Congressman Calls Clarence Thomas An “Uncle Tom” While Few Denounce The Race-Based Attack

220px-Clarence_Thomas220px-Bennie_Thompson,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressI have been a long critic of many of Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinions which often reject basic individual rights while embracing police and national security powers. However, I believe that Thomas is often treated unfairly for being a black conservative on the Court. While others like Justices Alito, Scalia, and Roberts routinely vote along the same lines, Thomas’ race is commonly cited in commentary while that is not a factor in the other justices on the right of the Court. This unfairness was vividly shown by the comments of Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) that Thomas is an “Uncle Tom” and suggested that he was not an authenticate black person. He has refused to retract or apologize of the attack. In the meantime, Democrats are uniformly silent in the face of this uncivil and outrageous attack.

In an interview with CNN, Thompson said that Thomas apparently “doesn’t like black people, he doesn’t like being black.” After raising votes in areas like voting rights, he added that “All those issues are very important and for someone in the court who’s African American and not sensitive to that is a real problem.”

Let’s be clear, I did not view Thomas as someone who was well-suited for the Court. However, many of these justices and their predecessors were on an the top lists of legal experts. They were selected for their lack of prior controversy or other more political factors. What concerns me is that his race is constantly raised by critics. He has every right to be a conservative and has shown a consistent and committed jurisprudence supporting those views. I do not agree with those positions but I fail to see why he should be defined by his race. Indeed, I thought that one of the key objectives of the civil right movement was to allow African Americans to be judged not by the color of their skin. Thomas follows the same interpretive approach as his colleagues — an approach mind you that is not supposed to be based not on a jurist’s personal desires or association with any group. He is not supposed to show loyalty to a particular group or fulfill expectations due to his race. I have no problem with criticizing Thomas for his votes in the same way as we often criticize his colleagues, but he should not face a race test by critics.

Thomas deserves better. I have always been moved by his life’s story. His father was a farm worker and his mother was a domestic worker. They were poor and both descendants of American slaves. The family spoke Gullah as a first language. His mother literally worked for pennies a day and his early life was spent in a home without indoor plumbing. The second of three children, he later lived with his grandparents when they became homeless. Thomas was the only black person at his high school in Savannah and yet was able to remain an honor student. He went on to attend college and Yale Law School. While few seem to want to admit it, that is a remarkable and inspiring life. He developed conservative principles and values in his life. Some find that incomprehensible but his incredible struggle produced a strong personality and will that can be admired even if you strongly disagree with his views.

What concerns me most is the virtual silence from Democrats to denounce this type of race-based attack. Being called an Uncle Tom is obviously deeply offensive to African Americans. Thomas and his family have gone through too much suffering and struggle to be treated so unfairly in my view. The suggestion is that being genuinely black requires you to reach the right conclusions and support the right positions. However, the very struggle that Thompson is describing was a fight to allow black men and women to be treated as individuals and not categorized by the color of their skin. Thompson should apologize and Democrats should show that they are not selectively outraged by race-based attacks.

What do you think?

Source: Washington Post

657 thoughts on “Congressman Calls Clarence Thomas An “Uncle Tom” While Few Denounce The Race-Based Attack”

  1. Al,

    You are one hell of a guy. Sorry about the kids. Keep us informed about your life on the lam. We may all need a “How To’ guide.

  2. I am on the lamb sitting in the Atlanta Airport waiting for a flight. Going west. When I get to Vegas I will reveal that I am going there to unwind. Picked up my money stash from my backyard burial vault in the home that got sold and the new owners were good about me digging up their backyard. Cut the kids out of my estate on Friday at the lawyers office. Got a guardian appointed for my medical needs. Kids are out of my life. Kids. They are in their forties. But back to the thread here on Uncle Thomas. I think Scalia needs a nick name as well. Grampa Nitto might do. I think Ruth would go along with that. If anyone got to see Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antoni Scalia on television last week then you were probably as impressed with her as I was. All these folks are trying to get her to retire so that Obama can appoint someone else. She is only 81. She is bright as a tack and really has a command of constitutional history. Scalia was impressive too. She calls him Nitto or Ninno, I could not discern. Next time you hear from me I will have a new comment name. If will be off the charts so to speak.

