Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Professor Hill’s Class

Anita Hill, the woman that accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991 during his Senate confirmation hearings, has an op-ed piece in the New York Times.

On Oct. 11, 1991, I testified about my experience as an employee of Clarence Thomas’s at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

I stand by my testimony.

Justice Thomas has every right to present himself as he wishes in his new memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son.” He may even be entitled to feel abused by the confirmation process that led to his appointment to the Supreme Court.

But I will not stand by silently and allow him, in his anger, to reinvent me.

Read the rest of this piece. In it, Professor Hill doesn’t lash out at Justice Thomas in an angry or vengeful manner — contrary to the treatment that she will undoubtedly receive at the hands of Justice Thomas’s defenders — but points out that his anger over his hearing has tainted his memory and his memoirs, and it also points up the difficulty in making a claim of harassment against a superior.

And it reminds me of the calm, cool, and brave woman who sixteen years ago held herself up for ridicule, scorn, hatred, and every other kind of smear that is imaginable — and some that aren’t — to tell her story. She did it without bitterness and rancor, and when it was over, she went on with her life. But she’s also not going to let history and the victors tell the story. Good for her. That takes guts, which she has already proved she has. It also takes class, which so far none of her attackers have proved they have at all.