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Clarence Thomas: Black America’s Most Dangerous Adversary

I never imagined that Black America’s most dangerous adversary would be someone within our race. But we do and he sits on the United States Supreme Court. Because of his powerful position on the highest court, making decisions that have a direct effect on the rights and freedoms of Black Americans, Clarence Thomas is much more dangerous than David Duke or others of that ilk. These words are difficult for me to write. Thomas is a Black man who grew up in the same Jim Crow era as many of us did, and without doubt felt the sting of Southern oppression. One has to wonder at least what happened to him. 

Recently, he issued a strong rebuke against the 1954 United States Supreme Court ruling in the famous Brown V. Board of Education school desegregation decision. He joined the conservative majority in reversing a decision ruling that the recent redistricting of Congressional districts in South Carolina was unconstitutional gerrymandering. The State Legislature had drawn boundaries so that 2/3rds of the entire Black population was in one congressional district.

In his concurring opinion, Thomas reached back in history to attack the now-famous Brown decision. He wrote in reference to that decision, “The court took a boundless view of equitable remedies. Those remedies came through extravagant uses of judicial power to end racial segregation.” 

I find these words absolutely incredulous coming from a man who benefitted from that decision. However, that was not enough. He continued, “Federal courts have limited power to grant equitable relief not the flexible power to invent whatever new remedies that may seem useful at the time.”

Thomas has historically supported rulings from the Supreme Court that have been detrimental to the struggle for Black Americans to ultimately achieve equal citizenship in this country. He has been more interested in accepting benefits from the billionaires and looking out for their interests than continuing the stellar performance of the late Thurgood Marshall. According to ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power, Thomas, during his three decades on the Supreme Court, has been the “darling” of a cadre of industry titans and ultra-wealthy executives who have treated him to 38 luxury vacations on their yachts, ushered him into premium suites at sporting events and made their private jets available to him, to include a 737 jet.

For these particular benefits, Thomas has sacrificed the best interest of Black America and disgraced the seat on the Supreme Court he took after Marshall’s retirement. The great Black historian Carter G. Woodson wrote back in the 1920s, “Starting after the Civil War, the opponents of freedom and social justice decided to work out a program which would enslave the Negroe’s mind inasmuch as the freedom of the body that had to be conceded.”  

Approximately 160 years later, Thomas is an example of the success of that plan.

Frederick Williams is the author of four novels, has ghostwritten three autobiographies, and has edited numerous works, including “The Color of Strength: Embracing the Passion of Our Culture.”

Fred worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Birch Bayh as a legislative aide. He assisted in the drafting and management of the first Senate legislative proposal to make Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. He also assisted in the creation of the African American Studies minor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He designed and taught a number of classes to include African American Political Thought, African American Politics, African American Literature from Phyllis Wheatley to the Black Arts Movement, Politics of the Civil Rights Movement, and a course on Novelists of the Harlem Renaissance.

Fred teaches creative writing courses for Black Writers on Tour in Los Angeles, Calif., and for the Zora Neale Hurston Festival Education Day in Eatonville, Florida. He also teaches writing courses at Gemini Ink in his hometown of San Antonio. Fred was named one of the four recipients of the “Men of the Year Award” by San Antonio Magazine. He also received the 2011 Arts and Letters Award from the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library.

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