Thomas is at war with himself. He festers. No conventional political
or legal doctrinal analysis will ever explain what drives the man.
His logic is that of the insanely self-loathing.
doubts his own personhood. He is horribly damaged, having never
forged a tolerable self (a self he could live in) from out of the
Black nobodyness of Pin Point, Georgia - the Tobacco Road shack
settlement of his youth, lower on the African American social
scales than any urban slum. He is tortured - in constant, gut-churning
recoil at the Pin Point in him.
Thomas is a study in arrested human development, what a 54-year-old
Black man acts like in a world he feels unworthy to inhabit, blaming
other victims of racism for the scourge of racism, itself. If they
did not exist, he could be a whole man!
is mad, crazy. He cannot abide other Black people in the mass, and
detests them in the political abstract. As the late Franz Fanon
would instantly recognize, Thomas suffers from the most perverse
racial paranoia. He imagines that other Black people see through
to his worthless (in his own mind) core, and he hates them for it.
would have played well as the Adolph Caesar character in "A
Soldier's Story," but powerful racists placed him where he
could act out a real life vendetta that even they cannot fathom.
How could they? White American racists do not see Black people as
whole personalities. They are incapable of imagining the emotional
inferno they have stoked these hundreds of years.
Clarence is right: we do see him for who he is, and what
he has become.
is a waste of time to look for rational explanations for Thomas'
defiance of reason, evidence and the opinions of all his robed colleagues
in rejecting a death row inmate's appeal, last month. (See "Clarence
Thomas and his Latino clone," February 27.) The Dallas
case revealed the most thoroughly documented, blatant example of
racist jury selection as official policy that could be constructed
outside of a Hollywood studio. Even Thomas' Hard Right mentor Justice
Antonin Scalia recoiled at the travesty. Not Thomas. His horrors
Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson knows something is amiss with
Thomas. In a February
28 piece, Jackson wrote:
the Cruel remains unusual. Two days before President Bush said
Saddam Hussein has brought Iraq ''nothing but war and misery and
torture,'' Justice Clarence Thomas again abandoned the entire
Supreme Court to defend miserable prosecutions and torturous treatment
of prisoners. Thomas has clearly declared his own private war,
with no concern for collateral damage.
detailed Thomas's record of countenancing - no, reveling in - the
most gratuitous cruelties to inmates, including chaining to outside
"hitching posts" without food or water, vicious "disciplinary"
beatings, and execution of the mentally retarded. Somebody, Jackson
seems to be saying, needs his head examined.
of these years, before he dies, Thomas might explain to us why
prisoners disgust him to the point of approving the very human
rights violations we lecture China, Iraq, and other nations about.
We have no explanation because Thomas has never conducted a major
interview since being appointed to the court by the first President
Clarence the Cruel truly had his way in his private war, there
is no telling how much more misery and torture would go unseen
and unheard in the courtrooms and the prison hallways of America.
Washington Post's Courtland Malloy got a long disturbing look at
Thomas and the rest of the High Court two years ago, when the Justices
held hearings before selecting George Bush as the new President
of the United States. In a December
3 2000 article, Malloy scoped the psycho-problem that has metastasized
since Thomas' birth "dirt-poor to a teenage mother in a shanty
near the marshes of Pin Point."
the lesson Thomas drew seems to go like this: If oppression can
turn you into a Supreme Court justice like me, then we need more
else do you explain his decisions so far? He has voted to cut
off debate in a death penalty case, even when newly revealed evidence
might have proven the defendant innocent. He has cast the deciding
vote to make it harder for blacks to prove they were victims of
job discrimination. He has even voted against expanding voting
rights for blacks and, in one case, disputed the history of using
the 1965 Voting Rights Act to help elect more blacks in the South.
last week's case about the use of roadblocks by police, which
Thomas's side lost in a 6 to 3 vote, he wrote a rare separate
dissent in which he seemed to acknowledge that he knew that such
roadblocks were wrong but that he was going to side with conservative
Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Scalia anyway.
of thumbing his nose at black America.
Clarence Thomas is no assimilated "happens to be Black"
man, any more than Pin Point is a suburban subdivision. He is African
American all the way down to his peculiarly Black sickness. African
Americans are the audience he can't shake, the ones that say things
behind his back and make fun of his mannerisms and speech, even
when he fools the white people. Blacks stare at him, upsetting his
composure. Damn them! They know who I am!
heard (or thought he heard) that Blacks were saying he was just
a dark sidekick for Antonin Scalia, that he didn't ask questions
because he lacked confidence in his own judicial bearing and insight,
that he was not an independent Black Man. He would show them
so Clarence, Lord High Executioner of Blacks, in the year 2003 made
his solitary mark in glorious dissent, proving to Black people that
he will risk looking like a raving fool if that's what it takes
to let us know that he rejects all things Black, in every form and
remembrance. Free at last, free at last...!
would never occur to Thomas that, in the end, his Black political
enemies and victims have more empathy for him in his sickness than
his white racist "friends" could ever claim. They don't
even know him.
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