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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More food for thought

Eugene Robinson at WAPO penned an interested column today about Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s image among African Americans. He writes:

…I've long wondered what the deal was with Condoleezza Rice and the issue of race. How does she work so loyally for George W. Bush, whose approval rating among blacks was measured in a recent poll at a negligible 2 percent? (Lower, according to Newsweek, than Jefferson Davis’s approval rating among blacks during the Civil War.*) How did she come to a worldview so radically different from that of most black Americans? Is she blind, is she in denial, is she confused -- or what?

*Parenthetical comment added is mine.

Robinson had spent three days with Rice in Birmingham. In a bizarre conversation, she proclaims that Civil Rights leaders Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. worked their magic from the inside. If that’s so then why do the majority of African Americans still feel on the outside? There’s a connection missing and it’s a human one.

One of the things she somehow missed was that in Titusville and other black middle-class enclaves, a guiding principle was that as you climbed, you were obliged to reach back and bring others along. You know, let them inside. Kinda works for humanity as a whole. Send the elevator back down.

Rice may be able to talk about race and struggles among African Americans, but she was sheltered from its harsh realities. While dogs and fire hoses were unleashed on men, women and children marching for Civil Rights during her youth, Rice sat in her finery playing piano or practicing ballet.

There’s a disconnect between her and African Americans and to extend Robinson's point further I would say there’s also a disconnect between her and other women. It’s not much different than the disconnect between her boss and the American people. Maybe that explains their mutual admiration.

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