JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS (AP Photo/Sidney Davis/File)
by Daryl Gale
Last week was an up and down week for the progressives and minorities who have been closely watching the movements of the Supreme Court.
There was jubilation upon news of the ruling that gay marriage is probably about to become settled law, with the Defense of Marriage Act torn to shreds; and hair-pulling frustration at the word that key portions of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark legislation that represents the greatest victory of the civil rights era, were scuttled because — and this may be news to some of you — America has apparently gotten over its criminally racist tendencies and every individual’s right to vote is already protected.
We’ll get back to that bogus assertion in a minute, but for now, I’d like to talk about the one member of the Supreme Court whose opinions and behavior continued to baffle me until this week — our old friend Clarence Thomas.
The court’s opinion gutting the VRA was signed by the conservative justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Samuel Alito, and of course, Thomas.
In an interesting aside, a White Minnesota state legislator named Ryan Winkler tweeted when the decision came down that there were “four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas.” Winkler was later forced to apologize to Thomas and remove the offending tweet. I, for one, wasn’t offended.
I’m just going to say it — Winkler was right. And when a White man has the nerve to call you out for acting like an Uncle Tom, you probably are one.
In fact, since I believe I’ve finally got Thomas figured out, I’ll go Winkler one better.
He’s not Uncle Thomas — he’s Uncle Ruckus.
If you’re a fan of Aaron’s McGruder’s biting satire comic and cartoon The Boondocks, you are right now laughing your head off and nodding in agreement. If you’re not a fan, let me give you a little insight into the mind and method of Uncle Ruckus.
Uncle Ruckus is a Boondocks character who’s an African American who hates, and I mean genuinely hates, Black people. His creative put downs for Blacks and his seemingly endless ability to invent new permutations of the n-word are hilarious in their absurdity.
Uncle Ruckus’ deep loathing for those who share his skin color is funny because, well, he’s Black, and it’s just a cartoon. Our friend Thomas, who shares both skin color and attitude with Ruckus, is not so funny, given the fact that as a Supreme Court justice, he has the ability to shape both law and public policy for generations to come.
Not settling for simply signing on to the majority opinion throwing portions of the Voting Rights Act out the window, Thomas felt the need to pen his own opinion for posterity, and just to make sure you know where he’s coming from. In that opinion, Thomas states that he not only agreed with striking down that portion of the VRA, but is all for killing the Act altogether. Add this to his recent statements about affirmative action being no more than reverse discrimination against White people, and his written opinion that just because a Black man is unjustly imprisoned is no reason to let him out.
And this is the guy George H.W. Bush put on the Supreme Court to replace the late civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, who must be spinning in his grave right about now. It was clearly Bush the Elder’s racist little joke on us all.
And before you let people try to make the argument that Blacks (and anyone with a conscience) hate Thomas because he’s a Republican, keep in mind that Black folks didn’t hold the same animosity toward Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, J.C. Watts, Mia Love, or a dozen other Black Republicans you can name. No sir, Clarence “Uncle Ruckus” Thomas holds his own special place in Black consciousness that few others could claim.
We don’t care that his White wife is a flag-waving Tea Party shill, or that he follows Justice Antonin Scalia around like a faithful hound. We’re not holding a grudge over the fact that he’s a woman-hating loser who publicly dragged Anita Hill through the mud after his lame, pathetic attempts to woo her failed miserably.
We care that he’s a shameless traitor with no remorse. We care that he’s dismantling everything we’ve gained. Like the Dave Chappelle character, a blind KKK leader who doesn’t know he’s Black, Thomas is blind to his own self-hatred, and blind to his own continuing legacy as a first class fool.
Daryl Gale is the city editor for The Philadelphia Tribune.