Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I believe Dr. Anita Hill

...I always have. And I hate that she, once again, is being painted as a lazy, lying, whore, by Clarence Thomas and his right-wing buddies--Clarence Thomas, who wastes no time whipping out the race card when it is convenient. In his new book, "Clarence Thomas: A Silent Justice Speaks Out," he writes of his contentious confirmation hearing:

"The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns," Thomas wrote. "Its weapons
were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages
of America's newspapers. It no longer sought to break the bodies of its victims.
Instead it devastated their reputations and drained away their hope.

"But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose — to keep the
black man in his place — was unchanged." Thomas wrote. "Strip away the fancy
talk and you were left with the same old story: You can't trust black men around
women. This one may be a big-city judge with a law degree from Yale, but when
you get right down to it, he's just like the rest of them. They all do that sort
of thing whenever they get the chance, and no woman would ever lie about it."
As he describes his emotions, his words of rage literally leap of the page.
When he enters the hearing room and takes his seat, he levels his own

"This is a circus. It is a national disgrace," his voice in
tightly focused anger. "And from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I
am concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign
to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it
is a message that, unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen
to you, you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S.
Senate rather than hung from a tree." SOURCE

It is appalling that in 1991, Clarence "no affirmative action" Thomas cried racism and claimed to be victimized by stereotypes about black men, while using heinous stereotypes about black women (not to mention single and career women) to denigrate Dr. Hill. It is even worse that he now gets a chance to assault the victim of his harassment yet again, as he pimps his book on the media circuit. Thank God, Hill is being allowed to have her say. Yesterday The New York Times published as Op-Ed by Anita Hill, in which she shares:

Regrettably, since 1991, I have repeatedly seen this kind of character
attack on women and men who complain of harassment and discrimination in the
workplace. In efforts to assail their accusers’ credibility, detractors
routinely diminish people’s professional contributions. Often the accused is a
supervisor, in a position to describe the complaining employee’s work as
“mediocre” or the employee as incompetent. Those accused of inappropriate
behavior also often portray the individuals who complain as bizarre caricatures
of themselves — oversensitive, even fanatical, and often immoral — even though
they enjoy good and productive working relationships with their

Finally, when attacks on the accusers’ credibility fail, those
accused of workplace improprieties downgrade the level of harm that may have
occurred. When sensing that others will believe their accusers’ versions of
events, individuals confronted with their own bad behavior try to reduce
legitimate concerns to the level of mere words or “slights” that should be
dismissed without discussion.

Fortunately, we have made progress since 1991. Today, when
employees complain of abuse in the workplace, investigators and judges are more
likely to examine all the evidence and less likely to simply accept as true the
word of those in power. But that could change. Our legal system will suffer if a
sitting justice’s vitriolic pursuit of personal vindication discourages others
from standing up for their rights. SOURCE
(Full article)

It's not easy being a professional black woman. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Hill twice and felt an immediate kinship. I never told her that I admire her, but I do. She is classy and whip-smart with considerable professional and academic accomplishments, but I admire her most for bravely speaking out when staying silent would have been easier and much more comfortable.


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