is back in the news. Not only has the Supreme Court begun the fall docket, but he has released a new book, "My Grandfather's Son," for sale. Justice Thomas is doing the obligatory book tour to tout the book in hopes that millions of Americans run out to buy it. I haven't read the book, but if his interview on 60 Minutes
and other articles on the matter are any indication, this book will be quite a read.
I ran across a very interesting article on Reason Online
entitled "Native Son, Why A Black Supreme Court Justice Has No Rights A White Man Need Respect." It was in 1857 during the Dred Scott case when the question was raised as to whether Blacks were or were not property and therefore if they had or had no rights as a human being. Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney is quoted as saying, "A Negro has no rights which a white man need respect." This article (dated February 1992) gives an in depth analysis as to how Clarence Thomas was the victim of a very old idea called racism:
One of the major reasons for the persistent problem is that millions of white adult Americans define "racism" as its most pathological manifestations: wearing white gowns and hoods, burning crosses, tarring and feathering blacks, hunting them down with dogs. Because those same millions of white Americans would not dream of committing such atrocities; because they vote for political representatives who pass civil-rights bills; because they applauded Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall; because they respect the changing nomenclature by which certain blacks wish to be addressed, they imagine themselves to be free of racism.
What they have never learned is that racism is an idea, a very old and intransigent idea. That idea exists on an unbroken continuum -- all the way from a form that is fully conscious to a form that is unconscious. Its manifestations can range from the most grossly offensive and scornful invective to a compulsive noblesse oblige that cannot permit itself to make any criticisms at all. But whatever the degree or kind of racism, it invariably contains a double standard: The racist simply does not treat black individuals the same way he treats whites.
The effect of stereotypes on blacks is a sense of being unseen, as in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The effect on whites is the corollary: They do not perceive blacks as real or make the same fine discriminations among blacks that they habitually make among whites. In the last analysis, they do not perceive black individuals; they perceive black skins. And this remains true at every step of the continuum.
It should not, therefore, come as an insuperable shock that the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court were a racist phenomenon. The "nice" kind; no Simon Legrees or fiery crosses here. But racist nonetheless. Setting aside old segregationist Strom Thurmond, who conscientiously counterfeited a dead man and may, for all I know, actually have been dead, the other senators participated, singly and collectively -- and unwittingly -- in a process that ceaselessly generated negative stereotypes about Thomas.
The author goes on to lay out the racist stereotypes that were applied Thomas from the day he was nominated by President George Bush (the first) until the day he was confirmed by the Senate:The Nomination President Bush LIED when he told the nation that Clarence Thomas was the "best" candidate and that he was not chosen because he was Black. Everyone knew that there were other candidates as qualified as (or more qualified than) Clarence Thomas and he was only nominated because he was Black. The nomination was an affirmative action move to maintain a Black seat on the Supreme Court by a party who was against affirmative action.
The Art of Evasion Supreme Court nominees normally do not answer questions about how they will rule on specific situations that may come before them on the bench (i.e. abortion, affirmative action, death penalty, etc.). This works well for white candidates, but when a Black man is evasive, he comes off as being dumb! This label of being not as well-versed on the issues has dogged Justice Thomas since he took his seat on the bench. To this day, it has been implied (and explicitly expressed) that Thomas is a dim-witted right-wing puppet with no original ideas.
The Character Issue Thomas was held up as a clean, obedient, yes-man for the Republican party, he had a "mentor" in Senator John Danforth who had to vouch for Thomas's impeccable credentials as a lawyer and judge. Although, Thomas had a career outside his short time clerking for Danforth, it was essential that he had a white man who could stand for him and "assure" the Senate Committee that this was "a good one"!
The Abortion Issue Thomas was asked almost 100 times to explain what his legal and political opinions would be on any upcoming abortion case. Since no Supreme Court nominee would touch that question with a ten foot pole, Thomas ended up taking the Fifth over 100 times... see the Art of Evasion above!
