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Race, Gender, and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings
     

Race, Gender, and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings

by Anita Hill, Emma C. Jordan (Editor)
 

The shock waves from Anita Hill's testimony at the Senate confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas continue to reverberate. Race, Gender, and Power in America is a powerful collection of essays that examines the context and consequences of that controversy. Edited by Hill and Emma Coleman Jordan, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and including

Overview

The shock waves from Anita Hill's testimony at the Senate confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas continue to reverberate. Race, Gender, and Power in America is a powerful collection of essays that examines the context and consequences of that controversy. Edited by Hill and Emma Coleman Jordan, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and including the first published essay on the episode written by Hill herself, these essays explore the volatile politics of race and gender, and the unique challenges faced by African-American women.
Among the distinguished contributors are Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; playwright/actress and Stanford University Professor Anna Deaveare Smith; and Chief Judge Emeritus A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In addition, this collection brings together for the first time many of the direct participants in the hearings, including four members of Hill's emergency legal team: Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. of Harvard Law School; Professor Judith Resnik of the University of Southern California Law Center; Susan Deller Ross, Director of the Sex Discrimination Clinic at Georgetown Law Center; and volume co-editor Emma Coleman Jordan. Jordan's essay examines how Thomas used the "lynching" metaphor to evoke a false racial memory of innocent black victims of vigilante violence. The lynching metaphor succeeded in branding Hill as a race-disrespecting traitor who was willing to "air the dirty linen" of sexual misconduct by breaking a powerful racial taboo against exposing black men to flawed justice. In "She's No Lady; She's a Nigger," Adele Logan Alexander scrutinizes the devastating, centuries-old stereotypes of African-American women as mindless, untrustworthy, and sexually insatiable. Hill examines the institutions of patronage and marriage, demonstrating how, as a professional African-American woman with no official Senate sponsor, she confounded the assumptions by which lawmakers are accustomed to assigning credibility and status. "In going before the Committee, I came face to face with a history of exclusion from power," she writes. Charles R. Lawrence views the controversy as Act One in a three act morality play starring Clarence Thomas, William Kennedy Smith, and Mike Tyson, and Harvard's Orlando Patterson maintains that it is black men, even more than black women, who suffer the consequences of strained gender relations. Looking to the future, Robert L. Allen describes his encouraging work with the Oakland Men's Project, and offers a prescription for ending sexual harassment and the system of sexism that underpins it.
Race, Gender, and Power in America is provocative reading for everyone concerned about the fault lines of race and gender threatening to rupture our society.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With Emma Coleman Jordan, a law professor at Georgetown, Professor Hill has edited a solid collection of essays that explore the troubling issues the Hill-Thomas hearings raised: the stereotypes stalking black women, the uneasy relationships between black men and black women, the changes in the law of sexual harassment."—Susan Rieger, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

"Hill's eloquent writing on the controversy is consistent with what she said throughout the hearings, namely that she had no agenda other than to tell the truth about her interactions with a man who now sits on the highest court in the land."—San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle

"The story of the confrontation between Anita Faye Hill and Clarence Thomas continues to fascinate.... Race, Gender, and Power in America...collects essays adapted from a symposium at the Georgetown University Law Center on Justice Thomas's confirmation hearings.... Ms. Hill's own essay...is required reading for those interested in this historic confrontation; she relates cogently her view of what happened to her."—Neil A. Lewis, The New York Times Book Review

"In October 1991, Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her sexual harassment charges against soon-to-be associate justice Clarence Thomas. In these essays, contributors Eleanor H. Norton, Charles J. Ogletree, Anna Deaveare Smith, and others take a critical look at that controversy."—Library Journal

"Overall, these essays are quite intriguing and will be discussed in conjunction with the ongoing debate over the many disasters of that cold October in 1991."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the aftermath of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, this book of 12 essays examines the political, legal, and social consequences of that controversial event. Half of the authors are lawyers and most are African Americans; many actively supported Hill during the hearings. Topics include a history of lynching of black Americans (both men and women), a history of African American slavery, the sexual rape of black women, stereotypes of black women, and effects of marriage and patronage on black women's empowerment. Of particular interest is Orlando Patterson's essay on gender relations among African Americans, in which he describes the "cool pose" masculinity of lower-class black males, which is used to denigrate black females. These essays aim to open discussion of gendered power struggles among blacks. Hill, author of the essay on marriage, patronage, and empowerment, takes a step away from the safety of conservatism as she questions stereotypic responses to black women. Unlike African American Women Speak Out on Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas (LJ 7/95), this volume includes men in the dialog. Recommended for academic collections.-Paula N. Arnold, Vermont Coll. Lib., Norwich Univ., Montpelier
Lillian Lewis
The infamous October 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings signaled many inconsistencies in the U.S.' political structure. It was the event that propelled the issue of sexual harassment and the fixed uniformity of race, gender, and power into America's living rooms. This book grew out of a conference sponsored by Georgetown University Law Center in October 1992. Exactly one year after the hearings, legal scholars and lawyers assembled to examine how the Anita Hill testimony affected political culture. The contributing narratives were written by familiar legal and political minds, including Leon Higginbotham, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Anita Hill. The submissions include analysis of stereotypes, male domination, denigration of black women, and sexual harassment and the aftermath of the Hill-Thomas hearings. Hill submits an interesting essay on patronage and marriage and how a female lacking one or both is often ill-received. Overall, the essays are quite intriguing and will be discussed in conjunction with the ongoing debate over the many disasters of that cold October in 1991.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195087741
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/01/1995
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.17(d)

Meet the Author

About the Editors:
Anita Faye Hill is Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma Law School. Emma Coleman Jordan is Professor of Law at the Georgetown University School of Law and past-president of the Association of American Law Schools.

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