By Senator Lena C. Taylor
This week, I couldn’t stop shaking my head at the double standards that plague our politics, social norms and outright behavior in this country. In the state legislature, I listened to either ill-informed comments or intentional misrepresentations about Critical Race Theory (CRT). I couldn’t help but note that it all felt like the making of a new version of the Willie Horton ad. It might take a minute, but think back to George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 1988. Willie Horton, a Black man serving time for murder, committed rape, robbery and assault after he escaped while on a temporary furlough.
Many felt that Bush used pictures of Horton, in his campaign, to assert that he would be tough on crime. Most Black people understood that Horton’s image (insert Black face) was being used to scare white voters. CRT is being used, albeit nuanced, in much the same way. It isn’t about history, it’s about fear. Ironically, Blacks have lived in varying forms of fear over much of their existence in this country. Double standard.
I was reminded of the anniversary of the death of Milwaukee Public School lobbyist Ceasar Stinson. Stinson was killed in a car crash caused by an inattentive on-duty Milwaukee County Sheriff Deputy, on Jan. 25, 2020. The deputy received a six-month jail sentence, with work release privileges, as a part of a two-year probation agreement. He was actually fitted with a GPS monitoring system and allowed to go home immediately. He had never spent a night in jail, that is until Stinson’s family found out. After it was all said and done, the deputy who had a similar accident just two years before he killed Stinson, spent just four months in jail. The deputy involved is now at home. Many in the community have opined that had the players been switched, and Stinson had hit and killed the deputy it would have played out very differently. Double Standard.
In the background, there is all the noise generated by the recent retirement announcement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer. President Joe Biden made it clear that he planned to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court should the opportunity present itself, during his tenure. True to his word, he has said that he intends to honor that campaign promise.
In the history of the highest court in the land, there have only been six people of color to ever sit on the U. S. Supreme Court. There have been 107 White men to hold those seats in the 230 plus years of the court’s existence. Five names have risen to the surface as likely nominees. Sexism and racism have also been floated in these initial days of discussion. A Fox News anchor, who will remain nameless for no other reason than he should remain nameless, called Biden’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion “identity politics.” No one cared when it was always white men. Double Standard.