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Jewish World Review /August 27, 1998/ 5 Elul 5758

Larry Elder

Larry Elder

The Brown bomber strikes Justice Thomas

FRESH FROM HIS RECENT ATTACK on Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown carpet-bombed yet another loathsome public figure --- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

At a meeting before the Association of Black Sociologists, Hizzoner ripped Thomas with a zeal bordering on indictable: "(Clarence Thomas) must not be allowed any comfort from any of us. The National Bar Association should never have invited Clarence Thomas, and your group should never invite him to speak. He should be reduced to talking only to white conservatives. He must be shut out (by) blacks."

The Brown Bomber's attack on Justice Thomas redefines the word "hysterical." Thomas' views, said Brown, represent the "legitimizing of the Ku Klux Klan." So, opposing racial preferences means believing in the inferiority of blacks, Jews and others. Got that?

Willie Brown's very success repudiates the premise of affirmative action. The son of an East Texas sharecropper, Brown became California's Assembly speaker, arguably the most powerful position in the state. He held the position for years, cleverly and consistently out-maneuvering his political enemies. Term limits forced him out, but Brown promptly ran for and won the office of mayor of San Francisco, a city with just an 8 percent black population.

Willie Brown became Willie Brown through hard work, perseverance, savvy, smarts, talent, spirit, drive and charisma. Yet in an affirmative action discussion before a group of mostly white reporters, Brown shook his finger, declaring, "Everybody in here has been the beneficiary of preferential treatment at my expense ... " White journalists, we presume, all live comfortably off Daddy's trust fund.

The Thomas haters believe that blacks owe their social, political and economic progress to affirmative action. False, say Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom in "America in Black and White": " ... The growth of the black middle class long predates the adoption of race-conscious social policies. In some ways, indeed, the black middle class was expanding more rapidly before 1970 than after. ... Many of the advances black Americans have made since the Great Depression occurred before anything that can be termed affirmative action existed."

Preference supporters subscribe to a sort of Big Bang Theory of affirmative action's impact on the black middle class. No affirmative action, no progress. Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell said, "Everybody who is a person of color in this country has benefited from affirmative action. There has not been anybody who has gotten into college on their own, nobody who has gotten a job on their own, no one who has prospered as a businessman or businesswoman on their own without affirmative action." Geez, even Michael Jordan?

The black middle class existed before the widespread use of affirmative action. Did affirmative action at least accelerate the rate of black economic progress? No, say the Thernstroms. "In the years since black affirmative action, (the black middle class) has continued to grow, but not at a more rapid pace than in the preceding three decades, despite a common impression to the contrary."

Brown called Thomas "a shill and cover for the most insidious form of racism." California voters recently approved "racist" Proposition 209, an initiative to ban racial preferences in hiring, public contracting and admissions into public colleges and universities. But four out of 10 black "shills" supported the measure!

Try this. Ask a Clarence Thomas detractor why the hatred -- apart from Thomas' position on affirmative action. (Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan opposes it, too.) Note the silence. Here are two theories. First, Thomas married a white woman. We saw her at his side during the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. Many blacks, like many whites, simply do not like interracial marriages.

California State Sen. Diane Watson blasted black anti-preference warrior Ward Connerly: "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black ... "

Bad enough being a black conservative. Badder still being a successful black conservative. Marrying a white woman completes the hat trick. But Julian Bond, the new chairman of the NAACP, also married a white woman. Sen. Watson, meet Chairman Bond.

Another theory explains the anti-Thomas insanity. Too many whites like him. And the wrong kind. A critic of mine said, "Something must be wrong with you since so many white folks like you." Really. White teens purchase most of the gangsta rap, and white Michael Jordan fans outnumber black ones. Anti-Thomas-ites grant whites the freedom to support entertainers or athletes of choice but not public figures.

The late Arthur Ashe grudgingly supported affirmative action. But, in Days of Grace, Ashe warned, "Affirmative action tends to undermine the spirit of individual initiative. Such is human nature; why struggle to succeed when you can have something for nothing?" Arthur Ashe, another "shill for racism." Say it ain't so, Mayor Brown.


8/21/98:So very clintonesque
8/17/98: Gary Coleman, hate criminal?
8/07/98: How much mea culpa?
7/24/98: ATM Al?
7/24/98: Advising the advisors
7/17/98: Camille Cosby's carelessness
7/9/98: Moses mugged
7/2/98: Al Campanis -- forever a racist?
6/25/98: And you thought "coke" was worse than smokes
6/19/98: Is Jasper ‘America'?
6/12/98: Guess who's not coming to dinner
6/5/98: What now, NOW?
5/29/98:What's next, ‘burger busters'?
5/21/98: 'Stuff' happens
5/18/98: This just in
5/11/98: Stepping up
4/30/98: Who's faking whom?
4/16/98:To spank or not to spank

©1998, Laurence A. Elder