THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2022
No disservice left behind: Judge Jackson has been universally acclaimed by the people who know her.
This seems to date to her high school days—even to junior high school.
Soon after her nomination by President Biden, the Washington Post published an extensive biographical profile of the nominee. The profile included such content as this, from her years growing up in Miami:
FISHER ET AL (2/25/22): She was a star from junior high school on. Chosen as “mayor” of Palmetto Junior High, just south of Miami, and elected class president of Palmetto High three times, Jackson was voted “most likely to succeed” and “most talented,” according to her high school yearbook...
The keys, according to those who knew her well, were confidence, discipline and a clarion sense of direction seeded and nurtured by her parents.
She also "traveled the high school debate circuit and won a rack of prizes," the Post reporters noted. In part, she stood out for her personality, but also for the aforementioned talents:
FISHER ET AL: People listened because Jackson “had this beaming, energetic, friendly personality and natural charisma,” said Stephen Rosenthal, a close friend who went to school with her from junior high through law school.
At Palmetto and around South Florida, Jackson became “like a living legend in the speech and debate community,” said Rosenthal, now a lawyer in Miami. Friends still recall her soaring renditions of scenes from the plays “Agnes of God” and “Fools.”
“She would do these dramatic interpretations, and you would see the judges and the people in the audience literally cry,” said Persily, now a professor at Stanford Law School. “Then she’d do a humorous interpretation and they’d be laughing. She was just … an incredibly polished speaker.”
Jackson was a standout from these early years on. We add one additional point.
We add a fact which speaks well about all concerned. The young Judge Jackson was persistently hailed and acclaimed by schoolmates who were largely "white:"
FISHER ET AL: In the family’s modest suburban house, Johnny and Ellery kept on their coffee table a book about racism in America, “Faces At the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism,” by Derrick Bell, the first Black professor to win tenure at Harvard Law School. Jackson would stare at the book’s cover, struggling “to reconcile the image of the person, who seemed to be smiling, with the depressing message that the title and subtitle conveyed,” she later recalled.
She and her father spoke often about what was required to both earn that smile and find your way to the top. “As a dark-skinned black girl who was often the only person of color in my class, club, or social environment, my parents knew that it was essential that I develop a sense of my own self-worth that was in no way dependent on what others thought about my abilities,” Jackson said.
At Palmetto High, Jackson encountered an array of students—almost three-fourths White, 16 percent Black and 11 percent Hispanic—but most did not mix much outside their own groups, according to Jackson and several of her friends.
Jackson, though, waded into activities that were heavily dominated by White students. She sang, debated and got involved in theater, even after a drama teacher told her she would not get a role in a play about a White family because she was Black.
Her high school was almost three-fourths white. She was elected class president three times. She was also voted most talented and most likely to succeed.
These facts seem to speak extremely well of everyone involved. They seem to speak well of Jackson's parents, and of Jackson herself.
These facts also seem to speak well of Jackson's high school classmates.
Jackson's parents had attended schools which were segregated by law. Their daughter was attending school in a suburban environment which was heavily "white," but she was being hailed by her teenaged classmates as the most outstanding among them.
It sounds like Jackson's talents, and her personality, were pretty hard to miss. It's still worth noting the fact that her classmates were willing to notice her talents and her personality and openly hail her for them.
In a slightly different world, this could almost be seen as a marker of social progress. That said, we live in a heavily tribalized world, within a tribe which sometimes seems to prefer to see the glass 99 percent empty as opposed to increasingly full.
Within our heavily novelized tribe, it sometimes seems that we prefer to pretend that it's still 1955 and that virtually nothing has changed. We prefer to blow past those Palmetto High kids as we seek to scare and mislead current children increasingly well.
So it was, a propagandist might say, in this part of this recent column by Charles Blow. In it. Blow explains why it's so great that Judge Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court had been confirmed by the Senate:
BLOW (4/9/22): So many Black girls needed this moment, needed this win, and so many of them could benefit from receiving a letter, from Booker, telling them what he’d told Jackson: You will make your moments on your own merits, but the support and encouragement you receive will flow from your folks. We will have your back.
In fairness, Blow was simply reciting script from our sorry tribe's crabbed Storyline. Black girls (somehow) needed this win, he said. Also, the support they will receive in the future will be coming from their own kind.
Separation tomorrow, separation forever! So the conceptual pendulum has swung within our sorry failed tribe.
