Date: Feature Week of
March 20, 2005
CONDOLEEZA RICE: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION LIVING LARGE
Blacks everywhere take pride in Condoleezza Rice in being “one of the most powerful women in the world". But, is Dr. Rice’s career an example of fighting to advance the interests of blacks, or affirmation of the status quo?
The 66th U.S. Secretary of State, Rice is one of the most influential African Americans of our time, but her colorblind ideology hardly provides positive influence toward advancing interests of African Americans. Unabashed promoter of American values and ideas, Secretary Rice is recognized in the mainstream as “an African American success story”. At $170,000-a-year, Rice is one of the one percent of African American women who make $100,000-a-year. She’s one of one percent of black women who’ve had a seat on boards of Fortune 500 companies.
Racial preferences are one of the most controversial issues in American public policy, but Rice is repeatedly reticent on black-oriented issues. Though blacks in America still suffer statically-sustainable race-based discrimination; black and white intellectuals like Ms. Rice pretend America is colorblind in laws and practices, and that race-based public policy is “unjust”. An enigma to affirmative action, clearly, had she been white, Ms. Rice would not have risen so quickly.
The best example of affirmative action at work, Rice gained the proper “access” at the University of Denver, as protégé of Josef Korbel, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s father. In 1981, at age 26, she landed a professorship at Stanford University. In 1985, at a conference, Rice bowled over Republican foreign policy eminence Brent Scowcroft. He became the first of a series of foreign policy mentors to her: including George Shultz and President George Bush. In 1989, National Security Adviser Scowcroft had Rice as his Soviet analyst for three years. After that, she returned to Stanford and became the youngest person ever to hold the provost job, and first woman and first African-American. Rice worked 20 years at Stanford, six as University Provost - chief budget and academic officer responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and academic programs involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students. Rice’s bloodlines to the corporate world are long-standing. Chevron once named an oil tanker after her. She has been on the boards of directors of Chevron Corporation, Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan, Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation and KQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco.
Dorothy Height, Courting Rice, the National Council of Negro Women’s Chair, championed her for Secretary of State saying, “She will be following in the footsteps of our founder, Mary McLeod Bethune. The first black woman to be called upon for policy help by the White House, when Republican President Calvin Coolidge asked her to take part in a conference on child care in 1928. She went on to work with Republican and Democratic presidents while always fighting to advance the interests of Black women and children”. But Dr. Rice is hardly a Dr. Bethune, whose legacy is etched in Black History and started Bethune-Cookman College.
Rice’s “voice of fairness” rings as that of “the controlling interest” among many people of color. Reassuring Arabs, that the U.S. only wanted to bring "diplomacy and freedom" to the Middle East, Rice was lambasted in a Jordanian newspaper that said: "As for you, black Condoleezza Rice, swallow your tongue, remember your origins and stop talking about liberation and freedom. Have you not been taught by your cowboy masters that 'slaves' cannot liberate themselves, that they are not capable to capture the large Islamic world whose cultural roots are planted in the depths of history. The slaves who are happy with their enslavement, O Condoleezza, will continue to be enslaved. They will never be free and will never free others."
The editorial caused uproar among America’s establishment, but if Dr. Rice is to rival Dr. Bethune in history, she must reveal more “affirmative actions” regarding fighting to advance interests of blacks.
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