09 September 2008

Wow! Go, Justice Thomas!

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has recently given a speech that indicates he believes systems of racial preference are not only unconstitutional, but a just-plain-bad idea. Counterproductive, even. To quote him, "it almost trumps thinking." And to quote the news article:
He wrote with evident resentment in his autobiography "My Grandfather's Son" that he felt he was allowed to attend Yale Law School in the 1970s because of his race and took a tough course load to prove he was as able as his white classmates.
And that's exactly what good, hardworking people will (and do) feel when government provides "helps" in the system. It might be seen to take away from their accomplishment, if there is the spectre of preference - that they didn't really do it themselves and compete on a fair plane. And there's no way that they can prove to critics that they're truly "good enough." (Even if it's darn obvious, as in Justice Thomas's case.)

Plus, how insulting is it, to say, "you can't really do it... let me handicap your game" to people before they've even had a chance?!?! We're not talking about chivalry - we're talking about infantilizing people. It's lowering expectations based on their color or ethnic background. How is THAT not the "racist" position to take?

If, as a woman, I were graded on an easier scale in school or given a position at work largely (or at all) because of my gender, I would be highly affronted. I'm not a token; I'm an individual. I don't care what "plumbing" we have, or what shade of pale our skin may or may not be. I want to be evaluated as a contributing human being. And I may be projecting, but I think that's what other people want, too.

1 comment:

Frank Staheli said...

Clarence Thomas is a hero of mine, for the very reason that you state in the post. There are still those who claim, because of his race alone, that he is not qualified to be on the Supreme Court.

They are wrong, but they have a basis for making such wrong statements by the unfortunate fact of racial preferences.

Great article!