Clarence Thomas: America Too Sensitive About Race
Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 09:20 AM
By Elliot Jager
American society is more "conscious" of race than it was in the segregated south and during the early period of the civil rights struggle, U.S. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas told a college audience on Tuesday, Yahoo News reported.
Thomas told students at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., that he was saddened that America was more race conscious than it was in that earlier era.
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He spoke of growing up as a Catholic and African American in Savannah, Ga., "the first black kid" to attend his all white school. "Rarely did the issue of race come up," Thomas said.
"Now, name a day it doesn't come up. Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn't look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I'd still be in Savannah. Every person in this room has endured a slight; every person. Somebody has said something that has hurt their feelings or did something to them – left them out."
The university is an interdenominational Christian faith-based school offering liberal arts and select professional studies.
Thomas said the shabbiest treatment he'd received was not from southern whites.
"The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites. The absolute worst I have ever been treated," said Thomas. "The worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me — by northern liberal elites — not by the people of Savannah, Georgia."
Thomas also spoke of how faith played an important role in his job on the court.
"I don't know how an oath becomes meaningful unless you have faith. Because at the end you say, 'So help me God.' And a promise to God is different from a promise to anyone else."
Thomas, 65, is one of six Catholics on the court. There are three Jews and no Protestants. Nominated by president George H. W. Bush, he has served on the Supreme Court since 1991.