Many of the women I'd met [at Yale Law School] had come from the most privileged of circumstances, yet they often referred to themselves as "oppressed." I found it hard to take their "oppression" seriously, since I'd spent the first part of my life living among black women who cooked and kept house for the middle- and upper-class whites of Savannah. They never talked about being oppressed. What right, then, did the elite white women of Yale have to complain about their lot?This is in a part of the book where he describes feeling much more comfortable around the people who worked in the Missouri attorney general's office in Jefferson City. He liked the way these people talked about a lot of things other than politics and had political opinions that "ranged all the way across the spectrum, with a generous sprinkling of indifference in between." He especially liked the way none of the "white secretaries" were radical feminists. Because they didn't complain about oppression, he got the feeling these women would, like him, have scoffed at the privileged white feminists at Yale, and he liked that feeling: "I began to relax, and to see and live life more fully."
Secretaries who don't complain are so much easier to take than those feminists who are always needling you.
ADDED: Welcome Instapundit readers. This is one of many posts about the book. I'm blogging as I go. If you want to find the other posts, go to the main page of the blog and scroll. So far, there's this on the "60 Minutes" interview, this on taking a bath at his grandfather's house, this on feeling like law school was a swirling miasma, and this on his reading of Ayn Rand. More to come.
MORE: As chairman of the EEOC, Thomas had little feeling for the problems of white, middle class women. Here's his description of a meeting with Women Employed, a group advocating for equal pay (page 165):
About a hundred mostly white women showed up. They gave every impression of being successful, and judging by the questions they asked me, they were smart and sophisticated as well. Yet I couldn't understand how angry they seemed to be about their lot in life. How could these well-off white women be more bitter than the poor blacks and Hispanics with whom I met regularly at the EEOC?