In fairness to Blow, he was simply reciting script. Within our sorry, failing tribe, we were expected to treat Judge Jackson's nomination as historic in some essential sense.
We were supposed to pretend that the nation's good, decent "black girls" would finally get to see someone "who looks like them" achieve a triumph for once. We were supposed to pretend that the nation's black girls had never before seen such a thing. In the process, our pitiful, sorry, failing tribe was prepared to blow past this:
Other high-profile wins:
The current vice president of the United States is, in fact, a black woman. (We refer to Kamala Harris.)
Our current ambassador to the United Nation is the redoubtable Linda Thomas-Greenfield. She too is a black woman.
Under President Obama, Loretta Lynch—she's a black woman—served as Attorney General of the United States.
Under President George W. Bush, a black woman served as National Security Adviser (2001-2005), then as Secretary of State (2005-2009). The black woman in question was Condoleezza Rice, each time.
Black girls had never seen a Supreme Court win, but they had seen quite few others. We'll skoip past Oprah and Gwen Ifill and quite a few others.
No black woman had ever served on the Supreme Court, but very few people do. (It's a nine-member body with lifetime appointments.) It isn't obvious, in any way, that black women were somehow being singled out for exclusion from the Court, a point Senator Graham stressed in his initial "shocking" colloquy with Jackson.
It isn't obvious, in any way, that black women have somehow been singled out for exclusion from the Court. No Asian-American of any gender has ever served on the Court. The same is true of Native Americans—the Americans whose ancestors got here first.
No Hispanic male has ever served on the Supreme Court. In fact, very few people serve on the Court, but this nation's good and decent black girls had seen quite a few other high-end wins—except within the crabbed and stupid novelizations to which our dumbfounding, self-pitying tribe is now almost wholly in thrall.
To what extent is our gruesome tribe determined to obliterate the good news about Jackson's high school classmates and the good news which involves those subsequent wins?
As our novelizations proceeded, we kept assuring that nation's black girls that they had to be twice as good—possibly even three times as good—to catch a break within our racist society.
At the thoroughly novelized and racially faux New York Times, Linda Qiu swung into action with a piece of mandated script soon after the massively talented Jackson was confirmed by the Senate.
Qiu took herself to Harvard Law School, where she spoke with eight current students. A bungled statistic was quickly offered, in service to Storyline / script.
We'll start with Qiu's report tomorrow. Assembling the endless pieces of script which rule our tribe is a truly daunting endeavor.
For today, we'll close with the dueling tribal narratives.
On the one side, you have a dimwitted narrative in which black women are found at Harvard Law School only because of "affirmative action"—only because more qualified people have been rejected so they could attend.
On the other hand, you have the narrative our benighted tribe loves to push, in which a black woman has to be two or three times as good—has to be much better than everyone else—to wind up in such elite "spaces."
People like Blow have trafficked that noble lie for a long time now. (For the record, this script suggests that Blow himself is also twice as good!)
As our tribunes have spread such tales, they've also been scaring black kids out of their minds as they toy with elementary facts about police shooting deaths. Also, they've convinced black girls and young black women that they have to be twice as good.
After making one of her trademark statistical errors, Qiu interviewed eight young black women who are currently students at Harvard Law. Unlike Jackson, most of them are "single Harvards." They received their undergraduate degrees at less exalted schools.
Did they have to be twice as good to get accepted at Harvard Law School? Are they students there because more capable applicants got the boot?
We'll guess that neither Storyline is accurate. That said, our national discourse, such as it is, is currently built on tribal Storyline. It's tribal Storyline all the way down, a world of dueling dime novels.
In our view, our own pathetic tribe's devotion to this dimwitted fight has worked extremely poorly for the nation's good, decent black kids. It's also true that we only discuss the double Harvards, the talented tenth. The other black kids can go hang.
Black kids have been scared to death in recent years as we've pimped our braindead novels. In that, and a hundred other ways, such kids have been very poorly served by the transparent phoniness of our self-serving moral panic.
It's hard to believe the extent to which our tribunes are willing to "murder sleep" along with basic journalistic procedure. But we've been misleading the children well, of that there's little doubt.
We've been misleading the children well. We've been misleading ourselves.
Tomorrow, we'll start with that trademark statistical error. This is who we humans are, disconsolate experts insist.
Tomorrow: We'll start with that trademark error