A Twofer For the Klan

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One of the more interesting figures in American public life is Justice Clarence Thomas:


Thomas spent his childhood in a place and time in which businesses and government services were legally segregated. In his 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” he described his experience growing up as an African-American Catholic in Georgia during the Jim Crow era. “I was a two-fer for the Klan,” he said.

Thomas moved north from Georgia and graduated from Yale Law School in 1974. He went on to a successful judicial career that took him all the way to the Supreme Court. Thomas’ views on constitutional issues usually put him on the conservative side of the court, where he has penned opinions intended to rein in affirmative-action laws and overhaul a section of the Civil Rights Act that requires states with histories of discrimination to seek approval from the federal government before altering voting policies.

Throughout his career, Thomas said, he has experienced more instances of discrimination and poor treatment in the North than the South.

“The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites. The absolute worst I have ever been treated,” Thomas said. “The worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia.”

As one of six Catholics on the court, Thomas also addressed the role his faith plays in his work as a justice.

“I quite frankly don’t know how you do these hard jobs without some faith. I don’t know. Other people can come to you and explain it to you. I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t know how an oath becomes meaningful unless you have faith. Because at the end you say, ‘So help me God.’ And a promise to God is different from a promise to anyone else.”

Go here to read the rest.  Thomas was raised by his cantankerous maternal grandfather Myers Anderson, a man with little education but who through hard work built a thriving business selling fuel oil and ice.  He worked Clarence and his brother liked rented mules, and imprinted on them the value of hard work, promising them that if they worked hard enough, and got an education, they could be anything they wanted to be, having nothing but scorn for the idea that white racism could stop them.  Thomas has said simply that his grandfather is the greatest man he has ever known.

In the case of Grutter v. Bollinger the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the use of race as a factor in law school admissions.  Justice Thomas wrote a ringing dissent in which he explained why the Court was wrong:

Justice Thomas, with whom Justice Scalia joins as to Parts I—VII, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

    Frederick Douglass, speaking to a group of abolitionists almost 140 years ago, delivered a message lost on today’s majority:

“[I]n regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us.  What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.  The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us… . I have had but one answer from the beginning.  Do nothing with us!  Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.  Do nothing with us!  If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall!  …  And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also.  All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs!  Let him alone! …  [Y]our interference is doing him positive injury.”  What the Black Man Wants: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, on 26 January 1865, reprinted in 4 The Frederick Douglass Papers 59, 68 (J. Blassingame & J. McKivigan eds. 1991) (emphasis in original).

Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.   Because I wish to see all students succeed whatever their color, I share, in some respect, the sympathies of those who sponsor the type of discrimination advanced by the University of Michigan Law School (Law School).  The Constitution does not, however, tolerate institutional devotion to the status quo in admissions policies when such devotion ripens into racial discrimination.  Nor does the Constitution countenance the unprecedented deference the Court gives to the Law School, an approach inconsistent with the very concept of “strict scrutiny.”

    No one would argue that a university could set up a lower general admission standard and then impose heightened requirements only on black applicants.  Similarly, a university may not maintain a high admission standard and grant exemptions to favored races.  The Law School, of its own choosing, and for its own purposes, maintains an exclusionary admissions system that it knows produces racially disproportionate results.  Racial discrimination is not a permissible solution to the self-inflicted wounds of this elitist admissions policy.

      The majority upholds the Law School’s racial discrimination not by interpreting the people’s Constitution, but by responding to a faddish slogan of the cognoscenti.  Nevertheless, I concur in part in the Court’s opinion.  First, I agree with the Court insofar as its decision, which approves of only one racial classification, confirms that further use of race in admissions remains unlawful.  Second, I agree with the Court’s holding that racial discrimination in higher education admissions will be illegal in 25 years.  See ante, at 31 (stating that racial discrimination will no longer be narrowly tailored, or “necessary to further” a compelling state interest, in 25 years).  I respectfully dissent from the remainder of the Court’s opinion and the judgment, however, because I believe that the Law School’s current use of race violates the Equal Protection Clause and that the Constitution means the same thing today as it will in 300 months.

Go here to read the rest.  Racism is the besetting sin of American history.  If we ever get beyond it, men like Clarence Thomas and his grandfather will have shown us the way out of that poisonous sin.

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  1. Racism, or better put, prejudice against people with dark skin, is an industry today. Malcom X, Louis Farrakhan, Coleman Young, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, Marion Barry and others of that ilk make or made a good living off of racism. Should racism disappear, the hucksters I mentioned who are still living would have to find honest work.

