Yesterday I listened to the Steve Kroft’s 60 Minutes interview with Justice Thomas (part 2 here). Shortly after that I received an email announcing last night’s Tavis Smiley’s show, where the panelists were set to have Justice Thomas drawned and quartered over his 60 Minutes interview. The panelists are upset over Thomas’s insistence on self-reliance and hard work. Take a look:
Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League: “He (Thomas) seems to have forgotten that he doesn’t stand by himself, he stands amongst many who’ve experienced scrimination, who’ve experienced the pain of racial injustice, yet not at a single point in his career has he used the power of his office…to help those who he professed to be concerned about.”
Cornel West, Princeton Professor: “They presented this story as if those us who are critics (of Clarence Thomas) have no good reasons to be critical of him siding with the strong against the weak, and the powerful against the relatively powerless. I thought ’60 Minutes’ was all about journalism, what has happened to journalism these days where all you get is puff pieces that constitute an advertisement for a book. Especially with someone like Clarence Thomas who’s been a lightning-rod of this debate among all Americans concerned about truth and justice on the court and in our society.”
Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia Professor: “Justice Thomas used (60 Minutes) as yet another opportunity to vilify Anita Hill.”
For the record, here are his words at the 60 Minutes interview,
“She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed.”
I wouldn’t call that vilification.
My experience as a Puerto Rican woman has taught me that there is a culture of victimology that will not accept any “minority” person who is her own person and who doesn’t believe in reverse discrimination/affirmative action. But of course, there’s more to the Thomas story.
This morning the NYT carries an op-ed piece by Anita Hill.
Back when the Anita Hill testimony was burning the airwaves (on network TV since I didn’t have cable), I was never convinced by her claims for a number of reasons:
1. First of all, the powerful political motivation to destroy him.
2. The fact that Anita Hill, with all her credentials, experience and connections never filed a complaint. My experience has been that on every job I’ve had there’s always a guy who gets fresh. I have been assertive enough and lucky enough that a clear, unequivocal “Stop that” has worked, but even without Hill’s connections I would have filed a complaint – back in the days before Anita Hill made it to the headlines.
3. And, the underling question, why did she follow Thomas to the EEOC ten years after having been treated so offensively by him at the Dept. of Education? Surely there were other opportunities where she could have done at least as well, without having to work for anyone so obnoxious.
Ed Morrissey, Paul Mirengoff and Richard Miniter talked to Justice Thomas about his book and the book tour, which of course doesn’t include Columbia U, since he’s not “a Middle East dictator with nuclear weapons.” Go read them both, and decide for yourselves if Justice Thomas is “siding with the strong against the weak.”