Much of the #MeToo movement has been a throwback, what with decades-old allegations coming to light, comparisons of how Trump’s Access Hollywood admission compares to the Bill Clinton scandal, and questions about how much– or how little– has changed. One story many have been looking back on is that of Anita Hill, the law professor who in 1991 accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of harassment. Back then, Joe Biden was sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Today, he feels he should apologize to Hill for not doing enough to get her justice. He told Teen Vogue:
“I believed Anita Hill. I voted against Clarence Thomas. And I insisted the next election — I campaigned for two women Senators on the condition that if they won they would come on the Judiciary Committee, so there would never be again all men making a judgement on this. And my one regret is that I wasn’t able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends. I mean, they really went after her. As much as I tried to intervene, I did not have the power to gavel them out of order.”
Those who remember the Hill testimony will recall that the Senators involved often used language that was not only dismissive but itself veered into harassment. Thomas was still appointed. And twenty six years later, Hill ‘s experience serves as a pertinent example of just how much harder women of color have to work to be believed than their white counterparts.
Despite all the lip service paid to black women following Roy Moore’s stunning loss in an Alabama special election, women of color are still expected to put in a disproportionate amount of labor to be heard without receiving proportional support. “In retrospect, some, including Anita, think I should have subpoenaed them no matter what,” said Biden. “I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill. I owe her an apology.” It would be a positive step forward, indeed, if more men recognized the role they could have, and can, play in supporting the women who come forward.
(Via: Teen Vogue)