There’s something endlessly fascinating about the left’s insistence that Clarence Thomas is not “authentically” black—that this descendant of slaves, this grandson of sharecroppers, this hardworking man who rose to the grandest heights of the legal profession, is a traitor to his race and his class. I don’t know what it is about Thomas that drives the left so nuts, but it’s there, and it’s very real. Could you imagine what would happen if someone on the right described a brilliant liberal African-American of being no more than a slave controlled by white devils?
I hate to say this—the charge is offered all too often with far little in the way of support—but that shit is racist as hell.
Leave aside the “More like Uncle Clarence Thomas, amirite?” sniggering. The suggestion that Clarence Thomas is just a mindless puppet whose strings were pulled by Antonin Scalia is racist and ignorant and wholly unsupported by anything resembling the facts. Jeffrey Toobin—no fan of Thomas, he!—has said as much in the storied pages of the New Yorker.
I’m sure Bunch’s befuddlement is just rhetorical; he knows full well that Thomas is guilty of giving the lie to progressive homilies about race. “Authentic” blacks just coincidentally happen to be the ones who choose the same political positions as the white progressives who want to be credited for making a big display of standing aside and relinquishing their grip on power. “Now, Clarence, where on Earth did you get your head filled with all these crazy conservative ideas? Have you been hanging around with that Scalia boy again? I’ve told you he’s bad news, haven’t I? Look, we only want you to be happy and successful, but that means you have to listen to us when we give you advice. We know best, after all.” Actually, come to think of it, I’d love to see the Venn diagram of patronizing progressive racists and helicopter parents.