Justice Clarence Thomas Says America is “Too Sensitive” About Race

During a speech to Palm Beach Atlantic University, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made some insightful and balanced comments concerning race:

My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school. To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up. . . . Now, name a day it doesn’t come up. Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn’t look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I’d still be in Savannah. Every person in this room has endured a slight. Every person. Somebody has said something that has hurt their feelings or did something to them — left them out. . . . That’s a part of the deal.

Thank you, Clarence Thomas. We live in a media culture that publishes a constant stream of racially charged news. Most people in America today think racism is a big issue, and because of that, racism has become a big issue. Let me give you an example of what Clarence Thomas would call “a slight.”

When I am out and about, one of my favorite things to do is people watch. Recently, I was at Kroger shopping with a friend of mine. We were in the produce section, and a middle-aged black woman was on a shopping cart collision course with a middle-aged white man. She stopped short with a smile on her face to let him pass. He did not acknowledge her kind gesture.

He didn’t even look at her. And he didn’t pass. He parked his cart directly in front of her cart and started perusing the avocadoes. Her face wilted; she backed up her cart and pushed it away, visibly less cheerful.

Later, I saw that same woman when my friend and I were ready to check out. She had regained some of her former cheerfulness. She and we approached the same checkout lane, and my friend, who was not paying attention at all, cut her off without realizing it. I tried sheepishly to indicate I was sorry, but she was crestfallen yet again.

On the way home, I thought about this woman. I thought about what she might take from her run-ins with “white people” that day. Perhaps she had never really considered white people to be all that racist. Perhaps her experiences with white people had been generally positive up to that point. But that night, when every news station on the TV was talking about the widespread American epidemic of racism, she thought, “You know, I think most white people are racist.” And if that happened, there would be no end to the amount of confirmation she would be able to collect afterward.

But, in reality, racism didn’t have anything to do with her experience at Kroger. That same middle-aged white dude kept on being rude to everyone regardless of race. He was just a jerk. You know those people that you see, and you think, “Man, that guy just needs a stiff punch in the face… or a hug.” That guy was one of those guys.

And I know my friend is just a space cadet. He’s one of the kindest people I know, and he was really disappointed with himself when I told him this story.

Anyway, Clarence Thomas lived in a world where slights were constant, and many of them may have been racially motivated. But he didn’t view them that way, because that’s not helpful. He didn’t become a Supreme Court Justice by taking every little insult straight to heart. He overcame obstacles. He let insults and racism slide off his back. ((And as an aside, he mentioned that the worst treatment he ever received was from “northern liberal elites.” How’s that for an irony…))

The sooner we stop obssessing over race, the sooner we can start to heal racial divides. I don’t always agree with Justice Clarence Thomas. But on this, he is spot on.

69 responses

    • Ah, so because he is black and doesnt have the same views, mindset, and beliefs as you think blacks should, he’s an idiot. Sounds like you are the racist one. Proves other peoples point on how dems want to keep them on the plantation (in an analogy).

      • No, this piece of garbage sat on the Supreme Court for almost 7 FULL YEARS without saying a word. When he FINALLY opens his mouth something stupid come out!

        • Just because you don’t publicize yourself doesnt make you a moron. At least he said something the country needed to hear

        • Stupid… Interesting, Thomas is talking about being more tolerant (indirectly) because people want to jump on anyone who says something they dislike. He is not talking about people who are out right racist and behaving like racist. Anyway, you want to call it stupid. So, you are stating to us all that you think tolerance is stupid. Well that fits with liberal thinking and it really would be of no surprise to anyone on this site that you would think that way about tolerance.

          • You do know how Bob got his name, don’t you? That’s what his head does when he’s in the backseat of his car with his boyfriend. His mates down at the bathhouse call him Bob the Head.

          • You teabaggers just cannot get your mind off gay sex. Don’t you think you’d have more fun on a gay porn site? At least there you’d know what you were talking about.

        • “Justice Clarence Thomas Speaks After Almost 7 Years Of Silence”

          On Monday morning, Justice Clarence Thomas broke nearly seven years of

          silence at Supreme Court oral arguments.

          Problem is, what he said was apparently so funny that you had to be there.

          Really — the court’s official transcript didn’t catch his words.

          What we do know is that Justice Thomas was speaking to a lawyer representing

          the state of Louisiana. The state was arguing that its five-year failure to fund a

          lawyer for an indigent defendant facing the death penalty did not undermine the
          defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.

          Before Thomas spoke in Boyer v. Louisiana, Justice Antonin Scalia was
          asking the state’s attorney about the competency and experience of the
          lawyers for the capital defendant, Jonathan Edward Boyer. After learning
          that the lawyers went to Harvard and Yale law schools,

          Scalia said, “Son of a gun.” Then Thomas spoke.

          According to the transcript, he said, “Well — he did not -­-,”
          followed by laughter. Louisiana’s lawyer then responded, “I would refute
          that, Justice Thomas.”

