What We Can Learn From the Anita Hill Op-Ed

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Anita Hill (USA Today)

Anita Hill, professor of law at Brandeis University and Yale Law School graduate, published an Op-Ed in the New York Times this past Tuesday, September 18. She emphasized the importance of taking seriously Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and made a case for “some basic ground rules” that the Senate Judiciary Committee should follow to fairly and neutrally navigate the situation. Some of her suggestions included not rushing the process, selecting a neutral investigative body to thoroughly investigate the case and present those findings to the committee, and referring to Dr. Ford by her name.

The Op-Ed is written urgently but professionally. It is clear that the author wrote the piece with a specific tone in mind: it is not emotional or passionate, but exudes a quiet and calm determination.

Everyone knows what happened to Anita Hill, so I feel no need to repeat the story here. It will suffice to say that she was and still is one of the strongest women to ever testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her character was unnecessarily ravaged in front of a watching nation, but she remained calm during her testimony and throughout the ordeal. She faced the judgment of Washington and millions of Americans in a time when sexual harassment was not at the forefront of political and social discourse like it is now.

In seeing history repeat itself with Dr. Ford’s allegations and the completely ineffective and destructive course Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are taking, Anita Hill has every right to be angry. All eyes were on her Op-Ed. She could have written a piece that was filled with passion and personal emotions and that tore apart the handling of the accusations.

But she didn’t. Her piece was poised. It was smart. It was logical. It was objective.

Anita Hill’s Op-Ed shows us what it means to overcome. It reinforces that women are strong, not weak, unintelligent, and inferior to men, a mindset to which many still seem to subliminally adhere. Her example teaches us that it is possible to persist, to accept what has happened in the past but continue to fight for the future. After 27 years, Anita Hill hasn’t given up.

I hope that the Senate Judiciary Committee takes her advice, that Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations are seriously and neutrally investigated, and that a just outcome manifests. But even if it does not, even if a complete repeat of 1991 occurs, Anita Hill has renewed my faith in the power of women to continue to fight oppression and inequality. These are trying times. But instead of being paralyzed with anger, we should take her example, and move forward with the resolve and resiliency of this accomplished and powerful woman.

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