THE DOUBLE HARVARDS: Mislead the children well!


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


  1. "Judge Jackson has been universally acclaimed by the people who know her. "

    In other words: by other dembot lawyers. Sure, okay. the way, have you heard this one, dear Bob:

    What’s the difference between a lawyer and a jellyfish? One is a spineless, poisonous blob. The other is a form of sea life.

    1. "In a slightly different world, this could almost be seen as a marker of social progress."

    2. Mao was funnier when he was pretending he didn't have a hard-on for the Establishment.
      Now, he's just being a typical unfunny, Right-wing bigot.

    3. Lighten up, dear.

    4. AC/MA, do you like being called dear? It is another way that women get treated differently. Since Mao knows you are most likely male, his disrespect is blatant. He is implying that you are being hysterical, like a woman. And yes, we all think he is a moron, but you are too if you engage with a troll.

    5. Mao's may have dreamed of a stand up career, like you know who. Let's remember that the musical acts who subjected themselves to appearing on "Hee Haw" really were fine artists. Mao no doubt enjoyed the comedy.

    6. Yes Mao is disingenuous to the core, and his calling us non MAGA's "dear" is a rhetorical trick, and annoying. For what it matters, women, like waitresses for example, sometimes call me 'dear', is just their way, not a big deal, though a little annoying, but on the scale of things not that bad. I don't mind engaging with Mao, or pretty much anyone, I think attempts at communication are fine, including your communication with me.

    7. Mao may be getting paid by the responses to his nonsense. He isn't serious about talking to anyone, but your time is yours to waste.

    8. Ka-ching! Hello, another LA mansion. Next to Patrisse Cullors'.

      ...or should we get one on Martha's Vineyard, next to Demigod Barry's?

      Tsk. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

  2. "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."

    "In a slightly different world, this could almost be seen as a marker of social progress."

    And this is the woman that Somerby spent a week complaining about her lackluster answers to hearing questions, while he repeated the Republican slurs against her -- calling her soft on terrorism and pedophiles. This is what passes as social progress for Somerby!

    1. anon 10:15. If Biden had nominated a straight white male with the exact same credentials as Jackson, who had the exact same record as a federal trial judge in sentencing convicted child porn consumers and as an attorney, representing the cause of Guantanamo prisoners, the is little doubt that this white straight male candidate would have been subjected to the exact same flak at the hearings as Jackson was.

    2. AC/MA, I agree that he would have been opposed. I disagree that the manufactured basis for opposition would have been the same. They would not have demanded to see his LSAT scores. They would not have complained because he was a public defender (because he wouldn't have been one -- he would have been on a corporate fast track, public defenders are low status among lawyers). It would have been difficult to portray him as soft on pedophiles because men are not typically stereotyped as soft at all (the complaint would have been less believable because counter-stereotype), but they would have dug up some corporate decision they didn't like, or called him communist or willing to impose regulations or taxes. They might have complained about him making law via rulings instead of adhering to strict construction. Note that they asked Jackson very little about such things. Not only was Jackson's skin color different, but also her work as a defense attorney. Men work in different jobs -- look at Kavanaugh's background, for example. They would never have interrupted the nominee as they did repeatedly with Jackson, which is a sign of disrespect routinely aimed at women -- it dismisses their statements as unimportant and makes them appear ineffectudal at holding the podium, a power maneuver. They wouldn't have done that with a male nominee.

      Go back and look at how Democrats treated the white male and female nominees under Trump. The Republicans would have opposed a white nominee by not voting for him, but not been so disrespectful on a personal level to the candidate. They used such tactics with Jackson in order to provoke an intemperate response that would disqualify her, but also because they knew they could get away with it, because that is how women are routinely treated by men who don't think they belong in certain positions. The women who hold such positions know what that feels like and recognize it when they see it.

