Five times the media targeted Clarence Thomas over his race

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been a target of left-leaning media throughout his tenure for his conservative views.

That Thomas is an African-American has at times led to racially driven attacks as well, with even outright “Uncle Tom” references by some suggesting his views don’t make him an accepted member of the Black community. Liberal “Star Trek” actor George Takei infamously fumed he was a “clown in blackface” in 2015, later apologizing for his rhetoric.

Here are five of the starkest media examples.

Washington Post: Thomas thinks like ‘White conservatives’

Two reporters wrote – in a news article, not an opinion piece – this week that Thomas thought like “White conservatives,” drawing instant outrage.

In a piece about House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., the newspaper quoted Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., as he discussed Clyburn’s influence over President Biden’s Supreme Court nomination.

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“If you know that a person has been vetted by Jim Clyburn, you know that person won’t go to the court and end up being a Clarence Thomas,” Thompson said. The Post then wrote he was “referring to the Black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of White conservatives.”

The Post later issued a “clarification” for “imprecisely” referring to Thomas’ opinions “as often reflecting the thinking of White conservatives, rather than conservatives broadly.”

“Casual attributions of ‘white’ and ‘black’ ways of thinking to people and accusations that brilliant black conservatives have their wires crossed — we’re just inches away from pulling out the ‘Uncle Tom’ slur here — have made their way out of junk columns on fringe websites and into straight news reporting at the Post,” National Review’s Isaac Schorr wrote.

Thompson himself has previously referred to Thomas as an “Uncle Tom,” a slur for Blacks viewed as overly deferential or submissive to Whites.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid calls Thomas ‘Uncle Clarence’

Far-left MSNBC host Joy Reid generally loathes conservatives, but she particularly detests Thomas, even calling him “Uncle Clarence” in an unsubtle reference to the “Uncle Tom” slur.

During 2020 election night coverage on MSNBC, Reid fretted over the Supreme Court potentially stepping in to help boost then-President Trump’s claims he won the race.

“I think what scares people is that if [Trump] decides to do something that legally makes no sense … but if they somehow manage to stumble into the Supreme Court, do any of you guys trust Uncle Clarence and Amy Coney Barrett and those guys to actually follow the letter of the law?” she asked. “No! I mean, it’s a completely politicized Supreme Court that you can’t just trust that they’re going to do the right thing.”

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Reid has also used the slur for Thomas on Twitter.

‘The View’ assails Supreme Court’s Thomas as not truly representative of Black community

“The View” got personal on two Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices last month, with liberal co-host Sunny Hostin saying Thomas “doesn’t really represent the Black community.”

The panelists noted the lack of diversity on the high court throughout history, which has had only had two Black men ever, Thurgood Marshall and Thomas, when Hostin chimed in with a dig at Thomas. 

“One doesn’t really represent the Black community,” she said. 

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., also suggested Thomas wasn’t an authentic African-American in a 2016 interview with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, saying the Supreme Court hadn’t had an “African-American voice” since Marshall. That led Sharpton to hastily clarify that neither he nor Bass weren’t suggesting he wasn’t Black.

CNN’s Don Lemon asks if it’s fair to call Thomas a ‘sellout’

Affronted after Thomas spoke about growing up in segregated Georgia, CNN’s Don Lemon wondered if it was fair to call Thomas a “sellout.”

“So Justice Thomas has been criticized by some Black Americans for his decisions related to race, Areva,” Lemon said, in a segment flagged by NewsBusters. “I spoke, by the way, with Harvard Professor Randall Kennedy, who said, hey, it is OK. He understands why some Black Americans call Clarence Thomas a sellout. Is that fair?”

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“I think it’s absolutely fair. When you listen to Clarence Thomas, in some ways, Don, all you can do is laugh,” attorney Areva Martin said, adding he fails to keep his politics out of his decisions.

Boston Globe film critic compares Thomas to villainous house slave in ‘Django Unchained’

In his 2012 review of the movie “Django Unchained,” Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris praised Samuel L. Jackson’s turn as Stephen, the house slave character who thwarts Django’s efforts to free his enslaved wife.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

With his performance, Morris wrote, Jackson was evoking “embarrassing” Black men like Thomas or Herman Cain.

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“Samuel L. Jackson plays crusty, waxen Stephen as a vision of depraved loyalty and bombastic jive that cuts right past the obvious association with Uncle Tom. The movie is too modern for what Jackson is doing to be limited to 1853. He’s conjuring the house Negro, yes, but playing him as though he were Clarence Thomas or Alan Keyes or Herman Cain or Michael Steele, men whom some black people find embarrassing,” he wrote.

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.

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