Talking about rights

By Aryana Goodarzi

Since it’s Black History Month, we must talk about how we talk about the rights of Black people. When Black people are talked about, it is about what they are doing for each other and their histories, not what they are going up against. In doing so, it puts the history of racism on them. By talking about Black History Month through the lens of what Black people are really going up against, we are forcing white supremacy to own up to how Black people have the rights, or rather lack thereof, that they do because of systemic racism and oppression by White heteropatriarchal systems. 

With the upcoming opening in the Supreme Court, there is much talk about how we should have the first Black female Supreme Court Justice. While we should appoint a Black woman to the highest court of the land, we cannot equate this symbolic equality for actual equality. Symbolic equality looks like having the first Black female Supreme Court Justice when Black people still cannot easily vote in states across the country.

Having the first Black female Supreme Court Justice in history is quite the step, but it is really just a more of a symbol when it overlooks every other step that needs to be taken for Black people to have actual equality. This is not to lessen the history that can be made or to take away from being the first Black female Supreme Court Justice. Maybe it is the step we need to take, so she can actualize constitutional equality into the equity of rights, not to be limited on the basis of race. What we cannot do is equate this symbolic equity with actual equality. 

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