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.
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: