What Have We Really Learned from Anita Hill?

I missed this yesterday, but Anita Hill took to the page of the New York Times to answer Clarence Thomas‘ sexist allegations against her. Again. Hill reminds us of one of the primary ironies of the scandal: Thomas’ reputed harassment of Hill, his employee, took place while he was chairman of the EEOC, the federal agency charged with protecting workers from discrimination.

Hill expresses optimism in her piece that since her contentious moment on the national stage in 1991, we’ve made much progress in combating workplace harassment. While it’s true that cultural norms have advanced over the last decade — "sexual harassment" is now part of the national vocabulary — the story of the EEOC under the Bush administration is a sad one indeed. The agency has been diminished by slashed budgets, staff cuts, and a shift away from investigations of systemic discrimination practiced by large corporations and toward individual complaints. In other words, the current EEOC prefers to target discriminatory bosses, not discriminatory corporate policies and practices.

cross-posted at TAPPED

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