Clarence Thomas, victim

Clarence Thomas spoke in class today.

The famously-quiet African-American Supreme Court Justice – who rarely asks any questions during oral arguments, something considered somewhat odd – is still apparently bitter about the welcome he received during his nomination hearing in 1991.

Thomas said during an interview aired on C-SPAN last week that President Obama would have never become President, as a black man, had the media and “elites” not approved of him first.

It’s a rather bitter comment, but at the same time a rather banal one.

The convention wisdom on how mainstream, or dare I say “normal,” a presidential candidate – or any politician – is, will of course play a part in their election. Did it help that then-candidate Obama wasn’t really a socialist and didn’t really belong to the Black Panthers? Why, yes it did. In the same way it hurt Sarah Palin that everyone figured out, rather early on, that she was nuts. Ditto for Clarence Thomas. Not that Thomas was nuts. But it certainly didn’t help his nomination that he was a far-right conservative, no more than a far-left liberal nominee would be helped nowadays.

Thomas’ whining is in fact based in something entirely different. Not that a black man needs the approval of the “elites” to become president or a supreme court justice – I’d argue that any man or woman needs the seal of approval of non-wingnuttery to ease their election, selection, or confirmation. But rather that people still criticize him today for being a sell-out to his own people because he’s a black far-right conservative, and Republicans – especially the far-right ones – don’t like minorities much.

And they don’t.

Thomas would like you to think its okay if he’s a proud member of a team that doesn’t really like people like him. You see, he’s striking a blow for diversity – he thinks.

Clarence-Thomas

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

It’s the same argument gay people who work for anti-gay politicians like to make. Somehow, those of us who criticize them for working against their own humanity are the ones dehumanizing them. We’re trying to fit them inside a “convenient” PC box. By working for people who hate them, and thus helping those politicians hurt the gay community, anti-gay gays are actually helping the gay community by making us more diverse.  So they say.

And I suppose pro-choice women are striking a blow for diversity by working for anti-choice politicians.

Of course, they’re really not. When you work for someone who has little to no respect for your community, for your humanity, then it’s more often than not, in my humble, evidence of your lack of respect in yourself. I can’t promise you that it works that way in the black community, but I’m well aware of how it works in the gay community.

Clarence Thomas is free to be a member of a club that doesn’t like black people. But he’s whining at the wrong people if he wants the criticism to ebb. Force your party to change, Justice Thomas, then get back to us and we’ll talk about whether you have a legitimate role in GOP politics.

CNN held a discussion on this on Monday as well:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • wmforr

    “Changed his name” is just plain silly. I hear when Bush ran for governor he ceased using his college nickname “Fart Mouth”.

  • runfastandwin

    I stand by my assessment. I am aware that his mother is white and that his mother’s family raised him.

  • Sweetie

    Obama is biracial and was mostly raised by white family in Hawaii.

    And, he did do things to position himself as a black man. He changed his name to Barack, for instance. Before college, he used to go by Barry as far as I know. He also started going to Wright’s church and did community organizing.

    Remember that he said he was in favor of gay marriage in 1996 and then did a complete switch. If he hadn’t thought black identity would be helpful to his career ambitions he would have likely downplayed the identity rather than investing in it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Me too. I think that was the first time when I truly realized that no woman would ever be thanked or respected if what she had to say was going to get in the way of some man’s career or ambitions.

  • runfastandwin

    P.S. I will refer to the SC as SCROTUS for the rest of my life. They have made the world a worse place for most of the last 30 years. They suck.

  • runfastandwin

    Anyone who thinks Obama got elected because he is black is nuts. If anything it cost him several million votes.

  • Naja pallida

    I’m sure someone would notice the smell, after Scalia’s yearly scum-removing hose down.

  • Naja pallida

    Dunno, Democrats seem to be doing everything they can to make it happen.

  • MerryMarjie

    I felt so sorry for Anita Hill because she was excoriated for coming forward and telling the truth. Mind you, she wasn’t yelling “Rape!” she was saying she was sexually harassed, and the conservative committee members all but considered her a whore. She was (and still is) a strong woman, an educated woman, and she was thrown to the wolves. I thought then that the Democrats should have stood up for her more forcefully.

  • MerryMarjie

    If Scalia has to wait for another Republican administration, he’s going to have a long wait. Better to retire now and take his chances.

  • pappyvet

    Clarence Thomas is in my opinion one of the leading …….fargoing iceholes on the planet,period

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    He carries a chip the size of a carpet bag on his shoulder.

  • condew

    Everybody forgets the middle class.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    Thomas could sit on the court for another 100 years — if he died, they wouldn’t know the difference…

  • d3clark

    Thomas makes the most sense when he just sits on the bench dozing. If he were more aggressive and vocal, he could have served as Herman Cain’s role-model.

  • Badgerite

    I get a little tired, actually a lot tired, of Thomas complaining about how unappreciated and truly ‘edgy’ he really is. Here’s why he is not appreciated much in the black community. He votes against them a lot. This is also why he is not appreciated much by the community of women. See Lilly Ledbetter case and subsequent Lilly Ledbetter Act to undo the harm of that decision. And in the Lilly Ledbetter case, they really had to twist well settled rules of judicial interpretation of legislative language to come up with that one. So, of course, people in these communities don’t really trust him much. Go figure.

  • cole3244

    clarence thomas, the errand boy of the scotus, conservative wing.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    ‘Sitting’ seems to be all Thomas does, other than vote with the other far-right regressives.