          What came between? SCOTUSBlog, which had its reporter in the courtroom, tweeted,
          “Thomas, J. (Yale, JD), speaks: funny at argument—Yale degree could
          mean lawyer is incompetent, not competent, capital trial counsel.”

          Another person present at the oral argument, law student Billy Freeland, tweeted,

          “Thomas might have cracked, ‘That’s not effective counsel.’ But hard to hear.”

          The Supreme Court will release the audio of Monday’s oral argument on Friday.

          The last time Justice Thomas spoke at oral argument was on Feb. 22, 2006.

          While his comment from the bench Monday may have been surprising,
          that he drew laughter should not be. Thomas is widely acknowledged to be
          a smiling, jovial presence in private and in his public appearances.

          Nor should his denigration of his alma mater, Yale Law School, shock
          those familiar with Thomas’ biography. The law school is repeatedly
          ranked first in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s listings,
          but Thomas has said he believes the value of his education there was
          “discounted” by his admission under the school’s affirmative action
          policy. In a 2007 interview
          with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Thomas said, “I still have a 15¢ sticker on
          the frame of my law degree. It’s tainted, so I just leave it in the
          basement.” He returned to Yale Law School in a detente of sorts in

          December 2011 to teach a class, attend a reception and speak to the

          Black Law Student Association.

          Compared to his fellow justices, Thomas, who has served on the
          Supreme Court since 1991, has always been reticent, but until about a
          decade ago, he used to ask questions more frequently. His most famous
          line of questioning came in a 2002 case
          over the constitutionality of a state ban on cross-burning. While his
          fellow justices focused on more abstract concerns, Thomas drew on his
          experience growing up in the segregated South to remind all in the
          courtroom that the law at issue responded to a racist “reign of terror”
          and that “the [burning] cross was a symbol of that reign of terror.”

      • Well it was Democrats that owned the big plantations and did most of the buying of slaves. The mentality of that type of person just has never changed… They always think they are more superior then everyone else.

        • Those Southern Democrats became the TP partiers of today. It was the civil rights movement that moved them towards the blindness of the right we have today…

          • Incorrect. Tea Party are from our founding father way of thinking. The current liberal Democrats are the Southern Democrats of old… Minimum wage, Government wealth fare, link card, Government Insurance and so on is what the people are slaves to. The current Democrats are push like crazy to get everyone under their control. Tea Party is about having your freedom of choice, by keeping more of your money in your pocket, spending it the way you want to verse the government tax you and spending it the way they want to.

          • Paul, are you retarded? “The current liberal Democrats are the Southern Democrats of old.”??? Really? So, the confederates went to war because they opposed states rights?

          • Nice try on trying to twisting things Bob. Go read a history book and learn. We’ve gone over this in other threads.

        • It boggles my mind everyday, that liberals can say racist things about black people that don’t walk and talk like how they think black people should. Am I the only one seeing this? Or are people of different color allowed to have a different opinion? I don’t see the evidence that Thomas is just a mouth piece. Just because he doesnt publicly rant constantly like Jackson or Sharpton, doesnt mean he cant speak his own mind.

  1. “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs, partly because they want sympathy, and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.” — Booker T. Washington in his 1911 book, My Larger Education

    • Well, I get demonized for refusing to be a victim. I grew up before affirmative action and being female was a lot worse than my medium skin tone. Every time I point out the ridiculous “victimhood” of todays _____ (name the minority) I get attacked by black and white, Mexican and muslim, gays and straights. It will never end as long as there are elected officials who actually respond to the stupidity. Too damn easy to force people to aquiesce to your “minority” demands like you would get from little 2 year old babies. It’s easier to whine and cry and stamp your feet than it is to take responsibility for your own life.

      Some people hate my guts, sometimes for spurious reasons, sometimes because of a very real personality conflict, and others like me a lot. That’s life. It never occured to me that I was a victim of anything. It occurs to me now that I am a victim of “minority” tyrants who demand special treatment from me. Who want me to “suspend disbelief” (Shrill Hill) for a while and pretend that they are persecuted and down trodden for myriad reasons that *I* am personally responsible for. Ludicrous.

      • Amen, You owe NO ONE an apology and those who attack you FEAR you may upset their game.

        I believe in an America of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY not government reliance, a country of CHARACTER, not characters. The only time I will stick out my hand out is to grab a shovel, a plow, a uniform, a badge or a Bible. I DO NOT look to the government to solve my problems. I know it is up to ME to provide for my family and not the government’s responsibility. There is a HUGE difference between a HELPING hand and a HANDOUT!

        • Thank you very much. I admit to some trepidation when I look at the responses to my sometimes NON pc statements. Thanks again!

  2. It’s not Americans in general who are uber race sensitive, it’s liberals who are beating a mostly dead horse by brining up race all the time.

  3. It’s not really America causing all this fuss. It’s the ultra elites and the mainstream media. Most of the regular people do not have a problem with race. The left wing organizations are keeping this ball rolling hoping they can keep hold of a good part of the Democrat vote. I hope it doesn’t work.

