Opinion: More than just a Supreme Justice

As a mixed girl growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and school, life was confusing throughout my childhood. Other than my direct family and a few ethnically ambiguous friends, I had no representation of my culture outside of my home. 

Things slowly began to change as I got older and reached middle school. The lack of diversity in the job industry, media, and most importantly, our nation’s government became more apparent and talked about. 

Even today, as a sophomore, underrepresentation is still a problem. The most recent achievement has to be the confirmation of now Supreme Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African American woman to be appointed to the position.

Scrolling through Instagram a few weeks ago, I came across videos circulating of Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearing. Multiple members of the Senate were bombarding her with “useless” questions such as asking her her definition of a woman. Her calm composure in answering each meaningless question thrown at her with dignity and eloquence resonated with me deeply. 

Watching those videos reminded me of my childhood. I reminisced on the snobby, blonde-haired children asking why I didn’t look like my pale-skinned mother and notifying me that my hair was frizzier and curlier than theirs. They asked rude, unreasonable questions and remarks I had no choice but to quietly, yet kindly respond to. 

Women of color are stereotyped by society as loud, rambunctious and uneducated. Defying each of these labels during her hearing, Judge Jackson became an icon for Black and mixed girls, including myself, just hours after the hearing. Not only are her educational achievements inspiring, but her character as well.

Judge Jackson being confirmed as a Supreme Court justice has paved a way not only for myself, but other girls and children of color in the future. She is a living reminder to myself that I can do anything and everything I want to accomplish with the right mindset, even with my frizzy, curly hair.