On Monday, June 23, 2003, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision regarding affirmative action at the University of Michigan.
I became a part of that historical event because I had the opportunity to meet with Justice Thomas in the Supreme Court’s Lawyer’s Lounge immediately following the landmark decision.
Meeting Justice Thomas was an interesting experience, to say the least. I must admit that I already had my own opinions of the man, his politics and his policies. I, too, believed that Justice Thomas did not care about the issues or interests of African-Americans.
I was wrong. The old saying is true: You can’t judge a book by its cover nor can you judge a person before you get to know them.
Justice Thomas talked of his childhood in a South Carolina filled with discrimination and hardship. He spoke of long days working in the fields and how he was determined to better himself.
As to what he thinks of his larger role in history, Justice Thomas made the wise and profound statement that all he can do is be the best justice he can and history will take care of itself.
He brought up the fact that people are so quick to call him an “Uncle Tom” or say he isn’t black enough.
In his defense, Clarence Thomas not only dedicates himself to working hard and standing by his beliefs, but he remembers that his father was the son of a slave.
The Justice Thomas I saw was a fighter; a man who had been climbing mountains of adversity all his life and who had gone through many trials, tribulations, victories, and defeats. Justice Thomas, no matter what controversial position he might take on an issue, was and still is a black man.
There will come a time when all blacks realize that there is no such thing as one black person being or acting blacker than another. Everyone, no matter what stance they take on a given issue, has to trust their own judgment.
Most, if not every, African-American has had someone challenge their “blackness”.
Ultimately, whether “your people” agree with you or not, you are still black!
Malcolm Glover, 20, is a junior broadcast journalism major from Bowie, Md. He can be reached at Malcolm2001g@hotmail.com.