    3. anon 1:20. In the end, there is no way to know for sure how the GOP senators would have treated a hypothetical white mail candidate with the exact credentials. You don't meet my point, when you respond by saying a white male candidate wouldn't have had the same credentials,but would have been a corporate lawyer. But that wasn't my premise - there are white male lawyers who are public defenders, and one of them could have been nominated by Biden or any other president, and with the same record re sentencing consumers of child porn or defending Guantanomo prisoners, I see no reason why he would have been questioned differently. I didn't watch the hearings on Jackson, so can't say whether she was treated "disrespectfully", certainly that's the narrative I get from 'liberal' sources.

    4. If they had the same record as Jackson, as most other judges did (see the ABA report showing that her sentences were average compared to other judges), they would not have been criticized for anything done at Guantanamo or the sentencing of a 17 year old pedophile. Those were bad faith questions asked in order to portray Jackson as soft on terrorism, crime, Nazis. They drummed up those cases because they could find nothing substantive to complain about. Her record was exemplary. Calling a white male soft on anything is less likely to stick, as I explained, because the stereotype for men is not that they are soft on things but rather that they are corrupt or beholding to corporate interests, or were overturned too often, or gave a poor explanation of some complex aspect of law (lacked expertise). No one would ask a white male nominee to define man and woman as Blackburn did. They might ask him whether a transwoman should compete in women's sports, and he would decline to answer, as Jackson did. If you didn't see the hearing, why would you automatically disagree with those who did watch it, about something like how many times she was interrupted while giving a response? Somerby calls such things narrative, but it is easy enough to watch the hearing and see for yourself. Better yet, count the interruptions for her and then count how many interruptions Kavanaugh got. There should be footage online somewhere. But why do you knee-jerk automatically believe Somerby when he has been unreliable about other things here?

    5. Somerby and his fanboys like AC/MA argue in bad faith.

      Everyone knew, it was widely reported, that not only were Jackson's sentences average, in the particular case she was called out on, the psychological assessment of the defendant was that he was not a pedophile and posed no risk to children. The 17 yo was gay but lived in a home and community of right wingers that did not accept him, so he turned to the internet to find people that would recognize his natural state, and wound up coming across those images. So without right wing oppression, the event likely would have never happened. It is literally the theme of nearly every horror movie: too much oppression creates monsters.

      Somerby also pretends to ignore the fact that on nearly every societal metric, Black people do way worse than White people. Unless you think it is due to genetics, this is due to racism, mostly systemic and institutional racism.

    6. anon 7:23 - I happen to agree that the GOP interrogators of Jackson at the hearing acted in bad faith. My point is that they would have acted in a similar bad faith way toward a white male nominee with identical credentials and history. Certainly anon 6:13 disagrees, and in the end, there is no way to tell, as it will never happen that that there is such a white male nominee with the exact same credentials and history. I would note that you fail to provide any evidence of how I "argue in bad faith."

    7. AC/MA:
      Would they have accused the white male nominee of being an affirmative action selection? Or asked to see his LSAT score? Cause I don't recall that happening before.

  3. "Within our heavily novelized tribe, it sometimes seems that we prefer to pretend that it's still 1955 and that virtually nothing has changed."

    "Every member of Florida’s congressional delegation had co-sponsored a bill to name a federal courthouse after Justice Joseph W. Hatchett, the first Black man to serve on the Florida Supreme Court and the first Black judge on a federal appeals court in the Deep South. That means Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and 16 House Republicans, along with 11 House Democrats. The bill had passed the Senate. But then, at the last minute, a majority of Republicans in the House, including co-sponsors, turned against the bill in a moment that resonated with the racist attacks some Senate Republicans leveled at Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings."

    Why? Because a first-term Republican complained that the Judge after whom the building was to be named had made a ruling against prayer in schools (consistent with the Supreme Court). As a result, no Republican was willing to name a public building after the first black judge in Florida.

    But hey, Somerby is a glass half-full kind of guy!

  4. "Black girls (somehow) needed this win, he said. Also, the support they will receive in the future will be coming from their own kind."

    Did support for Jackson come from the white Republicans on the Judiciary committee? Or did it come from Cory Booker and the Democrats? Did it come from Somerby? No -- Somerby said he approved of one answer she gave, then he knocked her other answers, repeating the criticisms against her. All while saying she "had his support" but with support like this, who needs enemies?

