Court of Appeal: The Black Community Speaks Out on the Racial and

Black Scholar Magazine, Author, Robert Allen, Editor, Robert Chrisman, Editor
Black Scholar Magazine, Author, Robert Allen, Editor, Robert Chrisman, Editor Ballantine Books $19 (340p) ISBN 978-0-345-38136-1
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
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These readings, which were collected in The Black Scholar magazine (where Chrisman and Allen are editors), include diverse black perspectives on the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Though the volume begins with statements from Thomas and Anita Hill and ends with analysis of Thomas's judicial record, in the main it seems disorganized. Still, many essays are valuable: Ernest Allen Jr. shows how Thomas's supporters used gender stereotypes to discredit Hill while Thomas invoked racial stereotypes to gain credence; Calvin Hernton analyzes an ideology that allots power first by race and second by gender, placing black women on the bottom of the heap; June Jordan eloquently attacks black leaders who abandoned Hill. Too few of the essays address the flawed hearing process. The volume includes both support for Thomas and criticism, including Derrick Bell's acid suggestion that Thomas is a revolutionary in disguise, his ``seemingly ridiculous statements . . . part of a carefully conceived conspiracy.'' Given the redundancy of much of the criticism, it would have been useful had the book included some reflections on Thomas's initial performance on the high court. (Sept.)
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