Michael Pack, director of “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” wants his film shown to middle and high school students, particularly because he said the Supreme Court Justice’s story is the “antidote” to critical race theory.
Pack received an unprecedented 30 hours with Thomas and his wife Virginia while filming the documentary, which was released in January 2020. The film made headlines as it offered a rare glimpse into the candid side of the usually reticent justice. Thomas described his rough upbringing in the segregated South, his strained relationship with his grandfather, and the racist insults he weathered throughout his career.
Despite the obstacles, Pack said, Thomas never painted himself as a victim.
“I think he knows something about racism,” Pack told Fox News Digital. “But for him, the way to succeed in America is to succeed on your merits and not look for special breaks, and not continue to define yourself only by race.”
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 26: Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas attends the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett to be the U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice on the South Lawn of the White House October 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate confirmed Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court today by a vote of 52-48. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
And Pack is hoping to get that message into schools, in part to help stem the spread of critical race theory (CRT) in classrooms. CRT is a controversial curriculum that focuses on how power structures and institutions impact racial minorities, and its proponents, Pack argued, “tend to divide people by race.”
“Long term, we want to create curriculum materials and get it into high schools, especially during Black History Month,” the director said. “There is a lot of material being produced for Black History Month, including materials by the 1619 Project and Black Lives Matter, that have a different view of race and we really feel that our film could be an antidote to those views of race. Or at least provide an alternative.”
Pack suggested introducing Thomas’ story to students is only fair because at the moment it seems they’re only getting one side of the debate.
“Our pitch to school districts would be, you have all this other material that looks at race in America from one point of view, surely you should include at least one person who has a different point of view, and that would be Justice Thomas,” he said.
Pack would encourage educators to take excerpts of the film and build study guides and curriculum material around it, which he hoped would result in productive discussions with students.
“I think Justice Thomas, like Martin Luther King, believes that America can move into a color-blind society where people are judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin,” he added. “That is still, I believe, in his mind the ideal, and an achievable ideal.”
The 30th anniversary of Thomas’ confirmation to the Supreme Court is Friday, Oct. 15. He is one of two African Americans to ever sit on the Supreme Court, along with Thurgood Marshall.
Cortney O’Brien is an Editor at Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @obrienc2.