The Stereotypes of Race

Both Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas must overcome realities and myths to get a fair hearing from society

No matter what the confusing confrontation between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill may have obscured, it left one thing clear: the U.S. is still haunted by powerful racial and sexual myths. After Hill's charges burst into print, Thomas and his supporters equated her claims with the lynchings of thousands of black men. "I will not provide the rope for my own lynching," Thomas declared at the start of the hearings; later he added that the broadcast of Hill's testimony was a "high-tech lynching" of an "uppity" black.

That was a curious choice of words from a man who has spent his...

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