White Moms: Never Speak About Your Black Kids Like Amy Coney Barrett

Trump’s Supreme Court nom described her adopted children and it was frightening

Bonsu Thompson

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

On the first day of Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate Confirmation hearings to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, she opened up not as a Circuit Court judge but as a mother. Instead of rationalizing her abortion stance or explaining why she feels climate control is more a policy matter than science, she spoke with vivid pride about her and husband Jesse’s seven children.

She began by informing that her oldest, Emma, to which Amy has referred to as “the first apple of our eye,” is a college sophomore who will possibly follow her parents footsteps in law. The judge continued, noting that her second oldest, 16-year-old Vivian, was born in Haiti and adopted by the Barrett’s in 2005. Amy made it a point to punctuate that when Vivian joined the family at 14 months old, she was so weak that doctors said “she may never walk or talk normally.” Today, Vivian is a high school track star, who, according to her esteemed legal guardian, no longer has trouble speaking. Which of Vivian’s abilities is her mother most proud? Apparently, that she “deadlifts as much as the men in our gym.”

Mentioned third was daughter, Tress, also 16 years old. Amy beamed that Tress shares her parents’ love for liberal arts but, moreover, possesses the family’s highest math acumen. Vivian wasn’t the only child the Barretts adopted from Haiti. After the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, they brought home three-year-old John Peter. At the hearing, Amy spoke of John’s personality as “happy-go-lucky.” In fact, she said it was “his signature trait.” Biological son Liam received from his mother adjectives like “smart and kind.” Julia, 10, was said to be pursuing a career as an author.

I watched and listened carefully to this video several times. I didn’t wanna fall victim to my own racial sensitivity. Then I dug a little and stumbled on Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing where she became an official federal judge. And there they were: the same red flags in Amy’s tone I took issue with in the opening statement of her recent hearing. She referred to Vivian as “our miracle” and praised her only as an athlete, while Vivian’s age-twin…

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Bonsu Thompson

Bonsu Thompson is a writer, producer, Brooklynite and 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow.