Saying “White Life” Isn’t a Slip of the Tongue

Believe what they say

Maria Shimizu Christensen
2 min readJun 26, 2022


Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

When Senator John Cornyn tweeted a reply to Barack Obama’s statement on the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade overturn, he employed lazy, non-contextual thinking to make his remark. He meant to say that Supreme Court precedents have been overturned before, and he’s happy that it’s happened now. It came across as racist because of the precedent he cited without any explanation of what he was thinking. We don’t always coherently say what we mean.

And, by the way, it doesn’t mean he’s not racist, and he clearly feels safe targeting women.

When Representative Mary Miller thanked Trump at a campaign rally, she said:

“I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday”

Her campaign staff later offered up the weak excuse that she, “misread prepared remarks,” stating that she was reading notes.

That means one of two things. Either the words “white life” were in her prepared notes already and she was going to say them somewhere else in her little speech, or they just slipped out of her head and into her mouth.

Now, it’s happened to all of us, right? I’ve called people the wrong name by mortifying accident. We mix up words when we’re speaking. This is a common phenomenon. But, unless words and phrases are already in your mind, unless you’re used to thinking and speaking them, they don’t just randomly appear at awkward times.

They just don’t.

The Supreme Court abrogated its responsibility to the women of this country. Is the word “abrogate” going to slip out of your mouth if you rarely, if ever, use that word in daily speech? No, it won’t. And, oh my stars, there are people who never let a swear word cross their lips.

I have never, not once, used a racial slur. I visibly wince if I read one. It’s mentally painful to think of them. I’m hardly alone in that. So it’s both important and obvious to point out that no one accidentally says them in inappropriate places unless they’re used to saying them in their “safe” places. You know what I’m talking about. Home, family, friends, places with other bigots.

You can bet that Mary Miller talks about white life quite frequently in her safe places.



Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life.