Opinion

George Takei: Clarence Thomas is a ‘clown in blackface’ for saying slaves had dignity

Hear those crickets? That's the sound of the Left refusing to bring down the proverbial hammer on Takei for his racist comments.
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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Dustin Siggins By Dustin Siggins

Dustin Siggins By Dustin Siggins

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Here is your "If a conservative said it" Moment of the Week: Comedian, marriage redefinition activist, and former Star Trek actor George Takei, who has more than 8.7 million Facebook followers, called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "a clown in blackface."

Hear those crickets? That's the sound of the Left refusing to bring down the proverbial hammer on Takei for his racist comment because, unlike Thomas, Takei considers redefining marriage the civil rights fight of modern America.

Here's the background:

As part of his dissent against the U.S. Supreme Court's redefinition of how government recognizes marriage, Thomas -- a black man who grew up in pre-Civil Rights Era Georgia -- noted that the Court's ruling that marriage should be redefined to enhance the "dignity" of same-sex couples was flawed. According to Thomas, "The flaw in that reasoning, of course, is that the Constitution contains no ‘dignity’ Clause, and even if it did, the government would be incapable of bestowing dignity.”

Thomas expanded upon this:

Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Okay, so far so good. Thomas believes that dignity is innate -- a characteristic given by God, not man or man's governments. Agree or disagree, it's clear what Thomas meant.

Except, it appears, to Takei:

[Thomas] is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry. He doesn't belong there. And for him to say, slaves have dignity. I mean, doesn't he know that slaves were in chains? That they were whipped on the back. If he saw the movie 12 Years a Slave, you know, they were raped. And he says they had dignity as slaves or – My parents lost everything that they worked for, in the middle of their lives, in their 30s. His business, my father's business, our home, our freedom and we're supposed to call that dignified? Marched out of our homes at gun point. I mean, this man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America.

After some backlash -- including some from liberal pundits -- Takei doubled down on Facebook:

A few fans have written wondering whether I intended to utter a racist remark by referring to Justice Thomas as a "clown in blackface."

"Blackface" is a lesser known theatrical term for a white actor who blackens his face to play a black buffoon. In traditional theater lingo, and in my view and intent, that is not racist. It is instead part of a racist history in this country.

I feel Justice Thomas has abdicated and abandoned his African American heritage by claiming slavery did not strip dignity from human beings. He made a similar remark about the Japanese American internment, of which I am a survivor. A sitting Justice of the Supreme Court ought to know better.

I have expressed my full thoughts on the matter here.

To summarize: Takei, who was a victim of anti-Japanese bigotry during World War II, thinks that Thomas has betrayed his race by saying all people, including black slaves and interned Asians, have inherent dignity that even the most horrible of man's actions cannot diminish or extinguish.

Thus ends your "If a conservative said it" Moment of the Week.

Update: Shortly after this post went up, Takei offered a combination apology/justification for his comments.


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