Column: ‘I’m a Black woman, not a pawn.’ The forgotten victim of L.A.’s racist tape scandal
She sat down with Salon to talk about her experience with the tape and why Black women in particular are under attack in the country she loves. This is an edited, abridged version of an interview with author and activist, Leila Kassoum that originally appeared on Salon.com.
If you’ve been following the story about the leaked anti-Black, anti-girl tape that’s now the subject of a lawsuit filed by a former White employee, you know something about the power of cultural representation. It didn’t have to come to this, but now it does.
How did it come to this? Who is the racist? Who’s the victim? Whose side are you on? We’re no more capable of deciding right now who the victim is than we are deciding who the guilty are. You can’t separate the two in any way that might be meaningful, and this case is clearly about trying to do just that.
The case against Anita Hill goes back to the late ’70s and early ’80s when the nation, and the world, were waiting to see if there was some fundamental truth to the charge that she was in some way the “victim of the patriarchy.” Her name was dragged through the mud in the press for years, only for Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings to prove her innocence.
Today the case has settled.
If you need to make that case, you need to make the case that the case against Anita Hill was settled at all.
She didn’t bring her case. She wasn’t part of the “drama” that has been the focus of the media for at least the last couple of months. She was not, in the words of a former colleague, “the black sheep of the White House” and the focus of the media’s attention was not on her.
It’s a good point when we say that it was never about Hill. She was never the target, but the story was about someone who never should have been a target. Anita’s attorneys may