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Herman Cain vs. Clarence Thomas: A Tale of 2 Sex Harassment Cases…

November 12, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The Herman Cain campaign complained that the candidate is the target of a “high tech lynching,” the very claim made by Clarence Thomas 20 years ago during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings when Anita Hill charged him with sexual harassment.

Before that few people had ever even heard of “sexual harassment,” let alone been aware that it was a branch of law. I suspect white women had charged white men with sexual harassment in the past, but they must not have been taken seriously, and the man, if anything, was given a slap on the wrist.

A white man’s status, in the application of the law in America, has traditionally been much above that of a white woman. However, with Hill and Thomas, a  Black woman vs. a Black man, the status differential, if any, was not that great. And so her charges were given a serious hearing, and though Clarence Thomas nonetheless went on to join the High Court, the point had been made. Men were forewarned, and thereafter began to have to be on their “p“s and “q“s in their treatment of women in the workplace.

The Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas dustup sparked more water cooler conversation than ever before, or since. Every case pending before the Court, be it civil rights, abortion, gay rights, gun control, etc. came into play. Adding a strongly conservative member like Clarence Thomas to the Court would, and indeed did, have a profound effect on the nature of American law and society. 

African American Clarence Thomas was nominated by the first George Bush as replacement for the recently deceased African American Justice Thurgood Marshall. The clear implication being that, of the nine seats on the Supreme Court, there was one seat specifically set aside for Black people. Was that not itself a form of segregation? The very scourge that Thurgood Marshall spent his life fighting to destroy was immediately invoked upon his passing.

At the time, though, no one seemed to mind. All accepted the de facto one seat quota. But the Democrats felt they were being cheated. The nominee for the “Black seat,” though phenotypically Black, was politically opposite the very liberal Thurgood Marshall. (As an NAACP lawyer he had successfully argued the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case which ended legalized segregation in America.) So not only were the Democrats amenable to the concept of a “Black seat,” they went even further and saw it as a “Black liberal seat.” Of course they never came out and said this, but this is what lay behind their animus toward Thomas.

However, the farce did not end there. At the height of the proceedings, when Clarence Thomas stood all but convicted in the court of public opinion, and in the minds of the senators ruling on his nomination, he angrily cried that he was facing a “kangaroo court” conducting “a high tech lynching.”  

All through the hearings, as the Senators and the press discussed and dissected his writings and rulings, his staunch conservative views were quite apparent. Nonetheless, when Thomas found himself backed up against the wall he quickly, deftly played the “race card.” And then what did the committee do? They backed off as if guilty as charged!

Now, in the case of Herman Cain, we have a white woman charging a Black man with something that seems close to attempted sexual assault. This should, in keeping with the history of America, be a no-brainer. It would appear that Cain’s candidacy is doomed. However, some of his staunchest supporters who just happen to be white conservatives are fighting diligently on his behalf. Is this just an example of how politics makes strange bedfellows, or is it a sign of genuine racial progress?

According to a recent poll, Republican men are split 50 – 50 on the veracity of these claims while Republican women believe Cain over his accusers by a very wide margin. Meanwhile, Democrats strongly favor the women in the case. To what extent is one’s opinion on Herman Cain today, and Clarence Thomas yesterday, driven by one’s political allegiance rather than the “facts”?

Many believe that Black Republican Herman Cain has gotten this far only because he is being offered as replacement for Black Democratic president Barack Obama, just as Black Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas was presented as a substitute for Black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Thomas succeeded. Will Cain follow suit? However, if Cain is nominated, whether he wins the presidency or not, the point will have been made. Republicans are just as willing to nominate a Black man to run for president as the Democrats. Would that remove their stigma as the largely retrogressive, reactionary political party in America? 

Staff Writer; Arthur Lewin

This talented writer has also self published a book which is entitled; Africa Is Not A Country: It’s A Continent



5 Responses to “Herman Cain vs. Clarence Thomas: A Tale of 2 Sex Harassment Cases…”
  1. Dude says:

    gets spanked by CD Smith and now he’s hating on people who are self made.

