Justice Scalia's racism is unacceptable

The email below is from Bridget Todd, a CREDO activist in Washington, D.C. Bridget started a petition on CREDO Mobilize, where activists can launch their own campaigns for progressive change. Will you help Bridget pressure U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to apologize for his out-of-touch, offensive comments on race by signing her petition and sharing it with your friends and family?

CREDO Mobilize
Tell Justice Scalia: Apologize for your racist comments about the 14th Amendment

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Dear 5849376,

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."1

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 Scalia's latest comments offensive. 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. That's why I started my own campaign on CREDOMobilize.com, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, says the following:

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.

Tell Justice Scalia to apologize for his racist, out-of-touch comments on the 14th Amendment.

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.

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.

Will you join me and add your name to my petition telling U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to apologize for his offensive comments about African Americans and discrimination?

Thank you for your support.

Bridget Todd

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1. "Supreme Court justices skeptical of affirmative-action arguments," Washington Post, 10/16/13

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