For nearly three decades, Clarence Thomas has been the Supreme Court’s lone Black associate justice, and he remains only the second Black man to sit on the high court’s bench. But thanks to his conservative leanings, he isn’t getting the praise for his accomplishments that he deserves.
MSNBC host Joy Reid even went so far on Wednesday as to call the Supreme Court justice “Uncle Clarence,” a chilling reference to a term that the Washington Examiner described as a “racial slur.”
As the Examiner reported, Reid was participating in a panel on Wednesday night that was discussing what role the nation’s highest court might play in determining the results of this year’s presidential election.
“What scares people is that if…somehow [the Trump campaign stumbles] into the Supreme Court, do any of you guys trust Uncle Clarence and Amy Coney Barrett and those guys to actually follow the letter of the law?” Reid said, according to the Examiner.
The MSNBC star went on to answer her own question: “No! It is a completely politicized Supreme Court that you can’t just trust they’ll do the right thing.”
The term “Uncle Tom” is derived from the eponymous character in abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. As was highlighted in a recent film by conservative columnist Larry Elder, the term is sometimes used by those on the left to describe Black Americans who hold conservative beliefs.
Reid faces backlash
While none of Reid’s MSNBC co-hosts made any objection to what she said, The Hill noted that Reid later received backlash on social media.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s communications director, Jesse Hunt, called the comments “disgusting” in a tweet that included a video clip of the incident.
Joy Reid with an absolutely disgusting comment about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas just now on MSNBC
“Do any of you guys trust Uncle Clarence…” pic.twitter.com/a0TLxmFfPY
— Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) November 4, 2020
Elder himself also took notice, pointing out in a tweet that Reid’s colleagues seemed unfazed by her remarks. “Notice her ‘woke’ [MSNBC] colleagues said nothing,” the columnist wrote.
Not the first time
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Reid’s words have raised eyebrows. In 2018, old blog posts surfaced that showed her making controversial comments about people in the LGBTQ community.
According to the BBC, Reid responded by claiming that she “genuinely” didn’t remember making the statements and suggesting that her account had been hacked.