PRINT January 1992

Democracy, Inc.

bell hooks

WATCHING THE CLARENCE THOMAS hearings was both disenabling and disempowering for masses of individuals, many of us female. While viewers admired Anita Hill’s courage in daring to name publicly that she had been sexually harassed by Thomas, it remained distressing to some of us that it was never clear what she intended by her disclosure. Hill never really stated an agenda. Did she feel that Thomas’ willingness to use power coercively meant that he was an unworthy candidate for the Supreme Court? Did she speak out lest female subordinates working “under” Thomas might suffer the same fate were he to gain even more power? Did she believe that the nation would suffer with a person on the Supreme Court who lies, manipulates, deceives, etc.? And when she agreed to participate in public hearings, why did it not occur to her (or to her advisers) that she would need to explain, even justify, in a

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