The Wall Street Journal gave U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a ringing endorsement as the black conservative race man of this era. To say “race man” and “black conservative” is counterintuitive, especially with regard to Thomas. But there you go: WSJ had to make a defiant statement in order to counteract the dearth (in traditional print media) of conservative black heroes. By the way, note the writer: Juan Williams. As a Fox News analyst and notable propronent of black respectability, Williams and subject are perfectly matched, and this admiring, if mildly insouciant essay aims layers of fresh assessment against the general liberal narrative of Thomas as an Uncle Tom and self-hating black man.
In essence, Williams places Thomas within a solid tradition of black thinking that goes back to Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglas. Ultimately, “America’s most influential thinker on racial issues” is attempting to reinstate the black pride and black responsibility that affirmative action and liberal programs undermined. This fits entirely with the editorial program of WSJ, which just two weeks earlier ran an Op-Ed essay ruefully lamenting something called black pathology. Oy!