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Alright, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring. And on the heels of his announcement is the public’s call for President Joe Biden to honor his promise of nominating a Black woman for the job and, as far as what’s being reported, he plans to do so. 

Disclaimer: I know people like to take headlines and run with them without even reading the piece of the piece. So before y’all think this is a conversation hating on Black women, please take the time to read it in full because it’s not. I am a Black woman that loves my sisters whose passion is advocating for our seat on the throne. Thanks!

But let’s be clear, we ain’t accepting just any old Black woman as a nominee for the highest court in the land–especially not when our rights have been held hostage for the past 403 years. We have to have an exceptionally talented and intelligent Black woman. We need a sista who’s going to represent in the name of true justice and equality.

I’ve always been a firm believer in being very specific about what I want and need for two reasons.

Closed mouths don’t get fed

First, other people’s interpretations of our personal needs could be different than what we thought we expressed, resulting in the delivery of something that’s worthless to us because we were vague with our ask or demand. It’s that old adage “You get what you ask for” or, one of my favorite hood gems from the movie The Players Club, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” We have to be very detailed in demanding what we want and need.

Second and realest-talk, most people don’t give a damn about our needs–they just toss out table scraps and expect us to go about our business and “make it enough”. That’s exactly what happened when our formerly enslaved ancestors thought the 14th Amendment protected our civil rights and gave us freedom and access through citizenship–until the Supreme Court hit us with “separate but equal” in the 1896 case, Plessy v. Ferguson. We fought for freedom and access and seemingly got it, but still under the guise of white supremacy and racism. 

This country has a history of foolery and sorcery when it comes to adequate and fair representation so we can’t take the risk of allowing it to make that decision–mess around and end up with a self-loathing Black woman like Candace Owens on the bench. 

We Need To Be Specific 

We also have to be very specific about what kind of exceptionally talented and intelligent Black woman we want. She can be skinfolk that ain’t kinfolk, like Candace Owens. 

As an education advocate, I always cringe a little on the inside when people proclaim, “We need more Black educators!”. And while this is absolutely true, I would always push back with, “We need more good, Black educators” followed by a list of other adjectives I thought are befitting of a great teacher.

Let’s be honest, having darker skin and a college degree doesn’t make you qualified for one of the most important jobs in the world. And the same rules apply to mayors, governors, presidents and yes, Supreme Court justices. Minimally, we need a Black woman whose resume tells the tale of fairness and fight for all underrepresented communities.

So when we say, “We need a Black woman on the Supreme Court”, we have to tell Joe exactly what kind of Black woman. Better yet, we need to trot the ones we know will do the job well right up to the White House door. Because if we leave the decision up to Capitol Hill, we’ll end up with just any old Black woman.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...