    16% of Jackson's high school was black. How does Somerby know where she got her encouragement? How does he know who she sat with in the cafeteria? How does he know who comforted her after she was turned down for a part in the school play based on the color of her skin?

    And how can Somerby know how black girls do when they are not as obviously outstanding as Jackson was in high school? Somerby picks a girl who did absolutely everything at top level, winning honors in national competitions (what about local ones -- no mention of how she was treated there). Do black girls have to be so absolutely outstanding to deserve some encouragement? Apparently, all of Jackson's honors and her stellar performance were not good enough for today's Republicans, who manufactured flaws simply to reject her nomination -- not because she was unqualified, but because they didn't like it that she was black and female (because reverse discrimination dontcha know).

  5. "We were supposed to pretend that the nation's black girls had never before seen such a thing. "

    It is a simple fact that there have been no black women appointed to the Supreme Court, ever. No pretending involved.

    It is also important to see black girls attend Harvard and be elected student body president, and other honors where Jackson broke ground. Why? Because black girls look at such women and say to themselves, "If she can do it, so can I."

    And why is Somerby so obtusely unaware of the importance of role models, after supposedly teaching black elementary school children for 10+ years? Today he shows us again exactly how underqualified he was for that job. But notice that he got to do it anyway, whereas black women with the highest qualifications are still blocked by our nation's Republicans! But Somerby thinks race is no longer a thing -- because a black woman with undeniable qualifications and lawyers for parents was able to open some firmly closed doors. Does Somerby truly not see the extreme qualifications needed to do that? Or does he think only the very best black people should get the same opportunities as mediocrities like Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett?

  6. "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."

    And they should be happy with that...that's enough progress for now. So they should sit down and shut up and stop clamoring for more? Because social progress must be rationed out and we wouldn't want white men to feel threatened now, would we?

    And "In a slightly different world, this could almost be seen as a marker of social progress."

    If race were truly not a thing anymore, there would be no categories where any black woman could be the "first and only". Somerby can name these various black women only because they were so unusual in their positions that their names are famous. And that's why black girls still need encouragement. Because ugly white men such as Somerby will say, that's enough black women, there is such a thing as too much progress, all while pretending that skin color doesn't matter.

    And need I point out that this list of Somerby's is the equivalent of a white person claiming that he has a black friend, so he cannot be racist? Did Obama dare to have a black female vice president? Is Biden a black female president? How many black women are in Biden's cabinet? How many Oprah's will there be when Oprah retires?

    Is it a crime for Blow to advocate for young black girls? To the point where Somerby feels he must write an essay about how they don't really need encouragement any more because they have Kamala Harris -- who daily has columns written about what a crappy job she is doing as vice president (as if there were even a job description for that position). But hey, she was an exemplary Attorney General in California but is now a crappy VP -- what does Somerby suppose happened in between? She got elected and that was a bridge too far for those who now feel they must knock her down (in case she wants more later) by a constant barrage of press articles about her incompetence. But Somerby thinks it is enough that she got there, never mind the specious criticism that sounds a whole lot like what Ketanji Brown Jackson received during her hearing.

  7. "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."

    They are currently law students at Harvard. That doesn't make them "single Harvards" yet. They need to graduate for that.

    It is unusual for a graduate program to accept students from their own undergraduate program. It is believed that students will get a better education by attending different schools, not more of the same. That makes Ketanji Brown Jackson's double-Harvard status unusual. Somerby wouldn't know that, never having been an academic.

    But he takes a gratuitous swipe at Qiu, without explaining what her supposed statistical mistake was. It is enough to smear someone without explaining what they did wrong, if the person is female. Not that Somerby's own grasp of statistics is wonderful -- he gets caught in mistakes here regularly. In this same essay he suggests that 16% black means that Jackson had no black classmates in her high school to "have her back" or hang out with. He implicitly hands the credit for her accomplishments to her white classmates who surely must have nurtured her progress in FL.

  8. "The other black kids can go hang."

    From a tree, by a rope, assisted by a gang of white men in hoods?

