Analysis: Justice Thomas comments spark fresh debate on race
February 12th, 2014
02:32 PM ET
2 months ago

Analysis: Justice Thomas comments spark fresh debate on race

(CNN) – Justice Clarence Thomas rarely speaks from the bench but his comments in less formal settings are often illuminating, often controversial - especially on race.

It is a topic that continues to engage the national debate, especially when it comes from the mind of the Supreme Court's only African-American jurist.

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Filed under: Clarence Thomas • Supreme Court
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    My momma told me that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. But this is Clarence Thomas. The Supreme Court Justice who makes Carlton Banks look like Malcolm X.

    February 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    Tom I get out and find some friends, I'm not one of them. I notice how you call yourself calling people like myself out over things we say but you say absolutely nothing to those that say the nastiest things about blacks. That says a lot about you.

    I don't like Clarence Thomas and I never will and ANY black that tries to pretend we aren't still being treated like ish, is no one I would ever listen to.

    February 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. tom l

    But I will say, Sniffit, that "thug" has no racial overtones. There are plenty of white thugs, plenty of Asian thugs, Latino thugs. I don't think you need to read any more into that.

    With regards to "urban", you might be on to something there but I still think it all matters as to the context. In radio, for instance, "urban" is a common term used to describe a radio station that is predominantly African American. There aren't, however, any "thug" radio stations... ;)

    February 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "This is America. If you suck at life, it is your own fault."

    This is somewhat analogous to the narcissistic denial Thomas exhibitted. Despite all the facts and data showing how UNexceptional our country is right now...that we've sunk to somewhat of a "middle of the pack" status in terms of health care, upward economic mobility, opportunity, education, etc. etc. etc. ....the conservatives, raised on a healthy diet of nationalism and xenophobia, desperately continue to cling to the ideological fantasy that we're the "best" and that the American dream is not under threat, hasn't become broken and obstructed, etc. To admit it would mean that the status quo is a problem, that we're not the "best," that we don't stand alone and above all others and that pro-active government-led collective efforts need to be made to fix the problem. That's unacceptable to their delusions.

    February 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein

    I really wonder what Thomas thinks. Personally I think that he was replacement for the late Thurgood Marshal and didn't have the legal experience and expertise to really be a good justice. He doesn't ask questions when the people are there giving oral arguements and rarely writes his own opinions. It makes me wonder how much he really puts into his job.

    February 12, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ tom l: "LOL. What can I say ... "

    Not much, apparently.

    February 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    But but but...DMFO, you should be so proud because he "looks" like you. Oh no wait, that's the Miami Heat who should love this guy because they "look" like him.

    Sorry, had to....
    --------------------------
    When you know that you have to apologize about a remark that you're about to make, it is usually best to keep your mouth shut and not say anything. Thanks, for giving us a glimpse into your humorous side, though.

    February 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    by the usual suspects on here.
    -------------------------------------------------
    tom l are you trying to tell me that you can't come up with your own catch phrases? You gotta steal mine on this thread?
    You know good and darn well that that's the phrase that I've coined to describe you and your buddies.
    Jeez dude!

    February 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Hugh

    If we were not we would still have the "quotas" of the 60's and all white schools and businesses would have " ONE" black student/employee as in his day.

    February 12, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. tom l

    @Wake Up,
    Shockingly, I'm actually a very well like person and have lots and lots of friends. A wonderful deflection by you to try and prove a negative but that's cool. That's usually what happens when you got nothing.

    February 12, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Some "slights" that Thomas was referring to:

    Growing, widespread, pervasive efforts to suppress minority votes.
    Growing, widespread, pervasive efforts to dilute minority voting power and prevent demographic shifts from causing it to grow (see, e.g., TX and the state legislatures email that literally said they were trying to re-district in a way that would prevent Hispanic population growth from increasing their ability to gain the representation they want).
    Attacking the first black POTUS as though he wasn't born here, doesn't have a legitimate birth certificate, was born in an African country and is a muslim (and if you think that wasn't felt by the minority community for what it was...crap that only resonated with the GOP/Teatrolls because of Obama's skin color...then you're an idiot).
    Stand Your Ground laws.
    Sudden massive conservative hissy fit over illegal immigration in response to the election of a black man as POTUS.
    Claiming Obama can't be trusted to enforce immigration reform laws despite all the evidence that he's doing so better than any previous POTUS in the past 50+ years.
    Constant, persistent, immutable rhetoric that equate being poor or needing government assistance with being an inner city minority...despite the fact that 61% of the people receiving some form of government assistance are white.
    The list is quite long really....anyone have some additions?

    February 12, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    tom l

    But I will say, Sniffit, that "thug" has no racial overtones. There are plenty of white thugs, plenty of Asian thugs, Latino thugs. I don't think you need to read any more into that.
    ---------------------–
    But, there is only one type of thug that comes to mind when you say "thug music." I think that the defendant in the ongoing "stand your ground" murder trial in Florida would beg to differ. He shot and killed someone because they were listening to "thug music."

    February 12, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    But but but...DMFO, you should be so proud because he "looks" like you.
    -------------------------------------------------
    tom l how do you know what I look like?

    February 12, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake up People!

    Tom I get out and find some friends, I'm not one of them. I notice how you call yourself calling people like myself out over things we say but you say absolutely nothing to those that say the nastiest things about blacks. That says a lot about you.

    I don't like Clarence Thomas and I never will and ANY black that tries to pretend we aren't still being treated like ish, is no one I would ever listen to.
    -------------------------------------------------
    BRAVA!!!
    (Applause!).

    February 12, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. ????

    Sniffit
    "This is America. If you suck at life, it is your own fault."

    This is somewhat analogous to the narcissistic denial Thomas exhibitted. Despite all the facts and data showing how UNexceptional our country is right now...that we've sunk to somewhat of a "middle of the pack" status in terms of health care, upward economic mobility, opportunity, education, etc. etc. etc. ....the conservatives, raised on a healthy diet of nationalism and xenophobia, desperately continue to cling to the ideological fantasy that we're the "best" and that the American dream is not under threat, hasn't become broken and obstructed, etc. To admit it would mean that the status quo is a problem, that we're not the "best," that we don't stand alone and above all others and that pro-active government-led collective efforts need to be made to fix the problem. That's unacceptable to their delusions.
    -------
    I rest my case.

    February 12, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. RandyIA

    Everybody who disagrees with Justice Thomas is a racist. No exceptions. It works that way for Obama doesn't it?

    February 12, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. freedom

    Oh – please – give it a rest. This country is sick of the race card, race issue, fanning the flames of racism, thanks to our first black president – Obama. How could a black president win two terms if the country is racist? Give it up!

    February 12, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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