As assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, he hires her because his friend (Gil Hardy) asks him to "help a sister" (page 140):
Not only did I feel I had an obligation to help my fellow blacks, but I remembered how hard it had been for me to land a job after graduating from Yale, and I didn't want to treat her as I'd been treated. I found a way to hire her without going throught the nearly impossible hiring process for political appointees. Her work wasn't outstanding, but I found it adequate.Now, perhaps Thomas would say that wasn't affirmative action. And, in a way, he'd be right. It's not an openly declared policy designed to bring in minorities. It's the old boy network -- special treatment for people who know somebody who's already on the inside. Hire your friends. Or, more specifically: Hire your friends if they are the same race as you. Thomas makes no effort to justify his action. He only diminishes her -- she "wasn't outstanding" -- even as he admires his own feeling of "obligation to help my fellow blacks."
After President Reagan makes him the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Clarence Thomas once again hires Anita Hill. Here's how he puts it:
Anita Hill immediately said that she wanted to go with me. I said I'd think about it... (page150)We all want a nice office. Thomas himself enthuses over his office. And many of us have the nerve to push for a job where we know we lack the experience but think if we get the spot, we'll work hard and figure out what to do. Thomas himself repeatedly takes jobs that way. And it's easy to slip in words like "pestering" when you mean to disparage a person who is only doing the normal thing under the circumstances. Of course, we know Hill is Thomas's nemesis, but there is nothing that she's doing here that is wrong. The wrong is coming from Thomas. He's hiring a person he thinks is unqualified because she's black and she's friends with his friend. He therefore denied a job to someone else, someone who deserved it. And he's the one assuming the position of chairman of a commission that is supposed to be about equal opportunity.
... Gil Hardy intervened yet again. I said that I needed someone with experience in the field of employment discrimination, but Gil insisted that I should "give a sister a chance"... (page 152)
... I ... had to do something about Anita HIll, who'd been pestering Anna Jenkins, my interim secretary, as had Gil. I reluctantly brought her aboard, and the first thing she did was claim the largest office in my suite. She had no experience with employment law, so I also [hired two "outstanding young career employees"]. (page 154)
At page 171, Thomas unleashes a flood of criticism: Hill was "a growing nuisance" who was "nagging" him about writing a letter of recommendation. She "wasn't performing up to expectations and failed to finish her assignments on time," according to his chief of staff. She'd had "quarrels" with the staff and had stopped coming to morning meetings. She was "far too interested in my social calendar." She was "sullen and withdrawn." She sought a promotion on the ground that she'd attended Yale Law School, and when he promoted another woman, she "stormed" into his office and accused him of favoring the other woman because she had light black skin (as did the woman he was dating).
I found her accusation, her attitude, and her reasoning equally irritating, and told her so.She responded that she was going to look for another job, and he writes a recommendation letter for her. I think that this is the same recommendation letter that she was "nagging" him about on page 171. The chronology is a little confusing here. How long did he drag his feet getting out a recommendation letter when Oral Roberts Law School was recruiting her to teach law? Writing a letter like this would have been a small, routine part of his job, but he makes it seem as though her seeking it presented a big problem -- or that it was untoward to expect much of him because his grandparents had died recently:
I would have been glad to supply it, but the death of my grandparents had made it hard for me to cope with even the most important of my duties at EEOC, much less write letters of recommendation.