    If Somerby doesn't know that this is a racially tinged reference, he has no business writing anything whatsoever about race. This is what a white male asshole sounds like when he is frantically resisting progress that might make his own accomplishments look like a free lunch.

    Blow wrote an essay about those who are trying to help black kids succeed and Somerby needs to piss all over it, ending with a reference to lynching, because he just cannot stand it when people he considers inferior get ahead. Just like he cannot stand it that Qiu is writing for a major paper while he couldn't even complete his book on Al Gore (where is he these days anyway?).

  9. "Black kids have been scared to death in recent years as we've pimped our braindead novels."

    Where is George Floyd these days, anyway?

  10. "Tomorrow, we'll start with that trademark statistical error."

    Chances are Somerby will forget this tease and write about something else tomorrow. He does this a lot. He slimes some female author or journalist without saying what she did wrong, promises to tell us later, then never gets around to it. The sliming is the whole point and why justify it when he has already had the soul-filling pleasure of knocking a woman down? Never mind whether she actually did anything to deserve it! Today he gets to slime her and tomorrow he can do it twice. Today we're just supposed to believe she made a mistake, without any evidence or argument from Somerby. But this isn't covid stats -- a real person is being called names today without any support whatsoever. Just a promise that is as likely to be ignored as Somerby's past promises.

    But this is a vanity blog, so who cares if some pathetic white male has to slime a female journalist to get out of bed in the morning? And who cares if he has to mock a black woman who actually IS twice as good as her male counterparts, by pretending that her achievements are just media hype, so he can complain that we already have enough black women in high places and it is time to slow the pace of racial progress, because...why? Oh, right, white men's fees fees are being hurt. It said so in the NY Times when they interviewed those 8 conservative men, as if we didn't already know how conservative white men feel about things from the recent hearings.

  11. Somerby claims that it is just a liberal narrative that black women must be twice as good as white men and women to get hired or admitted to top law schools. He says that isn't true. He says the comparable conservative narrative is that black women are affirmative action hires who displace white men with better qualifications and don't deserve to be hired. Then he says that neither of these narratives are true.

    But would Ketanji Brown Jackson have been nominated for the Supreme Court with half of her current achievements? It seems unlikely to me, given that the right still manufactured flaws in her record in order to vote against her nomination -- finding trivialities instead of substantive deficiencies that might have persuaded Democrats to consider her unqualified. Consider, would Obama have been elected if his qualifications had been as mediocre as George W. Bush's? Even so, the Republicans were howling to see Jackson's LSAT scores, as if her record were the result of a boost at the beginning by Harvard (double Harvard, Somerby would say). The lower a black woman's qualifications, the greater credence is given to such right wing explanations for her success. She must be twice as qualified if only to overcome that ready explanation, which will seem unfair to many people.

    Does Somerby really not see the connection between these two "narratives"? No white man must prove his qualifications by demonstrating that he would have succeeded even without being a legacy due to his parents' wealth or his white skin or his beer drinking ability. No one questions a white man's inherent right to be nominated by calling him mediocre. Not so for women, black or white, because they are assumed to be less competent until proven otherwise -- and you need to be twice as good to do that.

    Somerby thinks that is a myth, but (1) he has never been female so he doesn't know how women are treated when they apply for things above the norm, (2) he was hired to teach without proper credentials or qualifications or training, (3) he is an arguable underachiever, having never attempted to do well at Harvard or succeed in any career with measurable accomplishments, having managed a comedy club and played at being a standup comedian with minimal success.

    But Somerby pretends that anyone cares about his opinion of Ketanji Brown Jackson's responses to the judicial committee, as if he were able to evaluate anything she has said or done in her career. Because every white man is qualified to judge and put down every black woman, no matter what her achievements. And he never questions his right to do so or wonders how hard it must have been for her to get where she is. Somerby's entrance to Harvard was handed to him and he threw it away. But now he seems to care when black women try to have the same opportunities. And that is what racism and misogyny look like.

    Somerby needs to stop writing this crap while there is still someone on this planet who has any lingering respect for him.

