Thursday, December 22, 2016

A landmark event in USA social and political history

I should be wary about recommending movies that I have watched on a long flight. The combined factors of boredom and fatigue can reduce my critical faculties. Sometimes if I watch the same movie at home later with my family, I wonder why I recommended it.

Nevertheless, I am confident that Confirmation is worth watching, particularly because of the issues it raises and the historical significance of the events it chronicles. In 1991, Clarence Thomas was nominated to be a justice of the USA Supreme Court. Anita Hill, who had worked for him previously accused him of sexual harassment. At the time, she was a law professor at Oklahoma University and appeared before the Senate judiciary committee. Thomas denied the allegations. It degenerated into he says vs. she says. Some believed him. Some believed her. Who people believed was strongly correlated with their political views.

The trailer is here.

I found some of the movie painful to watch. The lust for power and struggle for political influence was striking and distressing. The most disturbing thing for me was seeing the manner in which a group of old white male Senators interrogated and attempted to discredit a young African American women.

There is a PBS News interview with Anita Hill, 25 years after the event, that is worth watching.

In spite of Hill's allegations, Thomas was still confirmed by the Senate. Yet, the event was a landmark significantly raising the consciousness of the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, leading to new laws and policies.

Some might say great progress has been made in 25 years. However, I find it very disturbing that this year a US presidential candidate was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. And, he was still elected!

1 comment:

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