Anita Hill, still courageous 20 years later

I almost lost my breakfast this morning when the Tom Joyner Morning Show news break informed me about Virginia Thomas’ antics. Almost 20 years after the fact, this is what Clarence Thomas’ wife had to say to Anita Hill, via ABC NEWS:

Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas,” said the voice. “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.

I had one of those “I wish a blinkety-blank-blank-blank woman would” moments. And it didn’t help that the woman commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show chuckled after she mentioned that Ms. Hill had contacted the FBI, as if she was being accused of overreacting all over again.

Yet, I am glad that this story has resurfaced. This brief encounter reminds us that Ms. Hill is still as heroic as she was in 1992. She is still that woman who, when wronged, will  contact the proper authorities (campus police), request an investigation (FBI) and face her aggressor squarely:

Hill told ABC News: “Even if it wasn’t a prank, it was in no way conciliatory for her to begin with the presumption that I did something wrong in 1991. I simply testified to the truth of my experience. For her to say otherwise is not extending an olive branch, it’s accusatory.”

She continued: “I don’t apologize. I have no intention of apologizing, and I stand by my testimony in 1991.”

Twenty years later, I still believe Anita Hill.

How many women among us can say that we have sought justice when we were wronged? How many of us can say that we are willing to stand up to male privilege and the many emissaries (wives included) who will be dispatched to throw the kitchen sink at us when it’s our word against a man’s?

I could tell you a thing or two about how familiar Virginia’s solicitation of an apology is, how it reeks of white condescension and entitlement. But I have no more room in my activism for the Virginia Thomases of the world. All I can think about is how I can generate the endless courage of Anita Hill in myself and all my sisters. I suspect that if I had half of Anita Hill’s courage, it would last me 10 lifetimes of fighting against patriarchy in an employment system that largely only combats discrimination after a complaint has been made. Thank you Anita Hill for taking a stand nearly 20 years ago and for all you continue to do now to stand up for yourself.

See more on Anita Hill here and how she found the courage to take a stand from within and from 30,000 women across America who supported her as she sought justice.

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