Reflections on the Clarence Thomas Nomination and Sexual Harassment Hearings and How Black Folks Were Tricked…
In the wake of the hearings in which Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor has accused the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, an op-ed piece by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times makes a very interesting and sad, observation.
Excerpts from Blow’s commentary points out the following:
“Thomas’s nomination put black America in a bind: Oppose Thomas and risk having no Black representation on the court, or support him in spite of his hostile views. Black civil rights groups were hesitant to take a stand one way or the other on Thomas, even though years earlier he had berated these groups, saying all they do is “moan and whine.” “
Then came the allegation of sexual harassment brought by Professor Anita Hill, and everything changed. It is not that Hill wasn’t credible, but it was that Thomas was on the defensive and the image of yet another black man under attack from a group of White men had an eerie echo of (Rodney) King under assault from the L.A.P.D. (which took place months before Thomas was nominated).
“The hearings that followed, including compelling, credible testimony from Hill and the demeaning way in which she was treated, was extraordinary, must-see television. “Then, Thomas provoked Blacks to circle the wagons when he declared the hearings a “high-tech lynching for uppity Blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.” He continued: “And it is a message, that unless you kowtow to an old order you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”
“After the hearings, The Chicago Tribune reported on an ABC News-Washington Post poll that showed support for Thomas’s confirmation had actually risen to 56 percent. But as the paper pointed out: “Thomas’s support was strongest among Blacks, with 70 percent backing his nomination; 50 percent of Whites support him.
Another weekend poll, conducted by The Los Angeles Times, said 51 percent overall believed the Senate should confirm Thomas, down from 54 percent in September. But when broken down by race, the figures showed 61 percent of Blacks backed Thomas’s confirmation, up from 55 percent in September, while only 50 percent of Whites said he should be confirmed.
“Black people, to their everlasting regret, backed Thomas, as did the Senate, over Hill’s warnings.”
Thomas is only one of two Blacks to have ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court. He followed the stellar tenure of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, a champion for civil rights. Thomas has been described as the “anti Thurgood Marshall.”