There's a seemingly unexplainable silence among those outraged feminists and female congresswomen who pranced and prattled in front of television cameras to denounce Clarence Thomas for sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings. Why aren't they similarly upset over President Clinton's sex scandal? During the Thomas hearings, feminists were sporting "We believe Anita Hill" buttons; we haven't seen "We believe Paula" buttons.
As to the growing allegations against Clinton, NOW President Patricia Ireland reminds us that, "If the president had a sexual relation with Monica Lewinsky, it was consensual. That's a distinction that I think people are trying to blur." The NOW crowd has issued no condemnations of the President for Paula Jones' allegation of indecent exposure and Kathleen Willey's allegations of unwanted sex advances. In the case of Clinton's scandals, there is far more credible and recent evidence of misconduct than Anita Hill's 10 year-old flimsy, unsupported claims against Clarence Thomas. If a college president or a CEO faced credible allegations of oral sex with a teeny bopper intern and pawing an employee, feminists would have their feathers in a ruffle demanding his dismissal, especially if he employed Clinton's legalistic evasive tactics.
So what's with the silence of NOW and other feminist groups? From their point of view, it's not the act of a man using his office for sex exploitation and harassment that bothers them. Instead, it's the politics of the person doing it. Clinton gets a pass with feminists because he shares and supports their leftist ideology and abortion agenda.
Feminists are not by themselves with this kind of double standard. It's shared by black politicians and civil rights organizations. During the 1980s, the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights organizations demonstrated in front of the South African Embassy as they led the call for economic sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime. Without question apartheid and its support system were cruel and unjust. But if you look at what's going on in other African countries, both then and now, South Africa's apartheid was child's play by comparison. Between 1900 and the end of apartheid, less than 10,000 blacks died in civil conflict with the South African government. That compares favorably with government slaughter of millions in black nations such as Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Nigeria, not to mention chattel slavery in Chad, Sudan and Mauritania.
Have you seen the Black Caucus and civil rights organizations picketing the embassies of these brutal and tyrannical regimes demanding sanctions? To the contrary, they heap praise on the tyrants that run these murderous regimes. Jesse Jackson said Nigerian tyrant Ibrahim Babangida is "one of the great leader-servants of the modern world in our time." Jesse Jackson, Louis Sullivan and Douglas Wilder fawned over Sierra Leone's dictator Valentine Strasser at a conference in Gabon. Benjamin Chavis, former NAACP director said, "We in the United States must support the . . . African understanding of democracy rather than attempt to superimpose a Western standard of democracy." You can bet that Chavis didn't ask us to support the South African understanding of democracy.
Just like the NOW crowd, black politicians and civil rights leaders seem to be less concerned about what's done to blacks than who's doing it. Whites brutalizing blacks calls for action but when blacks brutalize blacks there's either silence or nonsense talk about root causes. Conservatives and white people should take heart with these double standards. They simply mean that feminists hold conservatives to higher standards of conduct than they hold liberals, and blacks hold white people to higher standards of conduct than black people.
Walter E. Williams
February 18, 1998