“I am the one who would save. I sowed diamonds in my backyard. My bowels delivered uranium and the filings from my fingernails are semi-precious jewels.” — “Ego Tripping” by Nikki Giovanni
On Thursday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson graced the U.S. Senate with her presence and became the first Black woman to sit on the highest court of the land of the free. Today, we ought to rejoice and sing amongst her praise as she will soon sit on the highest court of the United States. America, I must say the following: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is indeed the blueprint. Soon to be Justice Kentaji Brown Jackson is the embodiment of every Black woman and young girl who was once told no, but found a way to either make their own table or didn’t ask to sit at a table that was not their own.
History is defined as a catalyst of chronological events that provide a domino effect for generations yet to come. We are living amongst the pages that will one day be written in textbooks that will be found in Social Studies classrooms and will indeed impact young Black women. As a young Black woman, this moment as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is appointed to the United States of America Supreme Court reminds not only myself but others around me that the power is in the palm of our hands and rooted in our voice. This moment will not be the last moment, where a Black woman walks into a space that was never built for her, and walks in with a powerful stride, humbleness, and goals. This is indeed the reason why Black women will not stop trying to make their dreams a reality. As Nikki Giovanni once wrote in her 1972 poem “Ego Tripping (There May Be a Reason Why),” “I am the one who would save. I sowed diamonds in my backyard.” Our diamonds will continue to be the brightest and strongest.
A Historic Speech
On the lawn of the White House Friday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said the words, “In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
In this state of America, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s testimony of “I have a dream” is echoing amongst these lands. This dream of Black America taking back what is so rightfully ours does not seem too far fetched. Today we ought to conquer what scares us. We ought to perfect our craft. We ought to let our voice and our testimony be heard. We ought to live and not just survive. We will continue to rejoice in the lands of America as these continuous cycles of winning overcome us all. Let the victory of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson be the vessel that tells you to walk the streets with both your enemies and victors to conquer the dream that seemed too far gone.
America’s Worst Fear
Now I must say, our enemies show up in many different forms. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for example, used his time during Jackson’s confirmation hearing to quiz the judge on this: “Critical race theory frames all of society as a fundamental and intractable battle between the races. It views every conflict as a racial conflict— do you think that’s an accurate way of viewing society in the world we live in?”
To be overqualified as a Black American is America’s worst fear.
That’s why Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson eloquently answered his inane question. Well, Senator Cruz, I would be happy to answer your question on behalf of the Black American populace who watched you and your fellow senators degrade Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s intellect.
Raised Voting Stakes
Last fall, Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon Jr. noted that the Republican Party is growing increasingly radical, raising the stakes for the country in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Even as the United States becomes more racially diverse, white Americans remain about 70 percent of voters overall and make up an even larger bloc of white non-college educated white voters (who, in 2016, voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump).
According to Brookings Institute, in the second quarter of 2020, white households—who account for 60 percent of the U.S. population—held 84 percent of total household wealth in the U.S. Comparatively, Black households—who account for 13.4 percent of the U.S. population—held just 4 percent of total household wealth.
According to another Brookings Institute article, in predominantly minority schools, which most students of color attend, schools are large on average, class sizes are 15 percent larger overall; curriculum offerings and materials are lower in quality; and teachers are much less qualified in terms of levels of education, certification, and training in the fields they teach.
A Question for Cruz
Senator Cruz, based on your flawed definition of critical race theory, sadly, America remains a fault line of Black and white. Is division how you see the United States of America, Senator? We strive for equality but due to the unequal applications of our founding fathers we have always been a couple steps behind the majority. The question you should be asking yourself is this: Why would I insult a Black woman of such high stature by asking such flawed questions that do not pertain to her ability to serve as our next Supreme Court justice?
The question now becomes, what’s next? Black Americans have been used as the catalyst for centuries, stripped of our intellect, courageousness, stature, and pride. Today and for the days yet to come, we shall say we will still rise. We will continue to strive for victory in a country that never wanted our presence.
America, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is just the beginning. We are here to say that we are not done yet.