have more than earned this seat at the most powerful table in our country, and I, like Senator Cory Booker, am not letting anything or anyone take away my exuberant joy.





Source link