    Clarence Thomas puts the lie to the Northeastern liberal elite, the bunch who consider themselves the best and the brightest – but really are not and never were. They hate his race and they hate his religion and they hate his worldview. When I worked in DC, I sensed an “air” of a sort that I can’t quite put in words. it wasn’t among my coworkers, but in the Post and in other media…that Washington was where the smarter people went to work and live and everyone else was lower class.

    Speaking of the Klan, I remember something my late grandmother told me. Grandma, one of three children of Polish immigrants, grew up in Greene County, Pennsylvania, which is the extreme southwest of the Commonwealth. She told me once that when she was a young girl, the KKK marched down her street with their robes and their burning crosses. If those idiots tried that on my street, I would drive a truck right at them. The Klan hates Catholics and Jews as much as they hate blacks.

  2. What an impressive man! Thanks for that clip.
    Perhaps I am insulated somehow from it, but I don’t think we are all that racist, though we are certainly accused of it alot! Fear of racism or accusations of racism can be huge distractions from the underlying sins of pride and the rest (envy, gluttony, lust. anger, greed, sloth). It also seems that the 7 sins mights behind our constant accusations of racism… I liked what C Thomas said about hard to “get over” race while focusing on it!

  3. Wow.

    I think it’s a sign of a weak leader, when he/she choose to play the race card or the social class card.

    It means their policies are so weak and exhausted, so they resort to bottom-of-the-barrel tactics.

    For example take Stalin or Hitler. And Che Guevara, the Muslim Brotherhood, Fidel Castro et al.

    But now more recently Barack Obama. The so-called “leader of the free world” and his pinning of the “haves” against the “have-not”. There is nothing like playing the good-old class warfare game.

    Justice Clarence Thomas sounds like an amazing man. A man of true substance.

  4. theoldadam: A++

    Two points:

    Bull Connor was a member of the Democrat National Committee; all klansmen were Democrats – the “solid South.”

    And, atheists cannot be relied on/trusted in an extremity.

  5. Some years back in Indianapolis – a city with an infamous connection to that horrid organization – the Klan staged a standard flag-and-banner, vitriol-spewing rally. However, instead of counter-demonstrations and contentious spectators playing into the hands of these evil nutcases, everybody simply stayed away. Nobody showed up except a few media types who were, doubtless, sadly disappointed in the display of sanity given by Naptown’s citizens.
    There was a “diversity fair” across town that drew the same crowd it would have at any other time, but it, too was unremarkable.
    The “Hooded Order” has not been back since.

  6. It is good to hear a ‘government’ voice speaking from reason and faith.
    The liberal would-be elites are not contributing an iota of honesty to the people that follow them. As they speak of and force legalities (travesties to life and liberty), these elitists insulate themselves from the havoc they create. Racism has taken twists and turns through the encouragement of the highest oath-takers. Identifying ethnicities, to be optionally used, are part of every official form. In the name of justice, some courts politically aligned with the liberal agendas are becoming the thought police. Such is the case with the movie about the pres in 2016 in a NY court, as it was in a MA court which legalized alternative marriage without a popular vote. Last, look who is exempt from the ACA and is arming DHS.

  7. “Identifying ethnicities, to be optionally used, are part of every official form.”
    Thanks again Pat.

    This reminds me of a similar problem in the Church of institutionalizing racism by scheduling “separate but equal” masses and other Church activities.

  8. Dignity is not the word to describe the ‘party’ politicos during his confirmation to the Supreme Court. That was a horrible time when the supposed intellectual activity began to leave its natural home in the brain for the sake of furthering causes of innuendo and division, such as is rampant and virulent in today’s government – most recently in the NY governor disparaging the opinion of residents for being proponents of life (which as an issue at all is preposterous) and in the spendthrift executive branch threat to eliminate the republic’s governmental balance of power with a pen and phone without explaining the reason or need for doing so.

  9. “Identifying ethnicities, to be optionally used, are part of every official form.”

    These days, there is usually a “prefer not to answer” or “other” choice. I’ve reached the point where I always choose these, and encourage you to do the same.

    Sad to say, ArchBalt sends one of these through the pews annually. I’ve been writing in “Italian”, but think I will change to “Roman Catholic”.

  10. Pat: “and in the spendthrift executive branch threat to eliminate the republic’s governmental balance of power with a pen and phone without explaining the reason or need for doing so.”
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
    Obama gets to define “any undefined national emergency.” then continues to disenfranchise those elected to Congress, the voice of the people.

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