I just finished Clarence Thomas’ memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son.” All of a sudden, I’m having a lot of trouble questioning his commitment to the black community and disliking him. Could the NAACP have been wrong?
1. Born in eastern Georgia, his first language was Gullah. Thomas had to work deliberately for years to master English. That alone makes him more black than you thought.
2. Clarence Thomas grew up Catholic and actually studied to become a priest, but he left seminary in 1968 because the Catholic church was ignoring the Civil Rights issues going on all around at the time. He was committed to helping black people rise up.
3. He named his son Jamal. How black is that?
4. He was and is a very committed father. His father abandoned him, so there was always a chance he’d perpetuate that cycle, but he went the right way.
5. His grandfather taught him to never accept welfare, because it robs you of your dignity. When he opposes welfare, it’s not to destroy black people, but to help them with tough love.
6. Clarence Thomas graduated from Yale Law School, and was still paying on his student loans when he was appointed to the Supreme Court 20 years later!
7. He drove a Corvette in the eighties.
8. Even though Anita Hill almost brought him down, he first hired her simply because a friend asked him “help a sister out” and he did.
9. He overcame a serious drinking problem. Thomas probably wouldn’t be on the high court if he’d never faced that demon.
10. He was so exasperated by the Supreme Court confirmation process, he called it a high-tech lynching. When he got word he had been confirmed, his response was, “whoop-de-damn-do.”