Wednesday 30 November 2022
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Judge Antonin Scalia: The Second “Black” Supreme Court Justice?

Op/Ed By A. Peter Bailey


apeterbailey( – When reading and hearing about the negative judicial decision and hostile attitudes toward our campaign for equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity in this country from recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, I am compelled to recall a book by Madison Grant.

Grant, a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant White supremacist/racist, wrote the book, The Passing of a Great Race, which was published in 1916 to express his total disgust at the huge number of what he considered low-life people coming into the U.S. from Europe. Included in that negative category were people coming from South Italy and Sicily such as the parents of Justice Scalia.

In the book, Grant broke Europeans down into three “races”—the Nordics (“the only true Europeans”), the Alpine (“clearly of Eastern and Asiatic origin”) and the Mediterranean. The latter, declared Grant, “is a relatively small, light boned, long skulled race, of brunet color becoming even swarthy in certain regions of its range…”

Furthermore, he wrote, “Along its southern boundary, the Mediterranean race is in contact with either the long skull Negroes of Ethiopia or the ancient negrito population of southern Asia. In Africa, this race has drifted southward the Sahara and up the Nile Valley and has modified the blood of the Negroes in both the Senegambian and equatorial regions…”

Though very ancient, Grant noted, “This race cannot be called purely European.”

The attitude of Grant and many others who shared his beliefs was surely known to the Italian immigrants pouring into the U.S. from Italy. That meant that Judge Scalia and his Italian compatriots basically had to prove to the Grants of the world that they were pure Europeans. Ways of doing this consisted of becoming super Whites and super American patriots. And, of course, anti-Black. What else could one do when one is suspected of having a bit of Black blood?

One does not have to be a psychiatrist to speculate that Scalia, and other Italian Americans who share his attitude concerning the civil and human rights of Black folks, may have to be persistently on guard less someone accuse them of being less than White. After all, there are still some Madison Grant-like folks around who are certainly keeping a close eye on them.

A. Peter Bailey, whose latest book is Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, the Master Teacher, can be reached at