What Do Clarence Thomas & Barack Obama Have in Common?
Besides the fact that both were wearing red ties when sworn in by white guys and have intimate connections to white women? This: I’ve seen/heard more angry words by black people for Clarence Thomas than for Antonin Scalia. More angry words for Barack Obama than for Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton (who filled the prisons with black men and turned off the heat for black babies). Few people know that Justice Thomas had to personally move all of the storage boxes out of his office when he finally made it onto the court 21 years ago; that Thomas was offered no help in getting any clerks to help get him up to speed after coming into the court’s term late following the long drama of confirmation after the allegations about his misconduct with Anita Hill. Justice Thomas was “the help.” He still is.
Thomas recently broke his record 7 YEAR silence during oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. I’ve always thought that Thomas’ conspicuous silence is a deliberate acknowledgement and protest by him that, despite all the skinning and grinning any of us can do, under this system of global racism (white supremacy), we’ve got very little meaning–especially within any formal role in white folks’ structures. This is true despite the fact that Supreme Court Justices don’t get booted from office by elections nor, to my knowledge, has any ever been assassinated. So, why, given the much greater risk of harm to himself and his family, would one expect President Obama to be assertive on issues that affect black people?
I find Justice Thomas to be pitiful. And, I’m mostly full of pity for President Obama, too. Heck, I’m at least as pitiful myself. But, I direct my fury towards white folks when forced to confront our condition.
No, I’m not waiting on white folks to save us from them. Neither have I any words of condemnation for black people who participate in white folks’ vast enterprise. I don’t know any black person who can avoid doing that. But—I’d rather have 50 black family law judges or 5,000 city zoning commission members across this part of the world than 1 black president.
Sometimes, I think Mr. Obama was permitted to be elected just so black people could salve our self-esteem by either hailing him as the savior OR by playing a very stylish “dozens” on him instead of feeling better about ourselves because we’re actually significantly increasing our constructive activity.– Because, unfortunately, white folks still know us too well.