The right wing got its chance with David Brock's The Real Anita Hill. Now come Hill and ten intellectual allies to consider the legacy of her celebrated case.
This book, growing from a conference at Georgetown Law Center in October 1992, analyzes volatile events of the previous year, when Clarence Thomas was nominated and ultimately appointed to the Supreme Court. Those events are discussed here in an effort to foster what Hill calls "honest conversation about race and gender.'' How much help this book will be in opening such a conversation is debatable. But the most useful essay by far comes from legal scholar Charles J. Ogletree Jr., one of Hill's advisors during the Thomas hearings, who uses the occasion to discuss the procedures that govern adversarial hearings, in which witnesses are effectively put on trial and made the object of political speechifying without being given the opportunity to present their charges through examination and cross-examination by legal counsel. Jordan, Hill's coeditor, notes rightly that "the subject of black male sexual imposition on black women is not discussed in uniracial company any more often than it is discussed in interracial company''; and A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. rejoins that the senators refused to acknowledge the history of the domination and denigration of black women by men both black and white. These and other contributors offer clear, well-reasoned arguments advancing the admirable goal of gender as well as racial equality. Their work is marred, unfortunately, by the volume's sloganeering (the language of "hegemony,'' etc.) and by its adulatory tone, which may strike some readers as unseemly given that the book's senior editor is also its subject.
Adds urgency to the continued discussion of sexual and racial inequality in America.