  12. I can't remember the book but there's a new political formula that challenging racism isn't about confronting power, it's about your personal story of leaving behind others who weren't good enough to make it. You'll be in the elite, representing your race, and that's as far as it's supposed to go. They earned the right to be better than us

    I don't have a lot of objections to Jackson specifically but it seems she's being discussed in this framework.

    Therefore turning Haitians back at the border, keeping Black female graduates trapped in student debt is fine. We must protect the upper class and help them get along.

    1. This sounds like blaming those who succeed despite obstacles because success is only about making yourself feel good and others feel bad. Is that it?

      What about succeeding so that you can buy a house, feed your family, send your kids to college, take a nice vacation every once in awhile, fund your retirement? When racist impede black people, they are denying them those quality-of-life markers that white people, especially in the middle class, take for granted as a birthright.

      Somerby seems to think that telling black kids to work hard is a means of discouraging them, not showing them the path to do well in life. The other side of that coin is what George Bush called "the soft bigotry of low expectations," which assumes that black kids cannot do better and thus tells them not to worry about having what others have in life. No wonder they buy into the promises of drug dealers and gangs, when the adults around them don't think they can amount to anything else.

      Here is the student debt situation at Harvard:

      "If your family's income is less than $75,000, you'll pay nothing. Families who earn more than $150,000 may still qualify for financial aid. For more than ninety percent of American families, Harvard costs less than a public university. All students receive the same aid regardless of nationality or citizenship."

      Private, for-profit colleges tend to mire their students in debt without providing them with the skills to get a good job afterwards. Interestingly, employers like McDonalds and Kroger Markets are now paying for employee college tuition as a benefit to attract workers. There are nursing tuition reimbursement or payment programs too. The military has traditionally funded college. It would be helpful if there were limits placed on the bogus schools that target low-income students and rip them off, such as Trump University was before it folded. It is better to protect students than fail to encourage them at all because they won't all go to Harvard.

      Somerby never ever talks about these things. He only complains because Rachel Maddow doesn't care about black kids -- as if Somerby does either.

    2. I don't agree with people denying wealth and education to others. What I'm addressing is this selfish (also called neoliberal) philosophy that we can only come together to celebrate as spectators and wish someone else's name well, but not advocate as a group together, be it as a race, or class, or gender etc. Those are attributes of an individual to be overcome, personal burdens, not systems of power to challenge.

      Free college is a serious demand from the student debtors. And yet we have stooped so low that we're kissing Ronald McDonald's literal white ass for giving people benefits?

      McDonald's is a good example of looking at this philosophy. Is education a collective good in society, a right for all, or a mere personal achievement? A fast food worker has very little say in what kind of job he gets and probably will lose, rather than gain power, in the short term, if the boss can hold his future career opportunities over your head. On a whim they can replace you tomorrow, since you only have a privilege to get that boost up.

      If the government made it a law they have to give you free college, you have a right to education. You can arrive that solution if you ask for collective political action, collective political responsibility. But you can't do that with neoliberalism in charge, and really are not supposed to arrive at that policy, if you listen to money and power telling you to hail the single hero, the one person saving us all.

    3. Look, I agree that we should be giving free higher education, just as most of the other successful countries in the world do, including our neighbor Mexico. I don't think that means we should disparage McDonalds for trying to attract workers using paid college tuition as a benefit. My point in mentioning it was to show that there are various ways to get educated without having to pay a predatory for-profit college for a useless degree. The only people who have a say over their working conditions are the self-employed. Even in a unionized workplace, your working conditions are at the whim of both your employer and your coworkers. I have no idea what you are talking about in your last paragraph.

      But, once you have earned college credits, even your employer cannot take those away from you. And no one can rob you of what you have learned, no matter what your path to educate yourself. Employers don't simply pay for education as leverage over their workforce but because it provides value added to their labor force and makes their employees better at their jobs. And it doesn't matter what you study, with the possible exception of a course on Wittgenstein. College teaches students to think, communicate verbally and in writing, and about 90% of majors also include math.

