Friday, October 7, 2011

Bury the Bone: Clarence Thomas vs. Anita Hill

According to this news piece, October 2011 is the 20th anniversary of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings.

Although I remember the hearings going on, my one real memory of the event comes from a couple weeks or a month later.  Walking in the hall at work one day, one of the Human Resources people called me into her cubicle and gave me an apologetic “talking to”.  Apparently, a month before, I had been wearing a t-shirt I bought in Tijuana in September, which carried an image of two dogs fucking, labelled “Bury the Bone” (much like this one, down to the color scheme), and someone complained.

In retrospect, that was a (very) inappropriate shirt to wear to work.  I happened to be wearing it that day as well, I think, which was what caused the HR person to talk to me.  (I was 24 and trying to be brazenly out, I guess.  Or I just wasn't thinking, take your pick.)  After that, I was much more sensitive to the messaging what I wore would send — not that I refrained from shirts with gay imagery and messaging, just that I gave more thought to it and refrained from wearing some of them to work.

But the complaint that the HR person was responding to — which she had not acted on for at least a couple weeks, meaning she didn’t think it was very significant — was not about the content of the shirt.  Rather, it was about the political intent: someone had thought I had work it as commentary on the Thomas/Hill hearings.


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