Ted Cruz: Lack Of Recognition For Clarence Thomas In National Museum Of AA History “Disturbing”
You know Black people can’t have something for five minutes before someone (i.e., disgruntled White men usually) complains about it.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, known for being anything but beloved, wrote a letter to those who are leaders of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. to call their lack of inclusion of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the institution a “mistake.”
According to the AP, Justice Thomas is only really mentioned when speaking on his 1991 confirmation hearings where he faced allegations that he sexually harassed Anita Hill. In his letter, Cruz said “the only reference to Justice Thomas is in regard to a single individual’s controversial accusation against him at his Senate confirmation hearing 25 years ago — an accusation that was contradicted by numerous witnesses and rejected by the Washington Post, the Democratic-controlled Senate and the American public at the time.” Cruz found inclusion of Thomas in this way to be “disturbing.”
“I am concerned that millions of Americans, of all ages, races, religions, and walks of life, when passing through this museum, will be subjected to a singular and distorted view of Justice Thomas, an African-American who survived segregation, defeated discrimination, and ascended all the way to the Supreme Court,” Cruz wrote in his letter.
Cruz also makes mention of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice, claiming that he too is only briefly talked about in the museum, though multiple times. Cruz reportedly suggested that an exhibit on both Justices be given a spot in the space.
“To be clear, I am not petitioning for a partisan hagiography of Justice Thomas, nor am I asking that everything critical of him be excluded,” Cruz stated in the letter. “I am simply requesting that a fair and accurate portrayal of his powerful story be included, for the great benefit of millions of future museum-goers.”
Cruz is not alone in his feelings, though. Other Republican senators have also spoken out about the lack of mention of Justice Thomas in the museum, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who is Black. A resolution has even been introduced by a group of Republican senators, according to the AP, to “encourage the museum to give Thomas a prominent place in its exhibits.”
However, it’s well-known that Justice Thomas, like Cruz, is also anything but a beloved figure for not voting in favor of measures that help the Black community. He has always been an opponent of affirmative action, though it’s the belief of his critics that he has benefited from affirmative action programs to get where he is now. He is, perhaps, one of the most conservative justices, and voted most frequently in line with late Justice Antonin Scalia. He even sided with the conservative majority in striking down an important part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 that forced states with a history of voter discrimination to pre-clear changes to voting procedures. When speaking on the Voting Rights Act in 2014, Justice Thomas not only said it’s no longer necessary because “our nation has changed,” but according to CNN, he also said this to students and faculty at a college in Florida in 2014:
“My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school,” he said. “To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white [Catholic] school. Rarely did the issue of race come up. 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.”
Considering all of this, and the fact that the museum is currently overflowing with visitors who struggle to see everything in the 300,000-square foot museum in one visit, I doubt anyone who visits is wondering where Justice Thomas is in the museum — aside from the Republican senators whose stances he supports.
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