Forget whatever you think you know about Clarence Thomas - you’re wrong. Thomas is seen as one of the biggest conservatives on the bench. In response, the left tries to demonize him as a friend of the right - rich and out of touch.
Yet Clarence Thomas likely comes from the poorest childhood and most leftwing young adulthood of any of his fellow justices on the Supreme Court. He was the epitome of “dirt poor” and he was - by his own admission - an “angry radical” who believed America was corrupt and racist.
Justice Thomas is now the subject of an incredible new film, "Created Equal." In it Thomas is honest about his poverty and his anger as a young man. “I'm angry with my grandfather. I'm angry with the church. If it's a warm day, I'm angry. If it's a cold day, I'm angry. I'm just angry. I'm angry. I'm sort of flying, lashing out at every single thing. Nothing is right.”
It is a story of how he transitioned from a very radical and very angry young man to a force for stability. The documentary also reveals that Thomas wasn't some run-of-the-mill guy rising through the ranks of the judiciary who suddenly found himself in the spotlight upon his nomination in 1991 for the Supreme Court.
The crosshairs of the left were fixated upon him long before he received the nomination. They portrayed him as a “willing slave” of the right - the media didn’t hesitate to use racial stereotypes when discussing Thomas. Then when he was nominated and well on his way to a Senate confirmation (a Democrat-controlled Senate, mind you), someone leaked allegations by a former employee, Professor Anita Hill.
At the time, Hill claimed Thomas had pestered her for dates, made a remark about a pubic hair on a Coke can, and made a joke about a porn actor with a crude nickname. During the hearings, Professor Hill said she had no interest in writing a book or making a career out of the allegations, but was motivated by genuine concern. That turned out to be false, as she then went on to write a book and make a career out of the allegations. She almost succeeded in derailing Thomas’s nomination.
Her allegations were weak, however, and it turned out that she actually followed Thomas from one government job to another, she had lunch with him, she drove him to the airport. There are records of her reaching out to him a total of 11 times after she left his employment.
After the allegations broke, two thirds of the American people believed Thomas and not Hill. However, numerous media reports and films that praised and glorified Hill probably chipped away at that confidence.
Regardless, Thomas really saved the day - and his appointment - with a now-famous speech in which he called the proceedings a “high tech lynching.” It's worth watching "Created Equal" just to hear him say it. Here he is in his own words:
“This is a circus. It is a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I am concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity-blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that, unless you kow-tow to an old order, this is what will happen to you, you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”
But "Created Equal," directed by veteran documentary filmmaker Michael Pack, is about so much more than the Anita Hill controversy because Clarence Thomas’s life is about so much more than Anita Hill. You’ll want to see the rest of the story for yourself - how a grandfather’s tough love saved him, how he feels his wife, Ginni, is a gift from God and why, some summer, you might see him sitting outside an RV in a Walmart car park.
"Created Equal" hits theaters this weekend. Visit the film’s website to find screening locations
Phelim McAleer is a journalist, producer, podcaster, and filmmaker. He is known for his films The Gosnell Movie and Fracknation. He hosts a weekly podcast called the Ann & Phelim Scoop and his latest podcast, The Weinstein Trial: Unfiltered, can be found at www.WeinsteinPodcast.com.