On July 13, RealClearPolitics published an open letter from Brown University professor Glenn Loury and the founder of The Woodson Center, Robert Woodson Sr., denouncing as racist, ugly and wholly immoral the recent attacks aimed at Justice Clarence Thomas following the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade. The letter included the signatures of many notable black Americans. I signed it as well. Here’s why.
My decision was not to defend Clarence Thomas’ political positions or court rulings. I signed the letter to defend a human being who had his complexion weaponized against him for behaving in a manner that political agitators believe is unbecoming for a black man.
One’s view of Thomas’ rulings, on Roe or anything else, should not come into play here. If you believe people should not be singled out for their race, you need to be consistent, even if that forces you occasionally to defend people whom you have labeled as your ideological foes.
Fact is, we’ve become comfortable living with the cancer of partisanship to the point of denying that we are increasingly becoming sicker by the day. We’re enamored with proving how our side is the side of righteousness and the opposition practices devilish behavior, or in the context of race, our side is the side of righteous inclusion, and the opposition practices racial animosity through political subversion.
However, none of this means anything without being consistent in your behavior, not just your rhetoric. Yet those targeting Thomas put political ideology over their supposed commitment to treating everyone fairly, despite his or her race.
For the past couple of years, Americans have been chastised for being unaware of their racism blind spots. The self-appointed arbiters of racial truths among our media point to isolated incidents they claim reflect broad racial problems. Whether we agree is not the point; it’s one’s consistency when racial mistreatment happens to someone whom you despise that matters.
It is supposedly unbecoming for a black person to avoid groupthink in favor of individualism and, the greatest sin of all, to vote for your personal interests instead of everyone else’s. This “undesirable” behavior earns you demonization as a traitorous Uncle Tom or a N – – – – r. You’ll be slapped with those labels for disagreeing with the rhetoric and strategies of those who prejudge us (in this case, expecting us to have left-leaning views) based on our race.
You’re an “Uncle Tom” for not wanting to live your life as a victim of supposed invisible oppressive systems. When you choose to reject racial animosity, you’re marked as a N – – – – r who ignorantly believes we don’t need to hate whites to uplift ourselves.
This letter needed to be written to help address inconsistencies on racism and to bring balance to a chronically imbalanced discussion. If we’re to be a truly “anti-racist” society, we should speak up just as loudly when someone we politically despise is racially abused. Doing what’s right has no political affiliation.
No one in or out of politics should have their identity questioned because they think differently than the majority of their ilk. You also cannot claim to be for a more racially fair society and then admonish those who find love across racial lines.
Clarence Thomas having a white wife doesn’t make him less black, just as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson having a white husband doesn’t make her less black. If one day Justice Jackson were to issue a ruling and Republicans openly uttered racial slurs toward her, I’d be just as outraged and would sign a similar letter rebuking their behavior. This is called being consistent.
The same progressives who claim to be allies of black Americans and warriors for social justice revel in displaying their hatred of a “misbehaving” black man. The treatment of Clarence Thomas has allowed many to see what I’ve been seeing for many years: Our progressive allies have been holding their hands behind their backs while concealing their dagger until we step out of line.
Adam B. Coleman is the author of “Black Victim To Black Victor” and founder of Wrong Speak Publishing.