Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host, was temporarily enrolled in a Swiss boarding school before being expelled, according to reports. He went on to Trinity College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.
He referred to himself as a member of the “Dan White Society” in a 1991 yearbook entry, an apparent reference to the homophobe who assassinated San Francisco mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk, California’s first out homosexual political official, in 1978.
“Carlson applied to the C.I.A. after graduation, but his application was denied, so he went to journalism,” according to The Columbia Journalism Review. ‘You should think about journalism,’ his father advised. ‘They’ll take anyone,’ says the narrator.
Last week, Tucker Carlson requested that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Black woman and President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, show her qualifications. He insisted on seeing her paperwork.
“It might be time for Joe Biden to tell us what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT score was,” Carlson stated on Fox News. What was her LSAT score?… In a democracy, it appears that Americans have a right to know.”
To be sure, it’s absurd. When Carlson identified with the homicidal homophobe in 1991, what was Jackson doing? She was a student organizer for civil rights movements while studying government at Harvard, and she would graduate magna cum laude the following year.
Successful Black people can attest to the fact that you are frequently asked to prove your credentials, to demonstrate that you have earned your way and earned your place, often by questioners with far less credentials.
Donald Trump built a name for himself in politics by doubting Barack Obama’s legitimacy, qualifications, and lineage. His time at Wharton is clouded in mystery, from how he was admitted to how excellent of a student he was.
Many will recall that Trump rose to prominence as the most vocal birther, disputing Obama’s citizenship based on the place of his birth. According to the BBC, Trump first mentioned his “serious reservations” about Obama having a U.S. birth certificate in March of 2011.
Trump had begun to challenge the correctness and credibility of Obama’s academic résumé a month prior. “Our present president came out of nowhere, came out of nowhere,” Trump said of Obama at CPAC in February 2011. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that the individuals they went to school with don’t even know who he is – they’ve never seen him. They have no idea who he is. Crazy.”
At 2011, Trump told Sean Hannity that Obama didn’t write his first book, saying, “I heard he had awful grades, and he ends up in Harvard.” He wrote a novel that was superior to Ernest Hemingway’s, while the second was written by an ordinary guy. He shouldn’t have written the second book in the first place.”
Bill Ayers, who happens to be white, had to be the author of the first book, according to Trump.
It didn’t end there, either. In 2012, Trump offered to donate $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choice in exchange for Obama’s college and passport records being made public.
These instances touched a nerve because not only presidents and Supreme Court nominees are required to provide proof of their qualifications. Too many folks, both Black and non-Black, have had to do so at some point in their life. It’s disgusting and embarrassing.
It’s happened to me several times, and I’ll tell you about one of them.
Before becoming a writer, I worked as an information graphics journalist, which involves working with data, sometimes reams of it, to create maps, charts, and diagrams.
The New York Times was, and continues to be, a pioneer in the field. And I was in charge of its efforts as its graphics director.
However, the world in that field was largely white. As a result, my presence seemed out of place to others.
I was judging the international information graphics awards in Pamplona, Spain, one year. After supper, some of the judges were invited to a bar by the student helpers. The bar was a gigantic area filled with a dizzying array of flashing and spinning lights.
With my title and the type of job that I did, the kids introduced me to some of the locals. They had no one believing them. Despite the fact that I spoke almost no Spanish, the natives’ noes were as plain as their shaking heads. The kids confirmed that the locals did not believe me to be who I claimed to be.
To the surprise of the locals, I pulled out my Times ID before the conversation was finished.
This isn’t a one-off occurrence. People all across the world are so anti-Black that they see Black excellence as an attack on their worldview.
“This Black person can’t possible be as good as he claims, good enough to have earned her status,” they reason. They’ll have to blame it on something else: an unfair advantage, a preferential treatment, or a curve bending.
In the end, all of these demands boil down to one thing: racism, which is both ancient and metastatic.