  3. Byron,

    When I was 13 I read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘The Foutainhead’. I thought they were terrific.

    Then I grew up.

  4. feynman:

    you will love this:

    “One could not judge the morality of a gay person just on the basis of his or her orientation. One would have to look at the context of that person’s life; to see how he or she functioned as a human being qua human being; to see how he or she — within the paradigmatic configurations of sexual orientation — behaved sexually: Was one promiscuous; did one remain faithful to the values of monogamy and honesty if such were the terms of one’s spousal contract with another; did one behave sexually like a farm animal, or did one choose sexual partners who represented one’s highest values?”

    Holy shit, she is everywhere and showing the way. When a black homosexual from Jamaica embraces Ayn Rand, well the times they are a changing. And for the better.

  5. Folks: I have one more suggestion for the Uncle Tom dialogue. Down the road the Supreme Court will overrule some aspect of our voting rights, whether it is a provision of the Voting Rights Act itself or some allowance for Photo IDs in Maine. When it does go South on the Constitution the issue on Justice Thomas will arise again. Some say the South Will Rise Again! but that is another issue. I suggest that we tone down our denigration a bit to comport with Civility Rules. I know that I brought in the Uncle Clarence thing a couple hundred comments back but I suggest that we call him Uncle Thomas. If the decision by the Court is real bad and he writes the Majority Opinion we might say Uncle Thom-ass. Employing his first name with the Uncle word is perhaps too slighty. His full last name might be more civil.

    On another note I have vacated my room at the Old Farts home back in Tick Bite at high noon and am on the lame. If you have kids there is one thing that you do not want them involved in. That is your place of residence. Mine think they do me a favor by putting me in lock up. That way they have no guilt if I fall down some steps. They are the ones who added my new name to my medical charts. So I adopted the Al name. Next time you hear from me I will have a new name. No name, no blame.

  6. See, This was a civil, substantive thread today, great job everyone.

  7. Feynman, Only outta love I am trying again. I hardly ever get retrieved. Dairy is inspected @ the farm storage point. Cows are also inspected. The milk haulers are inspected, and so is the processing plants. I think govt. is nanny in this regard, but I’ll hold off on that to make sure this gets published. This is what you want.

  8. George, They’ll need to get their quota of honky’s from Europe, US white boys can’t jump. If you notice, a high % of Caucasians are from Europe, even one or 2 from the Caucus Region I think.

  9. I think the NBA needs to inact Affirmative Action since 76% of the league is Black. I mean after all those who support it in colleges have to support this as well. Secondly, the evidence used against Mr. Sterling is a violation of his fourth amendment rights. Acting on emotion is the biggest foul up a country can make because eventually the smoke clears and you are left with less rights.

    1. They cannot refute it George. Everyone knows affirmative action was discriminatory. Let’s do it in Congress as well as the NBA. High school baseball, football, track and basketball.

      When a Judge can rule that a Municipality can discriminate against a Citizens higher IQ level when hiring police officers, because they believe that employee retention is better served by this policy, even though it may be correct, our nation is in grave trouble.

  10. Feynman, I just made 2 attempts to answer you but wordpress ate it. Maybe they too have you on a question quota.

  11. Patience, patience, my brother, I just got back from my walk. The dairy inspectors inspect both the dairy farms and how the milk is stored, the dairy haulers[most every farmer contracts w/ haulers], and then the dairy processing plants. I do have a beef w/ state inspectors in the dairy state. There is a mini revolt ongoing that does not comport w/ your ideology. An organic farmer has a small coop where he sells raw milk to families and artisan cheesemakers. He was charged criminally in Juneau County last year. The jury acquitted the farmer, but here’s the greater part. Eight of the twelve jurors joined the coop after the trial. A BIG MIDDLE FINGER to nanny govt. Your thoughts, Fenyman?

  12. Nick,

    Paul was confused about what the food inspectors would be inspecting. He thought it was for the hay. It was for the dairy cows and the milk they produce. I thought you could explain. I was mistaken.

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