  • Naja pallida

    Thankfully, Scalia is up there in age. There’s a good chance he’ll be gone with the next Republican administration, if he feels comfortable enough to retire and be replaced by someone just as psychotic as he is. Thomas is still relatively young for a Supreme Court justice. He could easily sit on the court for another 10-15 years.

  • Sweetie

    you forgot middle class, as did the author of the post

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The one I most want to see retired is Scalia.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No you’re right, it was pathetic. “He didn’t sexually harass ME personally and I didn’t see him do it to other women, so it must never have happened.”

    The only ‘lynching’ that happened during those hearings was what Anita Hill had to endure, and the appallingly disrespectful behavior of many Senators on the confirmation committee.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    “Incompetent mediocrity.” Brilliant. That, along with “blatantly corrupt” essentially define his term on the bench.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Opus Dei Catholic martyr

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    WTF?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    He and his wiflelet are also blatantly corrupt and rather proud that they are above the law. Thomas is largely responsible for destroying the credibility of the Supreme Court. His only contributions like those of friend Dick Cheney have been to damage the common good of the nation and bring disgrace to just law. He is an incompetent mediocrity that history will dismiss. The very idea of comparing him to Thurgood Marshal makes it vividly apparent.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Sister Condi Rice sings the same Auntie Tom tunes ,but in bad Russian , while skating backwards, simultaneously playing the piano and , keeping one eye out for that mushroom cloud.

  • UncleBucky

    Is he still under warranty, or can we just please get a replacement in the next 2.5 years?

  • ARP

    If I understand, he acknowledges that his race helped him get to where he is. He has also made it fairly clear that he thinks Obama got to where we was due to his race. But, Thomas has an inferiority complex about that because he feels he didn’t properly “earn” his place. Therefore, he’s going to use his power (which he should not have) to prevent others from achieving unless they “properly” earn their place (i.e. without Affirmative Action). So, he has no problem using his ill-gotten (in his mind) power to keep others down so they don’t suffer the same fate.

    So, for him to say that any black person that comes to a position of power must meet the expectations of the “elites” makes him the victim again. If they get ahead because of their race, that’s bad. If they get ahead because they say the right things (or the things that are expected), they’re an “Uncle Tom” of sorts. So, only a conservative black person who has received no special help is “pure” enough to have properly earned his place. Jesus, this guy must have shoes and a hat to match his baggage.

  • emjayay

    I certainly remember the hearings. He was installed by Republican elites who approved of him because they wanted a Republican black person on the Supreme Court who was on the side of the elites. That’s why he was the head of the EEOC as well. And the two women Wall Street Journal reporters who wrote the book agree with you.

    “High tech lynching” my eye. Not high tech in any way and not exactly a lynching either. I always wondered if he thought that one up or if it was by a team of Republican PR/speechwriter people. He was lying his way through the hearings and I knew it. Oh, and sorry ladies but the most truly pathetic thing in those hearings was the group of EEOC women who defended him.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What a moronic remark for Thomas to make.

    He’s just pissed because he knows that significant numbers of Americans do remember his confirmation hearings and quite a few of us do believe a serial sexual harasser and porn addict was installed on the Supreme Court.

    Back then, he tried to play the race card over and over again, but it didn’t work. He’s no Thurgood Marshall and it probably sticks in Thomas’s craw to know he’ll never be remembered in history as well-regarded or respected.

    The so-called “media and elites” didn’t approve of Thomas, yet his nomination still passed. And how did he repay the country which elevated him to the highest unelected office we have in our federal government? By giving all appearances of not especially wanting to do the job, never participating in hearings, hardly ever writing case opinions, and virtually never voting any way other than Scalia seems to be telling him to do.

  • judybrowni

    He’s a kiss-ass whiny Oreo — at best.

  • fritzrth

    Is is somehow appropriate that his name is Thomas … even if it is his last name?

  • nicho

    Pffft.

  • nicho

    Thomas is best buds with Rush Limbaugh. One of Limbaugh’s marriages took place in Thomas’ living room — with Thomas officiating. As the nuns used to warn us, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you what you are.”

  • http://twitter.com/VirgoWriter Brad Windhauser

    What a jerk.

  • clarenceswinney

    BUSH MUSEUM
    Will it contain:
    Increased Spending `1800B to3500B or 90%
    Increased deficit from Surplus to 1400B Deficit
    Increased debt from 5800B to 11.900B
    Decreased 237,000 jobs per month to 31,000 or lowest since Hoover
    Initiated invasion of two destitute, unarmed, innocent nation.
    Alienated 1500 Million Muslims that created hatred in many sick minds
    Torture-Torture-Torture
    Created enough damage to justify trial by International War Crimes Commission.
    Nice Guy. Affected by Cheney-Rumsfeld-Neo-Con Disease of Imperialism

  • Freday63

    Common antonyms for “elite” are: Common, low-class, lower, lower-class, ordinary, poor, worst…So which one best describes you Thomas?

  • http://www.facebook.com/monoceros.forth Monoceros Forth

    Those liberal “elites” again. *rolls eyes* Lord, it’s always grotesque when a Republican tries to pretend he’s jes’ folks (not like those snooty latte-sippers.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000160443371 Chico Gonzalez

    This article has way too many writing errors. The writer is supposedly an editor, but I call bullshit on that one.

  • S1AMER

    The man seems to become even more deranged from rage as the years go by. With most people, that would be sad. When you’re talking about a Supreme Court justice, though, that means many people, and their lives and their livelihoods, are at risk.

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