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A prophet of despair: Punishment, pessimism and the Black nationalism of Clarence Thomas.

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Far from giving up a lot of the basic principles of Black nationalism - the idea that Black people have a destiny that cannot be accommodated by White America as it currently stands, that Black people should separate from White America, a firm belief in Black men as the salvation of the Black race - all of these things accompany Thomas on his migration to the right. It's not as if he gives up those principles. He certainly gives up left principles, but those are quite different and can't just be subsumed under the heading 'Black nationalism.'

Political scientist Corey Robin examines the politics of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas - from his early formative experiences with White supremacy, leftist defeatism and Black nationalism, to his formation of a deeply pessimistic, conservative realism that rejects the notion of politics as a path toward liberation.

Corey is author of the book The Enigma of Clarence Thomas from Metropolitan Books.

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Corey Robin

Corey Robin is a writer and professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

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