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A racist and sextist attack against Anita Hill

It always takes a maverick to stand up against corruption and go against the status quo in order to change things. Anita Hill, a distinguished law professor and academic, faced intense public scrutiny when she decided to report Clarence Thomas for his continuous sexual harassment in the workplace.

She had to endure being shamed, interrogated, and doubted at her most vulnerable moments. Anita Hill was one of the most prominent activists to stand up against male domination and sexual harassments in the workplace. In her triumph she brought this issue to national attention. Tragically, however, her efforts to deliver a powerful testimony against her tormentor fell on deaf ears and he was approved for the Supreme Court.

Anita Faye Hill was born on July 30, 1965 in Oklahoma. She was the youngest of thirteen children and raised in a strong religious environment. She attended Morris High School, earning straight A’s and graduated as valedictorian of her class. After high school, Hill attended Oklahoma State University and graduated with her B.

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A. in psychology in 1977. Anita was accepted to Yale Law School where she received her J.D. from the institution in 1980.

She started her law career in 1980 with a company/firm named Wald, Harkrader & Ross in Washington, DC. It was here that she met Clarence Thomas and began her professional career as a law secretary for him. Anita had one task while working with Thomas, it was to write an article for Thomas on the education of minority students.

Clarence Thomas is the Second African American justice to serve on the Supreme Court in the United States.

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Thomas was born on June 23, 1948, in Pin Point, Georgia. He served under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush. Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court as a replacement for Thurgood Marshall. Before he became a justice, Clarence had other dreams. During his High School Years, he decided to take his first steps to becoming a Catholic priest. Thomas decided to transfer to St. John Vianney Minor Seminary. Graduating in 1976, he continued his studies at an institution in Missouri called Immaculate Conception Seminary. In 1986 Thomas went to Massachusetts to study English. After his college years, Clarence went to Yale University and, after many years as a lawyer, he moved to Washington D.C. Soon, he found great success in Washington, DC. Shortly after his arrival, he received an appointment from President Reagan. President George H. Bush gave him his first judgeship, nominating him to the Circuit Court of Appeals.

In October 1991, Anita Hill sat in front of the U.S Senate Committee to testify against Clarence Thomas for the sexual harassment that she received during the time she worked with him. At this time, Clarence was waiting to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. In Hill’s testimony she said that Thomas had asked her time after time to go out with him and he would not take no for an answer. She stated that he would talk about sexual related things, describing pornography he had seen involving other women. “He spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films involving such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes. He talked about pornographic materials depicting individuals with large penises or large breasts involved in various sex acts,” Anita testified. Her testimony was quite shocking and was quite revealing of Thomas’s character. In addition, Thomas had personally pursued Anita Hill in an inappropriate manner. “On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess”, Hill said. In return, Thomas denied all the claims and described the hearing as a “high tech lynching”. On the third day of the hearing, Hill had passed the lie detector test but was still called delusional by Senator Alan K. Simpson. “I understand, based on information from reliable scientific sources, that if a person suffers from a delusional disorder he or she may pass a polygraph test. Therefore, a polygraph examination in this context has absolutely no bearing on whether the events at issue are true or untrue.”

This began a long and calculated character assassination effort by Republican senators. For example, Orrin Hatch, a Republican senator from Utah, ironically claimed that the test results were “highly offensive and political”. Despite Hill’s test result being approved by the administrator, Paul Hill (Having no relation to Anita Hill), Republican senators did not want to acknowledge the likelihood of Clarence Thomas’s guilt. When Thomas testified about Hill’s claims before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he called the hearing a “high tech lynching for uppity blacks.”

This event had all the traits of a racist and sextist attack against Anita Hill. Anita was scolded and her intelligence was insulted during the long and grueling interrogation. For example, Sen. Arlen Specter told Anita Hill, “You testified this morning that the most embarrassing question involved this is not too bad women’s large breasts. That is a word we use all the time. That was the most embarrassing aspect of what Judge Thomas had said to you.” This is not something you hear everyday in the workplace, and it was very shocking a senator to claim that. Anita Hill is being verbally abused by these senators. She put up this for three years and they have the nerve to say that she is “over exaggerating. Heflin askes Hill if she is a scorned woman to Thomas. His exact words were, “Now, in trying to determine whether you are telling falsehoods or not, I have got to determine what your motivation might be. Are you a scorned woman?” He basically told her that she was doing all of this for attention. Anita Hill answered no, and that she does not like all the attention that she is receiving and that she wouldn’t lie just to get attention. Hill’s characteristic was terribly assassinated.

Anita Hill was the catalyst for a new era of assertive women’s right activist. Previous to her testimony, many professional women felt compelled to be silent in fear of losing their jobs. According to popular believe, “Black women, like Hill, are penalized for appearing assertive.”

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A racist and sextist attack against Anita Hill. (2019, Nov 24). Retrieved from

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