Brett Kavanaugh proved himself Thursday.
He proved himself to be a sexual predator in the violent tradition of all of the violent white men who came before him and those who stand with him—defending, protecting, and elevating him as the world watches.
Kavanaugh’s furtive eye movements and performative outbursts were not those of an innocent man hurt and appalled by self-proclaimed false claims against his character; no, they were the emotionally fragile actions of a white man accustomed to getting away with—and being applauded for—depravity. His attempts to deflect, intimidate, and silence those who would dare question his right to avoid accountability were steeped in the pathology of whitemale-ness that is the grotesque foundation of this nation.
Kavanaugh sees himself as a victim because this country was stolen by and for white men like him. White men who wielded whips, raped enslaved Black women, and their white wives, too. White men who know that institutionalized power is not based in equity or meritocracy; no, it is something that belongs to them. It is the very air they breathe. This power that Kavanaugh clings to and fights for like a rabid dog with teeth bared is soaked in the blood of women who lie broken in dark bedrooms afraid to speak, lest they be punished for shattering the myth of a “good” white man like him.
And, to be truthful, Kavanaugh is one of the best white men we’ve seen in the public sphere. Like his ardent supporter Donald Trump, he upholds every standard of whitemale-ness with unwavering confidence, and does not hide behind such trivial things as compassion, empathy, honesty, and humanity.
He has been taught that white men do not, should not, and will not shrink themselves into something more palatable and less threatening to the people around them, and that it is egregious to even expect such a thing. To these white men, their rage is righteous. They know that predominately white schools will never be policed, that white neighborhoods will never be occupied, that white children will never have to fear that their skin will be viewed as evidence of violent depravity worthy of death. They know that enough white women will never stop straddling the line between victims and white supremacist co-conspirators. White men like Kavanaugh will cling to their anonymous visibility, their individualized collective innocence.
And they will never, never be comfortable with being interrogated by other people, because they have never been forced to interrogate themselves.
Whitemale-ness itself is terrorism, even when it wears the mask that grins and lies, but Brett Kavanaugh didn’t have to grin during Thursday’s Senate Judiciary hearing. He just had to lie while holding his barely sheathed rage in check for the cameras. And he only did that out of an over-abundance of caution, just in case seeing white male, state-sanctioned violence on camera actually had consequences this time.
Of course he’s a sexual predator. Of course he is—and he knows that we know. But he’s counting on this country’s flawless track record of (re)victimizing and (re)traumatizing women to once again prove that it doesn’t matter.
I would like to believe that in light of Kavanaugh’s terrifying performance today—and Christine Blasey Ford’s brave testimony—that the rejection of his Supreme Court nomination is a foregone conclusion. But I don’t have that much faith in this white supremacist system, nor that much confidence in the white men in charge—those who openly support Kavanaugh and those on the other side of the aisle who probably support him behind closed doors—to expect anything resembling justice.
This farce of a hearing was nothing more than the mutual masturbation of white male fragility and violence masquerading as democracy.
Yes, Thursday, Kavanaugh proved himself. He proved that he is more than capable of shoving a young girl into a dark bedroom and laughing while he covers her mouth and sexually assaults her. He proved that he is a white man capable of doing what white men and boys have always done, whether drunk on beer or their own power, whether it’s women they claim to respect or land they claim as theirs:
And the Grand Ole Party of Rapists and Rape Apologists served as proxy for his friend and alleged co-predator Mark Judge, cheering him on the entire time.
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!