Justice Thomas not as big a fool as others

November 25, 1998|By GREGORY KANE

JUST WHEN you think it's safe to go to your mail box again, the letters start a-comin' in.

Thomas H. Hartman, of Columbia, took an opposite view of my suggestion that black people, if they forgive anybody, should forgive Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in addition to President Clinton.

"On the off chance that no one has ever explained affirmative action to you, let me try," Hartman wrote. "Legally affirmative action is a court ordered redress for proven discrimination. I sat for five years on the Howard County Human Rights Commission, two as chairman, so I have had the opportunity to study and learn the important distinctions of human rights law.

"When prosecution for illegal discrimination began a few decades ago, many businesses and governments closely looked at their hiring practices and identified that they too could become targets of legal action and voluntarily changed their personnel policies. You and Clarence Thomas, who has no excuse for ignoring legal distinctions, have lumped the two together so you can have a convenient buzz word for avoiding clear, intellectual thought.

"What you and Justice Thomas attack as preferences was really elimination of discrimination. You can find cases where this change has run amok, but they are aberrations. In general, your 'affirmation action' has opened previously closed doors to minorities and women throughout the country. The reason that African Americans despise Justice Thomas is that he refuses to see that journalistic 'affirmative action' is just a beginning to eliminating racial discrimination. You only need to look at blind testing of housing rental in Maryland to find racial discrimination rates as high as 70% today. There is no forgiveness for Thomas because, he is, quite frankly, an idiot. If you or he think that he was the best qualified person in the U.S. for his Supreme Court seat, you are double idiots. He got the job because he is black, plain and simple. 'Affirmative action' at its best."

To Hartman: On the certainty that no one has ever explained my position on affirmative action to you, let me try. I challenge you to find one column in which, as you charge, I've "attacked preferences." I'm for affirmative action - the recruitment and promotion of qualified minorities and women. It's quite the pity you assume I'm against it because I'm a conservative.

You must have abandoned your passion for "clear, intellectual thought" when you resorted to the ad hominem attack of calling Thomas an idiot, which, according to you, puts him beyond the pale of forgiveness. But let me see if I get this straight: You believe that Thomas is an idiot, and Bill Clinton isn't?

Cigar Boy, facing one sexual misconduct lawsuit, has sex with a White House intern knowing what would happen if word gets out. Then he gets on a witness stand and lies about it. Give me Thomas' brand of idiocy any day.

Liberals have deliberately distorted Thomas' opposition to affirmative action for years. Thank heavens it's known in conservative circles as starting when Thomas was in law school at Yale. Law school officials, in an attempt to recruit more black law students, proposed that blacks with lower LSAT scores than whites could be admitted. Thomas and other black students argued, to no avail, that Yale didn't need to lower the test score requirements for blacks. Plenty of blacks met Yale's standards at the time, Thomas and others said. All Yale had to do was find them.

Those blacks who rail against standardized tests will claim that Yale was right, that LSAT scores can't predict who would and would not make a good lawyer. Having glanced at a sample LSAT myself, I was left with the impression that someone could do poorly on the test and still make a good lawyer. But that's not the point. If Yale Law School had to lower its test score requirements, it should have been for all students, not just the black ones.

Thomas had an unshakable faith in the intellectual abilities of black students. Compare his position with that of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has declared proposed national testing of America's public school students racist and started whining about it before the test has even been created.

Which brings us back to the subject of whom black Americans should really be forgiving: Ourselves, for letting the bunch of sob sisters known as the Congressional Black Caucus lead us.

Pub Date: 11/25/98

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