FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

I Grew Up in the Segregated South, For Me Supreme Court Rulings are Personal

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has a history of interpreting the law in a way that serves the interests of the powerful over equality and justice.

Having grown up in the segregated South, I’m acutely aware of what’s at stake. I’m gravely concerned for what Kavanaugh’s influence could mean for communities of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and others who’ve fought to advance civil rights in our country.

For me, this is personal.

I grew up as an Air Force brat. We were stationed in the South in the 1950s, when racial discrimination was deeply pervasive. Children weren’t protected from discrimination — not even the daughter, like me, of an Air Force officer who spent a career serving his country. Despite being in a military family, I still had to attend segregated schools outside the Air Force base.

When we were stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, girls in my junior high school weren’t allowed to take science classes — only home economics. My parents had to get special permission for me to take science. And each weekend there were civil rights demonstrations, where bigoted counter-protesters would sometimes leave adults and my classmates bloodied and bruised.

Through relentless struggle, the decades-long civil rights movement earned African Americans and other marginalized communities stronger voting rights, de-segregated schools and cultural establishments, equal employment, fairer housing, and more.

Protests gave way to judicial cases, giving us landmark decisions like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade that legalized protections for our personal freedoms. More recent cases like 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodgesadvanced civil rights to LGBTQ communities.

It’s thanks to those hard-earned wins that systemic racial segregation has been outlawed, access to safe, legal abortion has been legalized, and same-sex couples have the legal right to marry.

But we’ve all seen and felt the toxic backlash to that progress since Donald Trump was elected.

The president has dehumanized immigrants and other Latino communities by calling them rapists and animals. And last August, after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, he claimed there were “very fine people” on both sides.

Not only is he normalizing racial hostility and small-mindedness, he’s re-institutionalizing it by adding far-right extremists to his administration and to our courts. And now that Trump has nominated yet another ideologue to the Supreme Court, those rights we fought so hard for are seriously endangered.

My experience as a young woman in Mississippi gives me intimate firsthand knowledge of what’s at risk if that fuel is added to an already growing fire. Today, we are perilously close to reviving an openly racist, hostile, and xenophobic world for people like me and many others.

I hung my Biloxi Junior High School diploma alongside my other diplomas to remind me of what we’ve all overcome — and how much we have to lose. And every day, when I see it, I’m instantly transported back to that frighteningly dangerous time.

If we allow yet another far-right extremist to our nation’s highest court, I fear another backlash is on the horizon — a return to a time when our rights were considered secondary, if at all. I know I’m not the only one who can’t let that happen.

The Supreme Court is the final judicial arbiter of fairness in our system. Personally, I’ll be giving every ounce of energy and grit I have to fight Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to that court. And I hope other Americans who believe in equality and justice for all will take it personally, too.

Yolanda “Cookie” Parker was the Founder and President of KMS Software Company and is a board member of People For the American Way.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them
Louis Proyect
The Intellectual Development of Karl Marx
Tom Clifford
How China Sees the World
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson – Negin Owliaei
Who’s Burning the Amazon?
Yasin Khan
Rideshare Drivers are Employees, Not Contractors
Ralph Nader
Big Business Lies Taught a Watchful Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Sacking of John Bolton
Andrea Maki
Wild Love Preserve Founder: Our Path Forward
Jeremy Kuzmarov
The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care?
Tim Davis – Stan Grier
Protect the Sacred Grizzly Bear, Follow Those Who Know Grandmother Earth
Clark T. Scott
Super-Delegated and Relegated
Jim Britell
Lessons From America’s Greatest Grassroots Campaigns 
Howie Hawkins
Workers Need More Rights and Economic Democracy
Ramzy Baroud
‘Justice is Indivisible’: Screams of Israa Ghrayeb Should Be Our Wake-up Call
Jill Richardson
It’s Not About Your Straws and Your Light Bulbs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail