by Dr. John E. Warren
A number of people in the African American community have known about the character of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas since before his appointment to the high Court. In fact, it was considered a disgrace to replace someone with the character, intellect and commitment to the struggle of Black people with the likes of Clarence Thomas. When the great debate during his confirmation hearing over the allegations from attorney Anita Hill surfaced and Thomas accused his detractors of committing a legal lynching of him, there was a shortness of sympathy for a man who should never have been nominated in the first place. His subsequent inaction on the court, and his conservative leaning almost always against anything that benefited Black people earned him the name “Uncle Tom” instead of “Justice Thomas”.
But it’s time to set the record straight. The Uncle Tom of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, had real character. While he appeared to be subservient and docile as a good slave, those characteristics were used to help him disguise the good he was actually about doing to help others. He had character that allowed him to put himself at risk helping others. Justice Clarence Thomas, on the hand, has shown that he is about helping himself first and always.
The favors, money and deals with his billionaire friends, his wife’s support of the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the lie that they never discussed matters of the January 6 riot in which people lost their lives, all reveal what most of us already knew from the beginning, that Justice Thomas was and is always about his interest and not the people.
Let us no longer insult the life and story of Uncle Tom which was actually based on the real life slave, Josia Henson. Let’s just call Thomas the person without character that he is and call for his impeachment, which we know will never happen in the Republican controlled House of Representatives where impeachment proceedings must start before they reach the Senate.
Let’s just call him Clarence Thomas, and know who he really is.
(Dr. John E. Warren is Publisher, San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper)