The new Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is intended to celebrate the two aspects of African American influence on the nation mentioned in the title, and that includes honoring influential and historically significant African American leaders. Among the figures ignored by the museum’s displays is Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, only the second black member of the Supreme Court. The museum does, however, celebrate the “heroism” of his last-minute accuser at Thomas’s confirmation hearings, law professor Anita Hill.
This is another and particularly sad reflection of the petty partisan bias and lack of integrity demonstrated by the Obama Administration at so many levels. It is stuffed with so many intractable ideologues, and often incompetent ideologues, that objectivity, respect and fairness are frequently too great an effort to muster. The museum honors Hill, who was recruited as a last ditch effort by Democrats to block President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of a black conservative judge to the Supreme Court and whose accusations of sexual harassment were never verified except by the confirmation bias of Democrats and Thomas’s enemies. It chose to snubThomas, which all involved had to know would be seen as an insult to the Justice, and a calculated one.
By all logic and reason, Hill should be, at best, a footnote to a Thomas display. Mean-spirited bias from the empowered Left under Obama has extended even to museum curating, which should be non-partisan.
Blogs George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley,
The failure to honor Thomas, in my view, is outrageous. His life story is not just one of the inspiring accounts in African American history, it is one of the most inspiring of American history. His triumph over abject poverty and discrimination should be celebrated by all Americans regardless of how you view his jurisprudential views.
Ah, but you see, such objectivity is impossible for the angry race-hustlers and historical air-brushers collected by President Obama in all corners of his government.
Turley finds the official explanation for Thomas’s omission insultingly disingenuous, and so do I. Chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, Linda St. Thomas said that “there are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them. However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.”
How, exactly, does Anita Hill, a former Thomas sycophant who has built a lucrative celebrity speaking career on her willingness to turn a Senate confirmation into a tawdry he said/she said debate over jokes about pubic hairs on Coke cans in order to deliver a late hit on a distinguished black jurist’s career and reputation, qualify under that description? In what area is Hill so successful that she deserves an exhibit on the National Mall, while the far more influential and historically significant black man she smeared is insulted and marginalized?
Anita Hill’s lasting significance is that she represents, even now, a low-point in recent partisan warfare, and an abject demonstration of the hypocrisy of the women’s movement, which “believed Anita Hill” while choosing to disbelieve more credible and more seriously aggrieved accusers of their political ally, Bill Clinton. Clarence Thomas, in contrast, had had and will continue to have as lasting and important effects on our nation’s laws and culture as any African American, including Barack Obama. Yet they just couldn’t fit him in!
Until it is rectified, the snub mars the museum and the integrity of its mission far more than it harms Thomas. For now, it stands as a monument to the narrow-minded partisan bias and divisive politics of the civil rights establishment, Democrats, and Barack Obama. It would have been so, so easy to take the high road, and put partisan squabbles behind, giving the much-maligned Thomas his fair share of credit and honor, and they just couldn’t raise the character to do it.
I also note that not one mainstream media publication or news source that isn’t derided as “conservative” has seen fit to criticize the decision to insult Clarence Thomas this way. This stands as just one more monument to their own biases.