      I was self-employed for most of my career. At parties people would ask me how to do it and I would tell them, but then they would say, "but you have no security" and I would point out that they had no security either, even though they worked for someone else. And they'd say but I have kids and a mortgage, as if I didn't also have those things. Once you establish your business, you always have more control than when you work for someone else. Being entrepreneurial is easier in the US than many other more regulated places. Black people have learned that as a means of evading racism. Also it is what older workers who are not valued in the job market do.

      But my point is that education matters a lot and Somerby shouldn't be suggesting that black kids are being jerked around by role models like Jackson. It is white people like Somerby who jerk them around.

    4. It's not bad to own your own business but commentary about entrepreneurship seems to turn back to the individual and away from making demands of power, one of the real benefits of unions too. Not everyone is going to be self employed, we're getting into the weeds here

      And to just use your example, usually immigrants will have some informal support system, family who can get them jobs. Collective action again is what saves people, not the hero who got into Harvard.

      I think in policy we're basically talking the same language. We could sit down and find a mix of public education and price controls that we like. As you mentioned we see Mexico doing it. It didn't even used to be this expensive here. They just felt like being bullies. Rake the coal for a new generation of elites. They really don't care about us. Unless we can make them rich we're slaves.

  13. Somerby's rundown of Jackson's fortunate background is intended to imply that she does not deserve to be called a groundbreaker, when all but three Republicans voted against her because of her skin color and assumed attitudes about civil rights. Anyone who receives such opposition on the basis of their skin color and not their qualifications deserves to be called a ground-breaker, even by Blow or Oprah. It is ludicrous to think that it is Somerby's place to tell any black person whether they have suffered enough to have earned the title of trailblazer. Civil rights is not over, no matter what Somerby thinks.

    1. anon 1:34This is why "liberals" are deemed to be lacking in credibility. You say that all the Republicans who voted against Jackson did so "on the basis of her skin color." So if a white person had been nominated, they would have voted in favor of that nominee? and if they voted against the nominee, there'd have been some other reason than his/her skin color? If Trump or some other Republican got elected in 2024, and nominated a black women with the same political stance as Clarence Thomas, you think the GOP would vote against because of her skin color? The point is, that any nominee that Biden chose would receive few, if any, GOP votes in favor.

    2. Did you miss my point? It is about whether Jackson is a ground-breaking nomination or not. A white man would not be a ground-breaking nomination, unless he had a disability (blind, deaf) or some other distinction. Somerby was questioning why cable news was making a fuss over Jackson.

      I think Clarence Thomas was nominated because of his race, to forestall calls for a different black nominee. They were certain Thomas wouldn't rock the civil rights boat in any way and his nomination would prevent calls for representation on the court, because they could point to him and say they already had a black person on the court. So Thomas's skin color was material to his appointment, and yes, that is a form of racism. Black people call this tokenism (a black person whose loyalty is to the white power structure). There have always been black people, even during slavery, who were willing to perform such a role because it benefitted themselves.

      This isn't rocket science. Use your head.

    3. Foundational to the modern Republican party is racism, it is a feature, not a bug.

      Where people lose credibility is when they deny such obvious facts.

    4. So many people are leaving the Democratic Party though.

    5. anon 6:04. You stated in your post: "All but three Republicans voted against [Jackson] because of her skin color." I addressed that allegation. I didn't consider any allegation you made about her appointment being groundbreaking. You completely ignored my point.

  14. “Black kids have been scared to death in recent years as we've pimped our braindead novels."

    This is ludicrous. And patronizing.

    Black kids (and their parents) don’t need “liberals” or journalists telling them how to feel. They already know from personal experience.

    But leave it to Somerby to be so condescending as to think that black people get their thoughts and feelings from their “betters”.

    Somerby is talking nonsense.

  15. "THE DOUBLE HARVARDS: Mislead the children well!"

    How exactly was Jackson misled?

  16. To Sum it up:
    Judge Jackson was treated fairly by much of
    of American Society and it's institutions.

    Until She came up against the Republican Senate,
    who tried to tie her to pedophilia, as part of
    their refusal to honor her obvious qualifications.

    As Bob looked on and approved.

    Any questions?

    Bob's refusal to move on from this story
    speaks tawdry volumes.