A fight against independent thought

Reuben Navarrette:

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may be the ultimate Rorschach test. Americans look back at what transpired in that Senate hearing room in October 1991 and see what they want to see.

For those who believed Anita Hill's claims that Thomas – while serving as her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – made advances and created a hostile work environment, the hearings were about sexual harassment.

In a recent interview tied to the release of his new book, “My Grandfather's Son,” Thomas said the treatment he received was really about abortion and the lengths to which the pro-choice lobby will go to keep a pro-life justice off the court.

I prefer a third explanation. These events were really about freedom – the freedom of affirmative action babies to engage in independent thinking and draw their own conclusions about whether racial entitlements actually benefit the folks they're supposed to, or are not worth preserving. That's not easy to do when you have to put up with silly accusations that you're pulling up the ladder behind you if you criticize affirmative action.

What ladder? Does anyone really think that under the status quo – where powerful, and mostly white teachers unions are derailing higher standards for Latino and African-American students – minorities are enjoying an educational windfall that they must preserve at all costs?

Oh great. Now I'm going to be in trouble, too. As a Mexican-American Harvard graduate, I have benefited from the very educational system I'm criticizing. And I've been accused of “selling out” my own people because I oppose racial preferences and bilingual education. I also support the education reform law, No Child Left Behind, which empowers Latino students and yet which a host of Democratic presidential candidates promised, during a recent Spanish-language debate, to overhaul or scrap.

But wait, shouldn't I have the right to process all available information and reach my own conclusions just like anyone else? Dream on. White liberals won't allow it. And many of them aren't beneath insinuating that – without the opportunities that they alone provided me, out of the goodness of their hearts – I'd be out hawking oranges at an intersection.

You should read the mail I got from liberals who were furious at me – oops, I mean, “disappointed” in me – for defending former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. I'll summarize: “You got your job because you're Mexican. Gonzales got his job because he was Mexican. So naturally, one Mexican defends another. Have a nice day.”


There does appear to be a line of thought that we bought your mind and political positions with affirmative racism programs and how dare you not stay bought. This seems to transcend the silent argument that these people were not good enough to succeed without affirmative racism, i.e. they were unqualified. As more and more minorities come face to face with this insult by the left, it is surprising that more of them do not rebel.


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