Thursday, June 26, 2003

Blog Banter - Andrew Sullivan expresses his disgust with Maureen Dowd's column that attempted to address what she believes to be a bit of hypocrisy in Clarence Thomas's anti-affirmative action position. Dowd's argument is suspect in the sense that it attributes the success of every black person to affirmative action. I find this hard to believe. In any case, it does paint successful minorities into the corner of having no way to argue that their accomplishments can be attributed to something other than their race and racial preference policies. However, Dowd does make a good point that Clarence Thomas is oh-so-willing to use the race card himself, whenever it suits his interests and can contribute to his success. The fact that he DID equate his contentious Senate Confirmation hearing to a "high-tech lynching" clearly demonstrates both this point and the fact that Thomas himself believed his confirmation hearing was less subject to ideological politics than it was to racist politics. Some could argue that this is precisely the problem with affirmative action policies - that it creates a culture of playing the race card for preferential effect, even among such figures as Clarence Thomas. But one would expect Clarence Thomas, of all people, to rise above this. It's certainly an understandable position, and many liberals would even sympathize with this interpretation of the confirmation hearing. But it just doesn't suit Clarence Thomas to resort to it. This, I think, is the larger point that Dowd was making - not just regarding Clarence Thomas, but also about the Bush Administration's penchant for considering race as one factor among many in its decision-making processes, too.

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