Ted Cruz Asks Ketanji Brown Jackson if Babies Are Racist - Rolling Stone
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Ted Cruz Just Asked Ketanji Brown Jackson if She Thinks Babies Are Racist

The racist dog whistles were blaring on the second day of Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings

Ted CruzTed Cruz

A staff member places a poster of page from a book by author Ibram X. Kendi behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as he questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Republicans haven’t been subtle about their concern that a Black woman is poised to join the Supreme Court.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Monday took issue with Ketanji Brown Jackson’s place on the board of Georgetown Day School, which preaches anti-racism and acknowledges that, as Blackburn described it, “so-called white privilege” exists in America. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took the baton on Tuesday, grilling Jackson about an anti-racist children’s book, Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Baby, that is not even included in the school’s list of anti-racist resources.

“Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?” Cruz asked in front of a blown-up poster of one of the book’s pages.

Jackson paused for several seconds. “I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist, or as though they are not valued, or as though they are less than,… that they are victims, that they are oppressors,” Jackson said. “I don’t believe in any of that.”

“I have not reviewed any of those books, any of those ideas,” Jackson continued. “They don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I am respectfully here to address.”

The book doesn’t argue that babies are racist, anyway. It’s simply a colorful tool for parents to teach children how to be anti-racist. Cruz knows this, but he and the rest of the Republican Party feel they need to find ways to besmirch Jackson. They’ve zeroed in on her position on the Georgetown Day School board and, more broadly, the fact that she is a Black woman. The GOP did so rather bluntly on Tuesday afternoon, tweeting a GIF replacing “KBJ” with “CRT,” next to an image of Jackson’s face.

Republicans were up in arms at the very idea that President Biden decided to nominate a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, so there wasn’t much doubt that Jackson’s hearings were going to be threaded with racism. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sure knew it, which is why on Monday he tried to preemptively quash any criticism of how Republicans handled the first Black woman to appear before a Supreme Court nominating committee. “It’s about how we’re all racist if we ask hard questions,” he said in his opening statement. “It’s not going to fly with us. We’re used to it by now.”

Asking hard questions is not racist. Asking racist questions is. And through two days, Senate Republicans and the GOP have turned Jackson’s hearings into a symphony of dog whistles.

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