100,000 signatures reached
To: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Tell Justice Scalia: Apologize for your racist comments about the 14th Amendment
Apologize for your racist, out-of-touch comments on the 14th Amendment. Ignoring the history of prejudice that led to the passage of the amendment to protect freed slaves after the Civil War, as well as the intense discrimination that still exists today, is offensive and disrespectful toward all Americans who believe in equality and especially to African Americans and other people of color.
Why is this important?
On October 15, while hearing arguments on a Michigan voter initiative to ban affirmative action in college admissions, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dismissively stated that the 14th Amendment -- which was explicitly passed in the wake of the Civil War to establish citizenship and voting rights for former slaves -- doesn't protect "only the blacks."
Justice Scalia has a history of denigrating the rights of African-Americans, including contemptuously describing the landmark civil rights legislation known as the Voting Rights Act as the “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” That remark occasioned audible gasps in the usually staid courtroom where Supreme Court oral arguments are held.
As a person of color, I find these comments to be disgusting. His coded reference to “the blacks,” when put in context with his history of trying to legislate against people of color from the bench, is an ugly dog whistle with clear racial overtones.
After a long history of slavery and discrimination, in the wake of the Civil War the 14th Amendment was created in response to issues faced by former slaves and African Americans, particularly at the ballot box. Scalia's flippant remarks about the amendment disregard and disrespect the struggle of African Americans and other people of color to achieve equality in the United States -- a struggle that continues for us today.
Contrary to what Scalia seems to believe, prejudice still exists in this country. I know because I have seen it first hand. I've seen qualified people of color treated like they do not belong in professional and academic settings based purely on their race. Prejudice still ensures that I see very few people who look like me on in boardrooms and professional leadership roles. It still ensures that a far lower percentage of people of color attend college than their white counterparts. To dismissively suggest that "the blacks" don't face institutionalized prejudice that necessitates protection at the ballot box, in the workplace, in housing, our judicial system and virtually every aspect of American life is incredibly hurtful and offensive.
Scalia has a history of ignoring the reality that racism continues to exist. If we ignore his comments -- some that are blatantly racist and others that may be coded, dog whistle politics that may sound reasonable to some groups but send a very clear signal of hostility to minorities -- they will gain credence in the rest of society, and be used to justify future discrimination. But if we speak out now and demand an apology, we can show that the discrimination and disregard he promotes will not be tolerated by civil society.
Sign my petition now and demand Scalia apologize for his foul remarks and disregard for African Americans.