  4. Acquaint yourself with Trotsky’s motives and endgame in his efforts to demonize racial discrimination. It was always about your overthrow, Whitey.

    A century later, how many so-called conservatives stoop to degrading levels in search of minority affirmation?

  5. Justice Thomas is one of our best. His demeanor proves the lady who accused him is a liar. The man quietly does his job.

    I am sick to death of black and white race baiters. I have no use for white or black racist that accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being racist. They don’t even know the meaning of the word.

    The minute someone calls me a racist, I walk away and don’t look back.
    They just stopped existing on MY planet.

          • It probably wouldn’t occur to you but you might be underestimating me.

            I have read a bit of history and Progressives have been around for along time. In

            the 30’s they changed their name to Liberal because they were so despised.

            I was a Democrat for many years the Dems left me. I am not happy with the Republicans either. They left me. Tea Party? We will see. I am an American first. I hope you are also. We are in this together so I expect an American to have my back or we will surly fall together.

            I cannot support the Progressive agendum. My loyalty is: God, Family, Country.

            How is the Progressive ideology working for you? It sure isn’t working for the country as far as I can see.

            That being said, I await your rant and name calling IF you are a true Progressive. Please disappoint me.

  6. The reason I want barry impeached is because he cannot complete a sentence without having a lie within the sentence. He has shown America that he has NO “HONOR”. This is the reason for impeachment. NOT the color shade of his skin!

  7. Reading the comments makes me realize, we are more divided by ignorance and stupidity. the age of common sense and decency seem to have vanished since Obama was elected.

  8. I believe Judge Thomas’ greatest asset, was the fact that he worked at becoming the best he could be, without regard for his race. He did not look for excuses from his past ancestry, nor blame others for his failures. He earned his place in society and on the Supreme Court and that is how it should be.

    He is right about the political correctness of today, which he referred to as being too sensitive. Today instead of trying to help our fellow human, it would seem one looks for a reason to sue and tear down their neighbor. A nation cannot be unified when those who lead it, continually try to cause division.

    Racism is very much alive in this country today and it is not just with one race, they are all equally to blame. I have never seen a small child that was born a racist, it took the adults around him or her, to develop racism. That sure does not say much for the adults, now does it?

  9. Of all the Uncle Toms out there Clearance Thomas takes the cake. He’s a right wing meat puppet

    Clarence Thomas Compares Affirmative Action To Slavery, Segregation In Opinion

    (How did he get where he is now? Did he not get some special treatment?)

    In a fiery concurring opinion Monday, Supreme Court Justice
    Clarence Thomas said the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions
    policy amounted to discrimination and compared the school’s affirmative
    action program to slavery and segregation.

    “Slaveholders argued that slavery was a ‘positive good’ that
    civilized blacks and elevated them in every dimension of life,” Thomas
    wrote in his separate opinion on Fisher v. University of Texas at
    Austin. “A century later, segregationists similarly asserted that
    segregation was not only benign, but good for black students.”

    Thomas cited Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme
    Court case that led to the desegregation of public schools, in drawing a
    comparison between segregation and affirmative action.

    “Following in these inauspicious footsteps, the University would have
    us believe that its discrimination is likewise benign. I think the
    lesson of history is clear enough: Racial discrimination is never
    benign,” he wrote in the 20-page opinion. “The University’s professed
    good intentions cannot excuse its outright racial discrimination any
    more than such intentions justified the now-denounced arguments of
    slaveholders and segregationists.”

    UT-Austin’s admissions policy grants the top 10 percent of graduating
    Texas seniors a spot in the freshman class, and then fills out the
    class using a race-conscious system. Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff in
    the case, claims the policy constitutes racial preference.

    Thomas said the policy hurts those black and Hispanic students who
    are admitted more than those who are not. “Although cloaked in good
    intentions, the University’s racial tinkering harms the very people it
    claims to be helping,” he wrote.

    He also rejected the idea that racial diversity had any educational
    benefit. “As should be obvious, there is nothing ‘pressing’ or
    ‘necessary’ about obtaining whatever educational benefits may flow from
    racial diversity,” he wrote.

  10. Clarence Thomas–gentleman and scholar first, American second (but not by much), black man third.

    A wise and thoughtful man, indeed; no wonder Democrats tried so hard (and thankfully in vain) to keep him from confirmation…

  11. With all due respect Mr. Thomas, “america” is not too sensitive… only the rebel rousers. Race rarely crosses my mind… only when I hear ridiculous liberal noise. There are no victims… only those who choose to be deadbeats… for a handout.

  12. the democrats have made race an issue to their liking it is time to narrow the definition down to just two categories, American and Non American. no racial caricaturists attached in any way if your a citizen of the Republic your an American if not your a Non American.

  13. It is black America that is to sensative about race. They are the ones keeping racial hatred stirred up and that is because a few blacks make a lot of money on racial tension. Prominent among them, of course, are Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. This country will probably be better off when they are gone from the scene, permanently.

Leave a Reply