The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas.
By Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher.
Illustrated. 422 pp. Doubleday. $26.95.
April 24, 2007
Tags: Supreme Discomfort, Clarence Thomas
Since I'm on a roll when it comes to books lately, I thought I'd mention "Supreme Discomfort." Clarence Thomas has always been regarded as "different." (From the NY Times) He is arguably one of the most viscerally despised people in black America...He is said to dislike light-skinned blacks, yet he is the legal guardian of a biracial child, the son of one of his numerous poor relatives. He frequently preaches the virtues of honesty and truthfulness, yet there is now little doubt that he lied repeatedly during his confirmation hearings — not only about his pornophilia and bawdy humor but, more important, about his legal views and familiarity with cases like Roe v. Wade...In addition to white racism, he suffered the color prejudice of lighter-complexioned blacks. This dimension of black life has been so played down with the rise of identity politics that it comes as a shock to find a black person of the civil rights generation who feels he was severely scarred by it. Thomas says that growing up, he was teased mercilessly because his hair, complexion and features were too “Negroid” and that his schoolyard nickname was “ABC: America’s Blackest Child.”
I found the book to be an eye-opener, refreshing and astonishing, a fly on the wall's look at a man who has been under scrutiny for a long time. Be sure to look for this one at your local library!