Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Just Stop Whining - A Remedy?

Kevin Merida of the Washington Post has a great piece on Clarence Thomas' new memoir. He takes Thomas to task (mildly) for comparing himself to Tom in To Kill a Mockingbird and Bigger Thomas in Native Son. The most fascinating quote, to me, was:

During a 1998 appearance before a group of black conservatives, Thomas was asked what would be "the best way to help our young people overcome the tag of victimization."

"We've got to stop whining and get up and go do it," he said, invoking his grandmother and neighborhood women who worked as maids and suffered under segregation "without a complaint except a little ache and a pain."
What an astonishing statement. Does Thomas really believe that Africa-Americans gained civil rights by suffering silently? Would he have had Rosa Parks hide her anger with a smile and move to the back of the bus without a complaint? Under his prescription, shouldn't he have taken the "high-tech lynching" without a fight - just a complaint about "aches and pains?" If not, his meaning escapes me.

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