The white man ain’t the devil I promise
You want to see the devil take a look at Clarence Thomas.
Essayists have taken the Thomas–dissecting cottage industry to new heights. Michael Thelwell, an Afro–American studies scholar, writes: “Perhaps black people ought to give serious thought to retiring Clarence from general use as a name in our communities.”
This is what Moye was talking about—Thomas has become an infamous cultural symbol. The Notorious C.T.
In September 1997, Moye happened to be seated next to Judge Higginbotham at a Harvard Law School dinner at Legal Sea Foods in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At one point, still curious after all these years, Moye leaned over and asked if Higginbotham had ever received a private reply to his letter. No, the judge said, he hadn’t. It was the last time Moye would see Higginbotham.
Thomas was terribly bothered by Higginbotham’s criticism, he confided to friends, for it seemed to defy customary judicial decorum and was so unsparing. In 1998, Higginbotham opposed having Thomas speak to the National Bar Association convention in Memphis, saying it was like inviting George Wallace to dinner after he stood in the schoolhouse door and promised to maintain segregation forever. After the usual controversy over his appearance and much hand–wringing, Thomas did speak to the group. In remarks that veered from self–pitying to combative, he maintained that the “principal problem” he faces could be summed up in one succinct sentence: “I have no right to think the way I do because I’m black.” When Higginbotham was asked about this comment later in a television interview, he shot back: “He’s got a right to think whatever he wants to, but he does not have a right to be free of critique.”
Early in his tenure as a justice, Thomas arranged for a modernization of the court gym. He’s bigger than you’d expect for someone who is five foot eight and a half. He has a running back’s legs and a lineman’s chest, a body that always seems stuffed into his suits. He likes lifting weights. The court’s gym was freighted with outdated equipment, but Thomas turned the renovation into something defiantly delicious. In public and in private, he loved telling people that he planned to work out vigorously so that he could live a long life, stay on the court for forty or fifty years, and outlast all his critics. The story would sometimes be accompanied by that booming guttural laugh of his, but his intention was clear. He was sending a message to his tormentors: No matter how many shots you take at me, I’ll still be here.
It’s been sixteen years now and, indeed, some of his critics have passed on. A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. died on December 12, 1998, from a stroke. He was seventy.
|Produto sob encomenda||Sim|