It appears that Judge Amy Coney Barrett has gone from a “cult member” for being a devout Catholic to a possible “white colonizer” for adopting two Haitian children. Where most of us saw a loving interracial family at the White House ceremony on Saturday, Ibram X. Kendi, the new director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, saw a possible case of effective baby snatching by “White colonizers.”
On Saturday, Kendi wrote “Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.” The obvious implication is that the Barrett’s may have used their adopted children as mere props as part of a possible effort to hide their racism. It was clearly designed to curtail the praise of the Barrett family by suggesting that the parents might be racists. Indeed, he puts “adopted” in quotation marks to suggest that some of these children are not really adopted but presumably acquired or snatched by “White people.”
After leveling that truly disgusting suggestion against this family, Kendi added “And whether this is Barrett or not is not the point. It is a belief too many White people have: if they have or adopt a child of color, then they can’t be racist.”
It is akin to saying that you are not sure “whether not” Barrett is a kidnapper while leaving that question dangling as you explain how the criminal scheme. It is an example how any notion of decency can be dispensed with in the criticism of conservative figures or causes. Once again, the only thing more disturbing than this outrageous attack is the relative silence of the media or Kendi’s colleagues.
It appears that it only takes a Supreme Court nomination to take a clearly loving interracial family to raise the possibility that the parents are craved racist baby snatchers. It is not clear if Kendi would have preferred that Barrett hide two of her children or not mention them to avoid any suggestion that they are mere props. What is clear is that he wanted to interject the possible racism of the Barretts at a time when others were complementing the Barretts and their family. He then expressed a sense of his own injury when his words were taken as an accusation of any kind:
“And whether this is Barrett or not is not the point. It is a belief too many White people have: if they have or adopt a child of color, then they can’t be racist/ I’m challenging the idea that White parents of kids of color are inherently ‘not racist’ and the bots completely change what I’m saying to ‘White parents of kids of color are inherently racist.’ These live and fake bots are good at their propaganda. Let’s not argue with them.”
In fact, many of us are not saying that Kendi said that all white parents of kids of color are racist. We found his need to raise whether the Barretts might be racists using her black children as props to be sufficiently offensive.
Judge Barrett has never had a charge of racism leveled against her as a lawyer, a law professor or a judge. While many disagree with her judicial philosophy, there is absolutely no basis to suggest that she is a racist or akin to a “white colonizer.” It is a classic set up to “prove the negative.” Prove that your adoption of two children from Haiti was not an effort to acquire “props in [your] lifelong pictures of denial.” As is often the case in the last few years, many of us are left simply dumbfounded by these vicious and gratuitous attacks. This (and so many moments) is best captured by the words of Army counsel Joseph Welch at the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954: “Have you no shame, sir, at long last? Have you no shame?”