Clarence Thomas said recently that Americans are more "sensitive" about race now than in the 1960s. What's so remarkable about this statement is that it neglects the fact that in the mid-1960s, when Clarence Thomas was a kid, you could get killed if you were a black person speaking about race.
Clarence Thomas has a long history of walking through doors and closing them behind him. He acknowledges no part that affirmative action played in his life, but he wants to close the door for others.
In the 1950s and '60s in the South or North racism was firmly entrenched and institutionalized. Black people were the subjects of frequent bias, including acts of hate and violence. Most black people understood that they just had to suffer through it and keep their thoughts to themselves or behind closed doors. To speak out and resist as an individual was to invite dangerous retribution or death.
Today, racism persists and is less overt, but two generations of civil rights protection have empowered black people, and other victims of discrimination, to be more outspoken, and not to just keep their mouths shut and bear the indignities.
We have elected twice a black man (President Barack Obama) to the highest office of our country, and this had offended the racists. In a variety of direct and indirect ways they are expressing their discontent. But something has changed in the past 60 years in America. Good people of all skin colors won't tolerate the racist stuff anymore. It is not acceptable, and racism will not be met with silence.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, now is the time to reach back and help someone. Perhaps help us keep our civil rights. We can't go back to the 1950s and '60s.
W. Frank Hairston, Ravenna Township