George Takei has defended describing the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “a clown in blackface sitting there on the Supreme Court” after the judge dissented against the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The openly-gay Star Trek actor responded angrily to Justice Clarence’s reasoning in his dissent that human dignity cannot be taken away by a government.
Justice Clarence wrote: “Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.
"Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them.”
Speaking to Fox 10 Phonenix, he said the couple were overjoyed by the decision. However, Takei, a survivor of the Japanese American internment during World War II, said he was furious at the judge’s comments.
“He is a clown in blackface sitting there on the Supreme Court,” the 78-year-old said.
“For him to say, ‘slaves have dignity’, I mean, doesn’t he know that slaves were in chains? That they were whipped on the back?
“My parents lost everything that they worked for, in the middle of their lives, in their 30’s. His business, my father’s business, our home, our freedom and we’re supposed to call that dignified? Marched out of our homes at gun point. I mean, this man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America.”
His use of the word ‘blackface’ was branded “unacceptable” and “racist” on Twitter.
Takei later clarified his comments on his Facebook page, where he denied his use of this word was racist.
"’Blackface’ is a lesser known theatrical term for a white actor who blackens his face to play a black buffoon," he wrote. "In traditional theatre lingo, and in my view and intent, that is not racist. It is instead part of a racist history in this country.
“I feel Justice Thomas has abdicated and abandoned his African American heritage by claiming slavery did not strip dignity from human beings. He made a similar remark about the Japanese American internment, of which I am a survivor.
“A sitting Justice of the Supreme Court ought to know better.”
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