The Real Clarence Thomas

Bitter attacks, tenacious defenses, and great promotion—not to speak of the best TV in a generation—have made David Brock's book on The Real Anita Hill a best-seller. As Brock admits, he proves neither Clarence Thomas's innocence nor Anita Hill's perfidy. But by scouring the transcript of the Senate hearings, he does show that Hill's reputation as victim-martyr of male sexual harassment is overblown. This may have shocked those who tried to canonize her, but conservatives have known it all along. What they have not known is what Brock shows about Thomas. Despite "efforts to portray Thomas as a right-wing ideologue," Brock writes, "his views on race relations were not conventionally conservative." To put it mildly.

Although Thomas called segregation as it existed in the Georgia of his youth "close to totalitarianisnr," he himself led a privileged life. He received, from racial eons, free education at a Catholic parochial school near his home in Pinpoint, at a minor seminary near Savannah, and at a major seminary in Missouri. Although Catholic parishioners had spent a lot of money on him, Thomas dropped out of seminary when he overheard one seminarian whisper to another after Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot: "God, I hope the s.o.b. dies." Thomas called this a manifestation of racism, and Brock agrees. Or maybe it was the unconsidered remark of a college-age...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here