For Better or Worse, Clarence Thomas Deserves Museum Inclusion
This article will most likely put me in the minority in the Black community, but Justice Clarence Thomas deserves inclusion into the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
While I am not a fan of some of Thomas’ rulings, especially those on affirmative action, I am even less of a fan of the belief of some in the African-American community that we only have one point-of-view or one political ideology.
According to a petition launched by the conservative organization StandUnited, “It is obvious politics is what kept Justice Thomas out of the museum. For years, he has been shunned by the liberal Black community since he has spoken out against affirmative action.
“Curators at the museum singled out Thomas due to his unique views on race and his conservative thought that the federal government is the greatest threat to our individual liberties. The museum highlights people of less noble endeavors, and it is unfathomable to think that curators were not open-minded enough to include all historically significant African Americans, no matter their political beliefs.”
There is no way that reality star Nene Leakes should be included in the African-American Museum, and the second Black United States Supreme Court Justice is not included.
As much as I love En Vogue, there’s no reason their costumes for the “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” video should be included and nothing on Thomas.
Prince is my second favorite singer of all time, but there’s no way a baseball cap sold as a souvenir at his 1997 Jam of the Year Tour, which I attended, should be included and nothing on the second Black Supreme Court Justice.
There will be those who think Thomas does not deserve inclusion because he was accused of sexually harassing lawyers Anita Hill and Moira Smith.
If that is a reason for exclusion, Michael Jackson, my favorite singer, should be excluded because of child molestation accusations.
Currently, there are several items from The Jacksons’ Victory, another tour I attended, included in the museum.
To think that African-Americans all think alike politically or have the same beliefs is just like a racist thinking that all Black people are criminals, deadbeat dads, drug users or dealers and/or high school dropouts.
It is bad enough that the African-American community has to put up with stereotypes from other races.
Therefore, African-Americans should not have to put up with stereotyping and bigotry from their own people.
Just like African-Americans are not all basketball players or rappers, African-Americans are also not just left-wing Democrats from the inner city and history should reflect that reality.
Simply put, being African-American is not just one thing, and African-Americans should not be arrogant enough to think that their life and ideals are the litmus test for Blackness.
If Thomas is excluded from the museum because his political beliefs differ from many in the Black community, many Black heroes should be excluded also.
I don’t agree with W.E.B. Dubois’ love for the Communist Party, so should he be excluded?
I don’t agree with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s support of socialism, so should he be excluded?
I don’t agree with Elijah Muhammad saying that White people are devils, so should he be excluded?
As a Christian, I don’t agree with Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali or Muhammad’s religion, so should they be excluded?
The beauty of African-Americans is the same beauty that exists in all people, our differences.
Being exposed to different viewpoints and ways of life only broadens one’s horizons, making them a better and more well rounded person.
So why are we as a community so afraid of someone thinking outside of the box?
Thomas is by no means my favorite U.S. Supreme Court Justice of all time.
But I am by no means close-minded enough to think that every Black person has to favor liberal justices over conservative justices like Thomas.
Black is a color.
It is not a political belief or party.
It is not a religion.
All of our experiences are not the same.
We do not all think alike.
It is just a shame that we have to explain that to our own people more than we do to bigots and racists.