In a piece on the passing of Ebony publisher John H. Johnson, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts writes that Mr. Johnson, "codified African-American dreams between glossy four-color covers. And because he showed us ourselves as doers, achievers and people of worth."
Well, not always. For years, Ebony published a list of the 100 most influential black Americans. For years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas didn't make that list. Certainly one of the nine highest judicial officers in the Nation should have qualified. Justice Thurgood Marshall did.
Justice Thomas wasn't included because he's considered a conservative. In 2000, Ebony asked: "Why does it appear that he consistently votes for issues supported by racists and archconservatives, and opposed by white liberals and almost all blacks?"
Justice Thomas' voting may reflect his superior understanding of the Constitution, but that possibility doesn't exist for Ebony. When it comes to blacks being portrayed "as doers, achievers and people of worth," apparently conservatives need not apply. Not every success story qualifies.