  2. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Herman Cain claims that the reason that black people won’t support him is that they’ve been brainwashed. And many conservatives are saying Cain is President Obama’s worst nightmare. I would have loved to have been in the White House when those statements came out. In spite of Obama’s laid-back demeanor, I’d be willing to bet that he was laughing so hard that he was rolling on the floor of the Oval Office in tears.
    One would think that this man would have sense enough to know that no one takes him seriously – and especially the GOP. And if the GOP had ever taken the time to truly get to know the Black community, they’d know that the only thing more toxic to Black people than a flat-out racist, is a Black conservative (with the notable exception of Colin Powell, because he’s not really a conservative – he was just smart enough to flimflam the overseer, instead of the reverse).
    Most Black people have very little use for Black conservatives. It’s not that we disagree with everything they say, but because we’re suspect of the reasons they’re saying it. With the possible exception of those who believe in talkin’ snakes, virtually without exception, every Black conservative I’ve ever known was a self-serving opportunist. Their conservatism tends not to be so much grounded in their actual philosophy, as it is an opportunity to gain exposure and wealth. They realize that conservatives are looking high and low for Black people willing to step forward to validate their views toward the Black community. So they gleefully allow themselves to be used in return for personal wealth, position, and notoriety.
    Clarence Thomas is a case in point. There is no way that a man of his renowned level of mediocrity should be sitting on the highest court in this land – in fact, he shouldn’t even be allowed to sit in traffic court. But due exclusively to his willingness to validate the conservative view of Black America, he’s been given one of this nation’s highest honors. Thus, Thomas’ very presence on the Supreme Court is a stain on American values, our fidelity to jurisprudence, and an unabashed affront to every Black person in America.
    Clarence Thomas is allowing himself to be used as a national monument to every negative stereotype of Black people ever put forward – grinnin’, subservient, lazy, White-woman-lustin’, treacherous, dishonest, and ignorant. Then every time there’s a State of the Union address, Black people are forced to sit and look at his lecherous ass.
    So the Black community looks upon Clarence Thomas in precisely the same way as White Americans look upon a man guilty of treason against the United States – and other Black conservatives are not far behind. Why? Because most of these people would have happily voted against the Civil Rights Act in order to promote their own personal interest if they’d had the chance. And to demonstrate how transparent they are, Thomas took the unprecedented action of lobbying his colleagues to except what has now clearly been demonstrated to be a meritless challenge to Barack Obama’s eligibility to become President of the United States, while he didn’t say a word as the Supreme Court casually APPOINTED George Bush president after he lost the 2000 election. And with respect to the challenge to Obama, it took his colleagues, some of the most conservative White men in the country, to tell Thomas that he was going too far – and now Herman Cain says it is Black people who are brainwashed?
    People like Thomas and Cain tend to be self-serving accommdationists who are wholly lacking in character. Black people have suffered a long history of such people, going all the way back to slavery – in fact, it was probably a Clarence Thomas clone who sold us into slavery in the first place. These were the very same people who would informed on slaves who were trying to escape to freedom: “I don’t know what’s wrong wit him, boss. Ya jest can’t get him to appreciate nothin’ you do for us. What he needs is a real good beatin’. Want me to do it? I’ll do it real good for ya, boss.”
    So having Clarence Thomas sitting on the Supreme Court, with his happy, grinnin’ face, his eager to please attitude, and his quintessential ignorance, is a bad joke at the expense of the Black community. His presence is the equivalent of giving every Black person in America the finger. It wouldn’t be any more insulting to Black people if they chiseled a picture of Buckwheat on the Supreme Court seal.
    And now we have another ‘happy face,’ in the person of Herman Cain, saying that Black people won’t support him and his fascist overseers because we’re brainwashed? And worse, we get this from a Black man whose advice to Black people during the deepest recession since the Great Depression is to, “Get a job!” Please! This is an absolute idiot.
    Get out the whip, Rush – it sounds like Herman’s been into your stash.

  3. Ray says:

    First of all, isn’t he innocent until proven guilty? I believe his accusers are trying to build upon the myth that black men are unable to control their sexual desires. His accusers think moral failure is the only way to discredit him in the eyes of conservative Christians. Well, I for one, don’t buy it.

  4. Patsy says:

    It is sad to see how the mainstream is able to play with us and use us as puppets or pawns!

  5. Lawanna Fox says:

    I think what is interesting is seemingly the lack of ethics of both men, and really if one were to dive deep into the Judicial Role Clarence Thomas has played on the Supreme Court, well his ethics in my opinion are so questionable, not to mention the debacle Clarence Thomas is in right now, concealing his wife’s income from the Heritage Foundation on his taxes or something like that, if I am not mistaken. However, the role Clarence Thomas played in several deregulation legislation particularly in the Food Manufacturing Industries, Seed Ownership and such, well from the past two conservative administrations at least, well this guy has done damage in my opinion, public policy that the Nation is still trying to recover from. I think he did a lot to pass legislation to serve Monsanto, or something to that extent, well I would have to double check my facts, but he is mixed in there somewhere, no doubt. Then I understand Herman Cain totally has or had ties to the Koch Brothers, if I am not mistaken. I think certain birds flock together, well if you were to ask me.

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