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October 21, 2010

‘Hi Anita, it’s me, Ginni’

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/hi_anita_its_me_ginni_20101020/

I read a story yesterday that I didn’t really know what to do with. It was the first version of the Ginni Thomas story, and it was courtesy of The New York Times. (I spent the last hour looking for a cheesy media nickname for the “scandal”—you know, something like Apologygate or Mountains OuttAnitaHills.) For those who have missed the newest media darling, here’s a quick recap:

Little less than two weeks ago, almost exactly 19 years to the day after Anita Hill came forward during Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings with allegations of sexual harassment, Thomas’ wife, Virginia, called Hill’s office at Brandeis University and left a message asking her to apologize. Ginni Thomas later told the NYT that the early morning call was “an olive branch,” but it wasn’t. And, regardless, what I wanted to talk about was exactly what Thomas’ message said.

“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.

“So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.”

Pray about this ...Consider me a bit hypersensitive to guilt—it’s the Catholic and Jewish roots—but that’s laying it on a bit thick, don’t you think? It’s also an odd statement between two women whom, I presume, haven’t talked in two decades.

Calling someone to prayer is something that requires a relationship, especially when the call is sparked by a perceived wrongful act. (Shall we call it a sin?) So even if Ginni Thomas’ bizarre call to Hill was motivated by a sense that she was her sister’s keeper—and that’s a massive “if”—she really wasn’t in a place to do so.

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