Duane Johnson, a 20-year-old biology major at Morgan State University, figured this as the fallout from the Clarence Thomas hearings: "You probably won't be able to compliment [co-workers] on their outfits."
A woman who gave her name only as Janet and described herself as an executive assistant said the message to women who have been sexually harassed is "to keep their mouths shut."
And Dave Braunstein, an athletic store manager, said after watching hours of U.S. Senate testimony, he felt sympathy for both Professor Anita Hill and Judge Thomas. "I think the person who leaked the information should be prosecuted and thrown out," the 24-year-old said.
A sampling of views from shoppers and merchants at Security Square Mall in Woodlawn following last night's Senate vote confirming Thomas for a seat on the Supreme Court indicated that little had been resolved in citizens' minds. Opinions differed on whether the controversy will help or hinder women, whether
Thomas deserved the nomination in the first place and who told the truth.
Inside a book store, where the faces of the accused and accuser stared out from news magazine covers, including one with the headline: "Sex, lies and politics," Jean Wicks, a data entry worker, said she was pleased Thomas was confirmed.
Wicks, a black woman, said she was especially thrilled to see a black man replace the retiring Thurgood Marshall. "It was very close, he almost didn't get it," she said, referring to the narrowest margin for a confirmed high court justice in more than a century.
"I just felt after 10 years, why would [Hill] bring up something like
that," said Wicks, 49. "It was old and if she wanted to do something, she should have done something before."
Winston McZeal, 41, a nurse, on the other hand, said yesterday's confirmation was a bad decision because Thomas, a federal court judge, has remained evasive on important issues such as abortion.
"I think this guy's record was shaky in the first place," he said. "This man has so many questions about him."
Truck driver William Frieson also questioned Thomas' qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court and he believes Thomas lied last month during his confirmation hearings when he was asked about Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decisionthat established a woman's constitutional right to seek an abortion.
"He's inexperienced," charged Frieson, 41. "He's not the right man for the job."
Frieson said he believed Hill's allegations despite the fact that she continued to work with Thomas at federal agencies. "I believe that you do grin and bear it sometimes," Frieson said. "You do what you have to to survive, from a black perspective."
But Frieson's friend, Shelia Williams, 31, disagreed. "You don't follow anybody who has totally disgusted you that you become so ill and have to go to the hospital," she said.
The couple walked away disagreeing on the matter.