U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ memoir called My Grandfather’s Son, was just released last week and I read it over the weekend. I found it very inspirational. It should be required reading for anyone who strives to succeed in the face of adversity. His book is an example of how one can maintain high standards despite the onlsaught of contrary public opinion and in the face of immense peer pressure. I could write much more about why I found the book inspirational and I may at some point make a list of the many passages that were so quotable that they should be used as a reference for anyone who is buffeted by the hegemony of certain powerful groups and their attacks on heterodoxy.
I also read the op-ed article by Frank Rich in yesterday’s New York Times about the book, and in my view the article was a mean-spirited and disrespectful attack. In some ways, the article vindicated and supported some of the views in the book, however, to the extent that it described certain intellectual elites (or those who think they are) as taking a "no holds barred" approach to crushing anyone who is not part of their "politically correct" club. One passage of the book that is especially memorable is where Justice Thomas describes some of the rich white men criticizing his record on civil rights and affirmative action, as similar to a fat guy lecturing a starving man about hunger. As someone who was born and raised initially in a house with no running water or electricity, and who suffered from racial discrimination most of his life, Justice Thomas is in an unsurpassed position to be able to identify those who would use social theories to support their own political or personal agendas.
Here is a post on the general topic today by The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and here is a rebuttal to the article by Frank Rich from law professor Orin Kerr.
UPDATE: Here is an article by Thomas Sowell about Clarence Thomas and a refutation of Anita Hill’s accusations.