Speaking Truth to Power
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See the new HBO movie CONFIRMATION about the Clarence Thomas hearings, starring Kerry Washington in the role of Anita Hill—then read Hill’s own life story.
After her astonishing testimony in the Clarence Thomas hearings, Anita Hill ceased to be a private citizen and became a public figure at the white-hot center of an intense national debate on how men and women relate to each other in the workplace. That debate led to ground-breaking court decisions and major shifts in corporate policies that have had a profound effect on our lives--and on Anita Hill's life. Now, with remarkable insight and total candor, Anita Hill reflects on events before, during, and after the hearings, offering for the first time a complete account that sheds startling new light on this watershed event.
Only after reading her moving recollection of her childhood on her family's Oklahoma farm can we fully appreciate the values that enabled her to withstand the harsh scrutiny she endured during the hearings and for years afterward. Only after reading her detailed narrative of the Senate Judiciary proceedings do we reach a new understanding of how Washington--and the media--rush to judgment. And only after discovering the personal toll of this wrenching ordeal, and how Hill copes, do we gain new respect for this extraordinary woman.
Here is a vitally important work that allows us to understand why Anita Hill did what she did, and thereby brings resolution to one of the most controversial episodes in our nation's history.
symbol of an issue and had thus lost something of my right to privacy was not enough. I had to accept being treated by people as less than human. I had become the female counterpart of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.” I was obvious, but my humanity was not—like a figure in a wax museum to be admired, poked, glazed at, and photographed. Or insulted. Once a young couple in front of me at a counter began to speak about me in intentionally audible whispered tones. “Yes, that is her,” he said. “Well,
which this may be carried was tragically demonstrated in the Mike Tyson rape trial. Desiree Washington, the eighteen-year-old black beauty pageant contestant who accused Tyson of raping her in his hotel room, hit the barrier of community politics late in 1991 when she made her claim. Despite the fact that she, too, is African American, the community, led by a group of ministers, threw its support to him. In his defense, even while the facts of the incident were being discovered, they asserted
approximately one week after news media aired the videotape that the regiment would be disbanded. No videotape of the Tailhook wrongdoing exists. All that existed was the word of nearly eighty women and formal complaints from over two dozen coupled with clear evidence that those present wanted to avoid a proper investigation. But more important, the difference between the two episodes is that the Canadian episode involved leadership with a will for accountability. None was evident in the Tailhook
forty-three-year-old Judge Garza the front-runner. Compared to some of the others under consideration, Judge Garza had limited experience on the court of appeals, having been appointed early in 1991, from a federal district judgeship he had taken in 1988. However, he had more overall federal judicial experience than Thomas, also forty-three, who had only been appointed to the court of appeals in 1990. Amid all the speculation, President Bush maintained that race was not a consideration in his
activity. Still, despite the fact that no one questioned how the young man had concluded that the “short curly hair” he says he and others found in their work was pubic hair, Danforth moved forward with them. Moreover, Danforth disregarded the likelihood that a young black woman at a Christian university could engage openly in such activity without some institutional sanctioning or even castigation from the dean of the school. Yet neither Dean Kothe nor his successor, John Sanford, endorsed the