Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Anita Hill

Clarence Thomas, one of the most self-loathing, hateful black public figures I can think of, has written a memoir. Despite my extreme dislike of him, I am curious about this tome. He has risen above extreme poverty; he clearly posesses an intellect and determination that many, including some of his more privileged classmates at Yale, lack. That said, he is probably also a victim of his own delusions of grandeur and persecution. A smart, angry and crazy person.

The details of Anita Hill's testimony during Thomas' confirmation to the Supreme Court are shocking and offensive. If one considers the context, the time in which these two black people worked, the administrations in which they operated, and the cultural zeitgeist of the time, it easy to see how they occurred. It is a damning fact that Anita Hill's testimony was dismissed, by virtue of her gender and race. That in 1991 this attitude was acceptable is infuriating to say the least.

Now, Thomas discusses Anita Hill in his book, My Grandfather's Son. And while I haven't read these passages, I think his efforts to smear her as a "mediocre employee" and immature (in his 60 minutes interview) deserve rebuttal. He is probably correct in suggesting that were they not black, the degree of scrutiny of the episodes of sexual harassment might have been lessened (although, after the Monica Lewinsky, Mark Foley and Larry Craig scandals, I'm not sure if those hearings weren't just the opening salvo in an ongoing effort to allow congressional inquiry into the sexual behavior of public figures), but I am hard-pressed to believe that Ms. Hill made all that up. And so, I link to her op-ed in the NY Times, so that I might help her to have her say as well.

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