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What Clarence Thomas' Wife Should Be Saying To Anita Hill

By Sierra Black |

Thank You

Thank You

Clarence Thomas’ wife needs a lesson in manners. Instead of asking Anita Hill to apologize for speaking out about sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings 20 years ago, Mrs. Thomas should be writing Professor Hill a thank-you letter.

That’s what we do when someone gives us a gift. Anita Hill gave all of us a gift when she risked her career and reputation to make sexual harassment front page news.

Thank you notes have been heading the way of the engraved invitation for awhile now. I’m more likely to shoot someone a friendly e-mail than jot out a written card. I’ve passed my sloppy manners on to my kids. They are effusive with praise in the moment, but I’ve never had the patience or organizational skills to sit down with them and write out thank you cards after birthday parties. Even though I know I should.

It’s never too late to say Thank You, though, just like it’s never to late to say you’re sorry. While Mrs. Thomas (hopefully) figures out how to word the apology she clearly owes Professor Hill, she might also consider thanking her.

Here’s a nice example of the letters we might all want to write to Dr. Hill now, written by a friend of mine:

Dear Professor Hill,

Reading the NYT piece about Virginia Thomas’s recent phone call
reminded me of something I wish I’d done sooner, which is to deeply
thank you for your testimony during Clarence Thomas’s confirmation

At the time, I was a sophomore in high school, and the notion of
sexual harassment was largely theoretical to me, but soon after, I
experienced it first-hand, and your courage and conviction gave me the
validation that I needed to know that my experience was not only one
that was shared by many women, but was worth objecting to and working
to stop. I wished then that I could thank you for taking that
difficult path and thereby making mine easier, and I’m sorry I’ve
waited so long to finally do so.

Your efforts changed my life for the better, and I thank you for it.

I’m a few years younger: Anita Hill’s testimony was vaguely on my radar as a 12-year-old kid, but I wasn’t quite following political news yet.

By the time sexual harassment mattered to me personally, I’d had the privilege of growing up in a world where everyone knew the term. It was still hard to tell my colleagues at my first job to back off when they teased me with sexual jokes, but it was possible. I knew and they knew that HR would have my back on this one. My heartfelt thanks go out to Anita Hill for that as well.

Photo: Ralph & Jenny

More by Sierra Black:

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Why I Don’t Miss Homeschooling

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Stepmothers: Do You Really Love Your Husband’s Kids?

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About Sierra Black


Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “What Clarence Thomas' Wife Should Be Saying To Anita Hill

  1. Samantha says:

    I was a graduate student during the hearings. I was asked what I thought of them by a much older (read wiser) woman on the faculty. I said that there were both credible so it was hard to tell. She gave me an amused (sad?) look and said, you’d know who was telling the truth, if you’d been sexually harassed. And 20 years later, I know; although I also believe that things are so much better for us women in the workplace now in no small part due to Anita Hill for having the courage to open up the topic of sexual harassment to public debate. So, I too would very, very much like to thank her.

  2. ma88ie says:

    CommentsDavid Brock published the uncorroborated “story” of Anita Hill and eventually confessed to being Blinded By The (conservative) Right and like him, many of us (I believe including Virginia Thomas), are also FULLY aware of who Clarence is. Virginia Thomas could not have dated Mr. Thomas & lived with him ALLLLLLL these years and NOT known. Or perhaps Mr. Thomas reserved his darker sexual proclivities for the “darkies”. I believe Mrs. Thomas knew and if she didn’t then – over the years she has begun to SUSPECT, to LOOK FOR, to SEARCH OUT and eventually, to KNOW. Her husband has been careful over the years; but I believe even one as TIGHT as Mr. Thomas has to relax SOMETIME. She knows. And I believe her knowledge d r i p s slowly out of her onto him – particularly when he does not toe the domestic line. Too much was at stake then and she believes even more is at stake now. She has held it in too long – it has been brewing inside her and she had decided now is the time to spout her righteous anger. But she is directing it publicly at the wrong person. I have ALWAYS believed Anita Hill.
    Mrs. Thomas, you might be a lawyer, but you should have kept your mouth shut and let sleeping dogs lie. Your husband got away with it once. For 2 decades he has had to live with the shame of his wrongdoings having come to glaring light. I KNOW he questions himself and his position on that Supreme Court EVERYDAY but infinitely worse, he has had to live with the secret knowledge that the real victim of the “high tech lynching” was his “friend” Anita Hill and he was the hangman.
    I believe Ms. Hill would have kept your husband’s secret till death if she had not been forced into the open via subpoena. And poor Clarence – what would you have expected a lawyer to do when accused??? Would you REALLY have expected him to tell the Truth. It would have been almost too much for an ordinary man. Your husband ALMOST got away with it.
    So where are you going to go from here? Remember, even though the focus was on MS. Hill, she was not the only one who had knowledge or experience of your husband’s misdeeds. The other womens’ names were muddied and the men who knew of his deviant lifestyle were called liars. Now along comes Judge McEwen – are you going to contact her and alllllll the other women and men and demand apologies from them too??
    A question to ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS – who after the McEwan story broke said that during the trial – “he’d seen no indication that Thomas had a penchant for pornography or making odd sexual comments”>>> How does one man who is not being sexually harassed and unlikely to be (unless he is gay) – SEE another man whom he does not really know – sexually harass a woman; and how would one man KNOW about another man’s pornography unless it is shared. What a load of BULL. Armstrong had and still has NO SHAME!!!
    Virginia – I feel sorry for you and your husband. If this is the kind of sick diet Tea Partiers serve up – I am truly sorry for you and them. You should be charged with harassment. In the meantime , get over yourself. You need to take a leaf out of Ms. Hill’s book… she is the epitome of grace. A true lady.

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