Justice Clarence Thomas was the grandson of a sharecropper. Yet the Left holds up younger privileged middle class activists like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as truly representing the history of oppression.
In his opinion striking down affirmative action, Justice Thomas takes on the myth of racism and the attempt to create a systemically racial state. In attacking Brown’s dissent, he also takes on the fashionable 1619 Project style ideologies that define everything by race.
Jackson “would replace the second Founders’ vision with an organizing principle based on race. In fact, on her view, almost all of life’s outcomes may be unhesitatingly ascribed to race,” Thomas writes.
He exposes the emphasis on white people rather than black people, on resentment over achievement.
“Even if some whites have a lower household net worth than some blacks, what matters to JUSTICE JACKSON is that the average white household has more wealth than the average black household,” he points out.
“This lore is not and has never been true. Even in the segregated South where I grew up, individuals were not the
sum of their skin color. Then as now, not all disparities are based on race; not all people are racist; and not all differences between individuals are ascribable to race… Worse still, JUSTICE JACKSON uses her broad observations about statistical relationships between race and select measures of health, wealth, and well-being to label all blacks as victims. Her desire to do so is unfathomable to me.”
I can hardly do more than quote Thomas in an opinion that will be read for the ages.
“Such a view is irrational; it is an insult to individual achievement and cancerous to young minds seeking to push through barriers, rather than consign themselves to permanent victimhood. If an applicant has less financial means (because of generational inheritance or otherwise), then surely a university may take that into account. If an applicant has medical struggles or a family member with medical concerns, a university may consider that too. What it cannot do is use the applicant’s skin color as a heuristic, assuming that because the applicant checks the box for “black” he therefore conforms to the university’s monolithic and reductionist view of an abstract, average black person.”
“Accordingly, JUSTICE JACKSON’s race-infused world view falls flat at each step. Individuals are the sum of their
unique experiences, challenges, and accomplishments. What matters is not the barriers they face, but how they
choose to confront them. And their race is not to blame for everything—good or bad—that happens in their lives. A
contrary, myopic world view based on individuals’ skin color to the total exclusion of their personal choices is nothing
short of racial determinism.”
Instead of helping victims, racial categories are “a call to empower privileged elites, who will “tell us [what] is required to level the playing field” among castes and classifications that they alone can divine…. then, after siloing us all into racial castes and pitting those castes against each other, the dissent somehow believes that we will be able—at some undefined point—to “march forward together” into some utopian vision.”
Thomas further confronts the logic of Kendi’s anti-racism.
“If social reorganization in the name of equality may be justified by the mere fact of statistical disparities among racial groups, then that reorganization must continue until these disparities are fully eliminated, regardless of the reasons for the disparities and the cost of their elimination. If blacks fail a test at higher rates than their white counterparts (regardless of whether the reason for the disparity has anything at all to do with race), the only solution will be race-focused measures. If those measures were to result in blacks failing at yet higher rates, the only solution would be to double down. In fact, there would seem to be no logical limit to what the government may do to level the racial playing field—outright wealth transfers, quota systems, and racial preferences would all seem permissible. In such a system, it would not matter how many innocents suffer race-based injuries; all that would matter is reaching the race-based goal.”
Thomas envisions a perpetual cycle of racial victimhood that will just go on creating new victims.
“Nor is it clear what another few generations of race conscious college admissions may be expected to accomplish. Even today, affirmative action programs that offer an admissions boost to black and Hispanic students discriminate against those who identify themselves as members of other races that do not receive such preferential
“Must others in the future make sacrifices to relevel the playing field for this new phase of racial subordination? And then, out of whose lives should the debt owed to those further victims be repaid? This vision of meeting
social racism with government-imposed racism is thus self defeating, resulting in a never-ending cycle of victimization.”
“There is no reason to continue down that path. In the wake of the Civil War, the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment charted a way out: a colorblind Constitution that requires the government to, at long last, put aside its citizens’ skin color and focus on their individual achievements.”
These are a few sections of a comprehensive and voluminous opinion whose assertions are scholarly, impassionate and undeniable.
America is lucky to have Justice Thomas. We so little deserve him.