Whiteness Wants Clarence Thomas to Have Prominent Place in National African-American Museum

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I don’t think Sen. John Cornyn III (R-Texas) understands how this works. I could be wrong, but I don’t think you need a white sponsor to be inducted into the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, I don’t think you get inducted, since it isn’t the Hall of Fame. I surely don’t think you need a senator to include a resolution for you to have a “prominent place” in said museum.


Nevertheless, apparently Cornyn isn’t happy with Supreme Court Justice Clarence “I’ve not said more than three words since being appointed to the bench” Thomas’ position in the museum and wants it to be more prominent, because, you know, whiteness and all.

The museum didn’t omit Clarence Thomas; Clarence Thomas has omitted Clarence Thomas.

Quick: Tell me one time that Thomas has done anything. Not just for black people—just done anything. Clarence Thomas is the real-life Bartleby, the Scrivener. He is there because we see him. And he is alive because he is there. And he does stuff, like sit and stand and say, “I would prefer not to.” But other than that, I don’t know what he does.

Wait—I do know what he will be doing Friday: swearing in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, so there is that.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


Refresher on some of Clarence’s highlights:

In 2008, a wrongly-convicted black man in Louisiana who had spent 14 years on death row was awarded $14 million in a lawsuit. The verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court – and Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for the right-wing majority. To Thomas, holding the prosecutor liable for his misconduct in handling the case was somehow “unconstitutional.”

In 2013, he voted with his fellow right-wingers to remove part of the Voting Rights Act, effectively allowing states (particularly Southern ones) to disenfranchise black voters.

In 2014, Clarence Thomas again joined his conservative colleagues on the bench in upholding Michigan’s right to prohibit affirmative action policies when it comes to college and university admissions.

This man is loathed, and rightfully so, by most African-Americans exactly because of his words and actions that have directly and indirectly affected our community negatively. The fact that conservatives mention his name at all in reference to a “deserving” place in the National Museum of African American History and Culture speaks to their never-ending supply of hypocrisy, as they try to point to some comparable form of hypocrisy in others. (As if the only prerequisite for admittance is skin color and personal accomplishment.) They could give a fuck about civil rights, AA culture, or attempts at honoring and preserving our heroes. All they want is to cheapen the importance of the continued fight of African Americans for civil rights in this country, and they attempt to do so by propping up an African American who has dedicated his professional life to the exact opposite. It’s funny - conservatives especially love to shit on black entertainers/athletes for squandering their wealth on flashy shit and not “giving back to their community”, but they turn around and want us to celebrate a man who has supported attempts to repeal our rights?! Mannn, please.