Former Roseanne writer Joss Whedon is very upset with Clarence Thomas for his failure to support affirmative action:
Clarence Thomas is against affirmative action. There isn't a hashtag big enough to contain the irony.
— Joss Whedon (@josswhedon) June 25, 2013
Let me unpack this for you: Joss Whedon, a wealthy white liberal, thinks it's ironic that Clarence Thomas, a black conservative who is the grandson of a sharecropper and grew up in the Jim Crow south yet managed to work his way to the nation's highest court, isn't grateful for the handouts that Joss and his ilk have given him. Doesn't that uppity idiot realize that he only serves at the pleasure of those, like Mistuh Whedon, who deigned to give him a helping hand? Surely he doesn't think he earned that spot on the Supreme Court. He couldn't be that clueless, could he?
In a supreme bit of irony, Whedon managed to validate every single negative thing that Clarence Thomas has ever written about affirmative action. And he did it in fewer than 140 characters! Now that's economy.
As Damon Root noted over at Reason, Thomas opposes affirmative action not only because it is racist but also because it is frequently used to denigrate the achievements of blacks. Here's Root:
In his memoir My Grandfather’s Son, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed to his years at Yale Law School as the genesis of his hostility to affirmative action. "Before long I realized that those blacks who benefitted from it were being judged by a double standard," Thomas wrote. "As much as it stung to be told that I’d done well in the seminary despite my race, it was far worse to feel that I was now at Yale because of it." In response, he took extra course credits and pursued a tough field of study. But in the end, Thomas recalled, he found "the stigmatizing effects of racial preference" impossible to escape and "began to fear that it would be used forever after to discount my achievements."
The passage of time has done little to diminish that negative understanding. A decade ago, when the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the University of Michigan’s use of race in law school admissions, Thomas filed a lengthy dissent, arguing that such racial preferences do an injustice to their purported beneficiaries. "When blacks take positions in the highest places of government, industry, or academia, it is an open question today whether their skin color played a part in their advancement," he argued. "The question itself is the stigma–because either racial discrimination did play a role, in which case the person may be deemed ‘otherwise unqualified,’ or it did not, in which case asking the question itself unfairly marks those blacks who would succeed without discrimination."
In a way, it was actually really nice of Whedon to lay bare the ugly thinking that undergirds affirmative action. Joss Whedon believes that Thomas has succeeded only because he is black. His merits—divinity school, Yale Law, his work in the federal government, his tenure on the D.C. Circuit Court—don't matter. All Whedon can see is the color of Clarence Thomas' skin, and Whedon assumes that it has given him a hand up throughout his life.
If that doesn't demonstrate the corrosive effect of affirmative action, I don't know what does.