Clarence Thomas Quotes

"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot."

"I don't believe in quotas. America was founded on a philosophy of individual rights, not group rights."

"The myths that are created about the South, about the way we grew up, about black people, are wrong."

"Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law."

"I thought of what Daddy had said when I asked him why he'd never gone on public assistance. "Because they take away your manhood," he said."

"The state can't undo the harm that was done, but I feel very strongly that if there is any role for the state, it is to protect us from others."

"(Daddy) warned us that if we died, he'd take our bodies to school for three days to make sure we weren't faking, and we figured he meant it."

"As much as it stung to be told that I'd done well in the seminary despite my race, it was far worse to feel that I was now at Yale because of it."

"...I was struck by how easy it had become for sanctimonious whites to accuse a black man of not caring about civil rights. It was as ludicrous as a well-fed man lecturing a starving person about his insensitivity to world hunger"

"I'd been spending so much time thinking obsessively about race that I'd lost sight of the rest of what the world had to offer. My new friends knew better. They understood what mattered: family, home, church, friends."

"It was disconcerting to watch other people using food stamps to buy whatever they pleased, but I knew our financial problems would someday come to an end, whereas theirs were likely to stay with them."

"Black is a state of mind," one Democratic staffer told me, by which I assumed he meant being a liberal Democrat. That kind of all-us-black-folks-think-alike nonsense wasn't part of my upbringing, and I saw it as nothing more than a way to herd blacks into a political camp.

"I remembered, too, how (Daddy) liked to rattle the loose change in his pocket and tell us that the same coins had been his pocket at the beginning of the week, and would still be there at the end."

"But I know that the vote of 9 out of 10 black Americans for the Democratic Party or for leftist kinds of policies just is not reflective of their opinions."

"And I don't think that government has a role in telling people how to live their lives. Maybe a minister does, maybe your belief in God does, maybe there's another set of moral codes, but I don't think government has a role."

"As bad as I felt, though, my mother felt even worse. Between the day President Bush announced his intention of nominating me to the end of my testimony, she lost more than thirty pounds as a result of stress and worry."

"I think segregation is bad, I think it's wrong, it's immoral. I'd fight against it with every breath in my body, but you don't need to sit next to a white person to learn how to read and write. The NAACP needs to say that."

"I'd graduated from one of America's top law schools -- but racial preference had robbed my achievement of its true value. I'd been nominated to sit on the Supreme Court -- but my refusal to swallow the liberal pieties that had done so much damage to blacks in America meant that I had to be destroyed."

"It was in Boston, not Georgia, that a white man had called me n*gger for the first time. I'd already found New England to be far less honest about race than the South, and I bristled at the self-righteous sanctimony with which so many of the northerners at Yale glibly discussed the South's racial problems."

"The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns. Its weapons were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages of America's newspapers. It no longer sought to break the bodies of its victims. Instead it devastated their reputations and drained away their hope. But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose -- to keep the black man in his place -- was unchanged."

"I also met with several board members of the NAACP, but that was a waste of time, since the organization announced its opposition to my nomination shortly after the meeting, apparently at the insistence of the AFL-CIO. Friends of mine who were close to both organizations gave me a copy of the union's letter to the NAACP. They explained to me that the AFL-CIO's leaders wanted the NAACP to give them cover to oppose me at the union's upcoming convention....What saddened me was the fact that an organization whose independence had once been a byword in the Deep South had been reduced to doing the bidding of the AFL-CIO."

Compiled by Thomas George