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Most people can tell you two things about Clarence Thomas: Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment, and he almost never speaks from the bench. Here are some things they don’t know: Thomas is a black nationalist. In college he memorized the speeches of Malcolm X. He believes white people are incurably racist.


In a groundbreaking work, Corey Robin—one of the foremost analysts of the right—delves deeply into both Thomas’s biography and his jurisprudence. The hidden source of Thomas’s conservative views, he demonstrates, is a profound skepticism that racism can be overcome. There’s a reason why liberals complain that Thomas doesn’t speak but seldom pay attention when he does: were they to listen, they’d hear a racial pessimism that often sounds similar to their own. This unacknowledged consensus about the impossibility of progress is key to understanding today’s political stalemate.

Book Information

  • ISBN: 9781250772916
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pub Date: 27/01/2021
  • Category: Society & social sciences / Social discrimination & inequality
  • Imprint: Picador US
  • Pages: 320
  • Price: $32.99

Most people can tell you two things about Clarence Thomas: Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment, and he almost never speaks from the bench. Here are some things they don’t know: Thomas is a black nationalist. In college he memorized the speeches of Malcolm X. He believes white people are incurably racist.


In a groundbreaking work, Corey Robin—one of the foremost analysts of the right—delves deeply into both Thomas’s biography and his jurisprudence. The hidden source of Thomas’s conservative views, he demonstrates, is a profound skepticism that racism can be overcome. There’s a reason why liberals complain that Thomas doesn’t speak but seldom pay attention when he does: were they to listen, they’d hear a racial pessimism that often sounds similar to their own. This unacknowledged consensus about the impossibility of progress is key to understanding today’s political stalemate.

Author Information

Corey Robin is the author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin and Fear: The History of a Political Idea. He teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Robin’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, the London Review of Books, and The Nation, among other publications, and has been translated into eleven languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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