Sunday, May 10, 2015

Anita Hill on Equality

Marketplace on Friday ran an interview with law professor Anita Hill, whose biggest claim to fame was her accusation of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas at his Supreme Court nomination hearing.  Although the veracity of Hill's allegations has not been been completely proven, I think the evidence is pretty clear that her testimony was truthful.

Hill suffered quite a bit of backlash after her testimony but admirably, and doggedly, managed to use the publicity to become a strong advocate for gender and race equality over the years. Her speeches and writings have not only changed the debate about equality and fairness in the country but has changed they way we act.

Yet there is one thing that bothers me. Everything I have heard from Hill talks about discrimination agaisnt women or discrimination against blacks. Discrimination is a term for injustice agaisnt a group because of that group's identity. It doesn't really matter if that group is women, blacks, men, whites, native Americans, Irish, Hispanic, Catholics, Jews, gays or any other way you want to categorize people. And ultimately it doesn't even matter if there is a group. What really matters is that injustice is committed against an individual. The greatest advocates for justice, such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, understood and emphasized this.

I don't really feel like the injustice that occurred to me was because of my gender, race, or religion. In some ways it would be easier if it was because then I would have a group to identify with. What happened to me was simply due to criminal actions by corrupt people. It happened for reasons of power and money. The same as for all injustice.

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