Saturday, September 29, 2007

I Feel For Clarence Thomas...

I just ran across a Washington Post article flogging the upcoming book by Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. No plugs for the book here. Thomas is an odious, pathetic figure. Like Condi Rice, Thomas's canon derives from continuing to suck the intellectual teat of a white person who was once a mentor (An original idea?! From Condi or Clarence?! Adjust your medication). But what struck me about the review was the extremity of the racial pathology evident in Thomas's apparent take on his life.

One passage in particular screams I NEED HELP:
As a child in the Deep South, I'd grown up fearing the lynch mobs of the Ku Klux Klan; as an adult, I was starting to wonder if I'd been afraid of the wrong white people all along," he writes. "My worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia, but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony.
When you decide that the ACLU is more dangerous than The KKK and you're black? You have left Planet Reality. You've left it abruptly enough and completely enough that we have to conclude that you're going to be gone for a while... like maybe forever.

Here's what the country's premiere black jurist has to say about the effect affirmative action had on the one credential that gave him entrée to the position he holds:

I'd graduated from one of America's top law schools -- but racial preference had robbed my achievement of its true value.

Did they rig his tests? Did they pass him the answers to the DC Bar Exam? Did he get the same dispensation George W. got at Yale? Since Clarence Thomas his own self considers his Yale Law Degree a sham, how does he drag his ass to the bench every day? How does he look in the mirror? Why hasn't he resigned and moved in with Ward Connerly?

Here's a passage about the night he learned of his confirmation:

But by the time he was confirmed, he said, the prize meant little. Instead of watching the Senate roll call, he drew himself a bath. His wife came to tell him he had been confirmed 52 to 48.

"Whoop-dee-damn-doo," Thomas writes.

Where to begin? The effects of realizing that you have to live out your existence as a black person in America can be enormous. You can go with "Oh, well! What The hell!" or you can curse God like Captain Kirk cursed Khan for leaving him so completely in the shit. Thomas has chosen the latter.

I actually feel sorry for Thomas. Someone very close to me has the same attitude toward black people as Thomas does. To this person, black people--his own people--are dangerous and scary and the source of life's deepest and most original pains. I can say from personal experience that the faces of my earliest pains--my deepest, most traumatic, rawest humiliations--those faces were black. Do I avoid black people? No. (The man I admire second-most after my brother had a rough time growing up black and he's a bit difficult to communicate with, but he has a heart of gold and I love him as I love my brother, but don't tell him).

It's still really tough for some black people in this country. The Jena 6 and my previously-noted BillO Bloviations (see archive) are all I need to say on the subject for now.

Racism is what brought us to Iraq. Racism is what has us threatening Iran. As my history teacher at the College of San Mateo, Dr. Charles Haight, taught me, "follow the money!" Who benefits from racism? Who benefits from denying entire populations their dreams simply on the basis of appearance and how do they benefit?

Race is a lie. A vicious lie. Clarence Thomas is Exhibit A. I'm sorry for him.

UPDATE: I saw Clarence Thomas's interview with 60 Minutes last night. It was the portrait of a person being eaten alive from the inside. I hadn't heard the title of his book when I first posted. The title--My Grandfather's Son--obviously is freighted with Freudian implications. We'll let his analysts sort those out. But it sticks out for me because it brings to mind Ron White's Dictum: You Can't Fix Stupid. No matter what Thomas means, the title is about his father--the one that abandoned him. Can't be read any other way. Sorry.


Anonymous said...


Kudos and congrats on your blog... wish you the greatest success...

looking forward to stopping by often...

Jo at TT

Karl Northman said...

This is pretty much how I felt, especially about the "whoop de doo" thing. I mean, dude, if it doesn't mean anything to you, why don't you just resign and let the job go to someone who won't be an appendage of Fat Tony.

"Racism is what brought us to Iraq. Racism is what has us threatening Iran."

I think that's part of it, the old "lesser breeds without the law" type of it - but I think there's a good deal of old-fashioned greed and megalomania in there as well.

MacDaffy said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jo. I'm going to keep this thing flying as long as possible. Kind of exciting.

And Karl? Thanks for your comment. You're dead-on, as usual.

MQS said...


You have to wonder about the depths of self-loathing. The Court is one of the highest honors this country can grant and that's all he had to say. At some level he must have believed he was unworthy.

That may be the most telling indictment of racism and bigotry in general. That it can drive people to that degree of self-hatred.

Agree with karl. Imperial racism is one of the drives and excuses, greed is reason.

Congrats on the blogg, MacDaff. Looking forward to more commentary.

MacDaffy said...

Thank you, MQS, and welcome!

tjcj said...

black self-hatred is the benign brain eating ameoba that all black people are born with waiting....just waiting to be activated and sprung into action. It will eat us up before we know what hit us. For some it flexs and throbs but does not grow for the brain tells the heart that it must endure the pain and move on. For other it lays dormant and the brain is oblivious and tells the heart to ignore compassion for others. For even much more of us sadly it makes itself to the brain neither flexing or throbbing just being and the brain tells the heart to stop beating.

good luck my Island Griot!


MacDaffy said...

If the virus of self-hatred has encountered you, tjcj, it grazed you instead of wounding you. Wonderful to see you here on the blog. And thank you for your comments. I want this to be a place where we can talk about race in a forthright, honest way.

The-powers-that-be want to continue using it as a wedge against us, but time and familiarity and common cause are killing race as a divider.