A Tale of Two Thomases

It was the worst of Thomas, and it was the best of times.

The worst, (Justice) Clarence Thomas, once again smearing Anita Hill in an attempt to hustle his book and polish his rep. The best, Ms. Hill reclaiming her dignity.

The worst, (basketball executive and former playa) Isaiah Thomas saying that while it’s always wrong for a white man to refer to a black woman as a “bitch” or a “ho”, it is no such restriction on a black man. The best, the Knicks and Mr. I. Thomas getting socked for $11.6 million in damages for sexual harrasment.

Orlando Patterson wrote a thoughtful piece in the NYT in the context of the Jena 6 case (and OJ, again), in which he says

…something that has been swept under the rug for too long in black America: the crisis in relations between men and women of all classes and, as a result, the catastrophic state of black family life, especially among the poor….a fact of life for too many black women who must daily confront indignity and abuse in hip-hop misogyny and everyday conversation. What is done with words is merely the verbal end of a continuum of abuse that too often ends with beatings and spousal homicide.

Gentlemen do not talk to ladies like the two Thomases did, or like Don Imus has. We need to expect better of our men. All of the time.

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