Anita Hill The article states that Thomas's favorite book is Richard Wright's Native Son, the story of Bigger Thomas, a young Black man who is wrongly accused of the rape and murder of a white woman in the South in the 1940's. The biggest fear of any Black man during that time was to be accused of even looking a white person in the eye, much less, being accused of a sex crime and murder against a white woman! Any Black man was a dead man. Fast forward to 1991 and imagine the horror (and irony) of Clarence Thomas being accused of a sex crime (harassment), a "he said-she said" crime where he could never ever prove his innocence. As with Bigger Thomas, Clarence Thomas was subjected to a "high tech lynching."
Black-on-Black Blacks were turned against Clarence Thomas on Day One and he was NEVER given the opportunity of redemption. He was introduced as a conservative, Black Republican, a devotee of Ronald Reagan and everything liberal, Black Democrats were against... so he has carried that House Nigger title without ever being given the benefit of the doubt. To my way of thinking, this is probably the most damning and most egregious form of racism... turning one Black man against another because of politics. This has divided us and conquered us at every turn since our shackled ancestors walked off that very first slave ship.
Another article of note is from the Washington Post
. As a result of a hard life, Justice Thomas lashes out at just about everyone in his new book. The article
states that "Justice Clarence Thomas settles scores in an angry and vivid forthcoming memoir, scathingly condemning the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court, and the "mob" of liberal elites and activist groups that he says desecrated his life." The article (and 60 Minutes
interview) shed some light on why he is so bitter:Family Life Abandoned by his parents and raised by a stern and authoritarian grandfather, it appears that Thomas never felt loved or wanted by anyone. When he dropped out of seminary school, his grandfather kicked him out.
The Segregated South The blatant racism with which he was raised always looms over his relationships with Blacks and whites.
Religion Thomas had plans on becoming a priest, but disparaging remarks by priests concerning the MLK assassination made him question his religion and was the impetus of him dropping out of the seminary.
Law Degree Although, he received a law degree from Yale, he credits affirmative action for diminishing the value of the degree thus making it difficult for him to find a job after graduation, more than anything, this appears to be the reason why he is against affirmative action and quotas. To this day, people talk about how he was the benefactor of affirmative action, but his counter is the double edged sword that casts doubts on the value or worth of those who benefit from it.
Senate Confirmation Hearings Everyone is familiar with him lashing out at the Senators with his "high tech lynching" comment. The process left such a bad taste in his mouth that he credits that process with ruining his life and he frankly hoped that he did not get confirmed.
Self Hate It appears that he doesn't understand why every Black person does not get up and work like HELL to uplift the race like the grandfather who raised him. I think he looks out at Black America and sees (by and large) a group of lazy and shiftless niggers! It seems to me that he is ashamed to be a member of this race.
View and read the transcript of the 60 Minutes
:I watched 60 Minutes
on Sunday evening and discussed the Clarence Thomas interview with my wife. We both agreed that he has to be the most bitter man alive. He is so filled with disgust about his life and how that shred of a life that he had was utterly destroyed during his Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings.
As a moderate, plezWorld
has taken a vastly different approach to Clarence Thomas as evidenced in my Clarence Thomas: American Hero
post. For some reason, I've been able to muster up some empathy for the misunderstood and sad man who is Clarence Thomas, only the second Black Supreme Court Justice.
In his book, Thomas writes of his Senate Confirmation Hearings, "The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns. Its weapons were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages of America's newspapers. But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose -- to keep the black man in his place -- was unchanged." It is obvious that he understands that he was a victim of racism, I don't think he understands that the Republicans who propped him up where as racist as the Democrats who attacked him.
Clarence Thomas is a sad and bitter man who appears to find no joy in being a member of the highest court in the land. In the television interview, he had a difficult time even referring to himself as a Black man. To me that was the saddest revelation of all: he hates life, he hates what life has done to him, and above all, he hates himself. That is sad...