No one—not even her life partner, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—can say for sure what possessed Virginia “Ginni” Thomas to call up Anita Hill’s office at 7:30 AM on a Saturday and leave her ballsy, passive aggressive “request” for an apology:
Good morning, Anita Hill; it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK have a good day.
Some have suggested that Thomas, who in 2009 founded the Tea Party propaganda clearinghouse Liberty Central, woke up feeling pissy about a critical New York Times front-pager that had run the day before.
Others have called it a midterm election stunt designed to drive traffic to Libertycentral.com, Ginni’s site where you can watch videos featuring black Tea Partiers, learn about her love of race-baiting Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and buy foam “Liberty Crown” headbands.
Whatever the catalyst, one thing is clear: Thomas played herself and her conservative lifetime appointee of a husband with that little call to Hill, the Brandeis University law professor and author who 19 years ago became a feminist icon because she calmly, publicly detailed how her old boss sexually harassed her. Hill’s now calmly, publicly detailing how her old boss’ wife is harassing her anew.
Thanks to Ginni Thomas’ call, we are all once again thinking about whether Clarence used his positions at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to subject female subordinates to talk of girl-on-animal porn, his penis size, “Long Dong Silver,” pubic hair on Coke cans and large-breast porn. We are now hearing from Lillian McEwen, Thomas’ then-girlfriend who was lifted up as an example of his healthiness and who’s today saying the man was “obsessed with porn” and made a “hobby” of gaming out which women at work could be sexually paired.
Thanks to Ginni’s call we’re again fuming about how Clarence, a proud foe of affirmative action, called the hearing a “high-tech lynching of uppity blacks,” before turning around to hawk a memoir by telling “60 Minutes” that he has no idea how much of his life was determined by being a black man. (“I don’t know. I’m black. You know, how much of your life is determined by being male? I have no idea. I’m black. That’s a fact of life. I’m five feet 8 and a half inches tall. I don’t know how much of my life is determined by me being five feet 8 and a half inches tall. It’s just a part of who I am. … I’m a man, first and foremost. I’m a citizen of this country and I happen to be black.”)
Thanks to Ginni’s bizarre, harassing call we’re all reminded anew of the insane, self-defaming antics this couple has seared into the historical record of national politics and law.
And we—OK, I—are saying things like, “Ginni: Don’t forget that your husband, for all of his standing, is still an emotionally stunted black man from rural, Jim Crow Georgia, who remains trapped in the self-hate white supremacy foisted upon him. Your foolishness has made him that much more vulnerable to ridicule from all sides.”
And, Ginni: “Consider how all those years of being the stand-by-your-man spouse have made you something more insidious still. You’re a harasser yourself.”
And, finally: “Ginni: Don’t mess with a black woman who has already made it clear—in her testimony, in her op-eds, in her memoir, in her body of work—that she’s not afraid to speak her truth. You’re out of your depth. So just fall back.”