On Tuesday, at the end of the first day of the Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s possible appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, a man came over to him with his hand outstretched attempting to shake the nominee’s hand. Kavanaugh looked at the man and then turned and walked away.
The man was Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg, who was killed during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting earlier this year.
It wasn’t that Kavanaugh didn’t shake his hand that bothered me, it was how Kavanaugh looked at Guttenberg before deciding that he wasn’t going to shake his hand.
I was watching the hearing on TV and it made me yell, “Who the fuck are you looking at?”
It was a natural reaction given to me by my forefathers. We’ve all given and received the look before. It’s the look where you’ve extended your hand and the person looks back at you as if you’ve offered them a pile of soft, gelatinous shit.
In a book that was written by a slave and kept out of libraries for fear of revolt, rumor has it that Nat Turner’s first uprising began after a white man looked at him with the look, and Turner asked the white man “Who the fuck are you looking at?”
It’s a look normally reserved for black people and poor people. The look that says you shouldn’t be talking to me. The look that says: “Who are you to even think you should be looking at me?” The look that says: “I can sell your wife away once I’ve raped her.”
Black women call it “the crazy look.” Used in a sentence: “He looked at me like I’m crazy.”
That’s the look Kavanaugh gave Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed during the Parkland, Florida shooting, leaving 16 dead and 17 injured.
“Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. Put out my hand to introduce myself as Jaime Guttenberg’s dad. He pulled his hand back, turned his back to me and walked away,” Fred Guttenberg tweeted. “I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah tried to spin the encounter as did many snowflakes on Twitter, writing, “As Judge Kavanaugh left for his lunch break, an unidentified individual approached him. Before the Judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened.”
Guttenberg set the record straight:
Maybe that’s because Kavanaugh knows which side his bread is buttered. He’s such a National Rifle Association guy that the NRA ran ads calling for his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
The dismissive handshake was one thing. As my grandmother used to tell me all the time, “It costs you nothing to be polite.” My grandmother also requested a closed casket when she died, stating:
“Ain’t nobody going to be looking down on me like I’m crazy.”