Telling the world is the most difficult experience of my life, but it is very close to having to live through the experience that occasion this meeting.
Well, they've caused me to realize that as an individual I have a lot of responsibility, certainly, but that now I have even more responsibility.
The FBI has had a history of sex discrimination complaints brought against it, as well as race discrimination.
I thought that by saying no and explaining my reasons my employer would abandon his social suggestions. However, to my regret, in the following few weeks, he continued to ask me out on several occasions.
But I think it would be irresponsible for me not to say what I really believe in my heart to be true - that there are some serious inequities that we face as women and that we can work to address these inequities.
We have a history of gender and racial bias on our court that continues to undermine the system. Excluding individuals based on race is antagonistic to the pursuit of justice.
What ultimately kept me sane was that so much of what was going on was insane. What I had done was the honest, the right and the correct thing to do.
My parents are older, and they lead a somewhat sheltered life. It was difficult to talk with them about things that were embarrassing to me, and that I had never spoken to them about.
I see myself as an educator.
Why was it important to come forward ... I felt that he showed a personal indifference to the issue in his own behavior. But more importantly I thought it showed how he dealt with issues of power generally and his use of power -- in terms of intimidating me, and as it turns out other women on his staff. And how he viewed women generally, which would impact his role as a Supreme Court Justice as it had impacted his role as the chairman of the EEOC,
Well, of course it was a very trying time for me, and fortunately I had a lot of people who were supportive. A lot of people who were writing and calling and saying they were praying for me. Some people sent me Scripture, and that helped.
I became the messenger who had to be killed.
In July of 1983, I left Washington, DC area and have had minimal contact with Judge Clarence Thomas since.
One of the things I was taught in law school is that I'd never be able to think the same again - that being a lawyer is something that's part of who I am as an individual now.
I resent the idea that people would blame the messenger for the message, rather than looking at the content of the message itself.
I think, though, as African-American women, we are always trained to value our community even at the expense of ourselves, and so we attempt to protect the African-American community.
I am really proud to be a part in whatever way of women becoming active in the political scene. I think it was the first time that people came to terms with the reality of what it meant to have a Senate made up of 98 men and two women.
I was aware, however, that telling at any point in my career could adversely affect my future career.
I did what my conscience told me to do, and you can't fail if you do that.
I have no personal vendetta against Clarence Thomas. I seek only to provide the committee with information which it may regard as relevant.
What we really need to be understanding is that all of these things matter and they all stem from the fact that certain people live with power and authority and they want to maintain it.
But the issue of sexual harassment is not the end of it. There are other issues - political issues, gender issues - that people need to be educated about.
It would have been more comfortable to remain silent.
Because I was extremely uncomfortable talking about sex with him at all and particularly in such a graphic way, I told him that I did not want to talk about these subjects.
During this period at the Department of Education, my working relationship with Judge Thomas was positive.
If you think about the way the hearings were structured, the hearings were really about Thomas' race and my gender.
When I think of what has happened in a larger sense, beyond myself, then I would not change anything.
I'm not sure I can say there is a clean line between me as an individual and me as a lawyer.
Automatic car washes have grown tremendously because educated people know that it takes 100 gallons of water to wash it in the driveway and 16 gallons at the car wash.
What I wanted was for everyone listening to understand that these things mattered - not necessarily for me, but in this particular forum they mattered in terms of whether of not we were getting a person who should sit on the Supreme Court.
The experience of testifying and the aftermath have changed my life.
Testifying has helped me understand that one individual's behavior and actions make a difference. That my actions are important to people other than myself.
The real problem is that the way that power is given out in our society pits us against each other.
For my undergraduate work, I went to Oklahoma State University and graduated from there in 1977.
Whether the person you are playing is real or fictional, you try to go to the heart of that person.
Certainly my life will not ever be as private and discreet, and perhaps I should even use the word insulated, as it was before.
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