ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
As far as the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq Colin Powell was much
more a staunch public advocate than Ms. Rice. Somehow, in the imagination
of those who have objections to Condi, Colin comes off still smelling like a rose.
Books by and about Condoleeza Rice
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A Case for Condoleezza Rice for President
Editorial by Rudolph Lewis
She is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. Wilson
If those DPers who oppose the candidacy of Condi Rice were real supportersof liberal politics or real progressives, they would support the candidacy of Kucinich, but they know (or suspect) that Middle America, that is, White America, will not tolerate his politics, which are socialist to the core. And so though they like what he says they know he cannot win. So they always cuddle up to a Slick Willie. Or in the case at hand, a Slick or Sleazy Jane. I mean Hillary, as if she was indeed a liberal. Those who would wish to ride this mare to the finish line would do well to read Barbara Ehrenrich’s essay which reviews biographies of Mrs. Clinton, “Who is Hillary Clinton.”
Her general conclusion is:
What Americans need most, after fifteen years of presidential crimes high and low, is to wash their hands of all the sleaze, blood, and other bodily fluids, and find themselves a President who is neither a Clinton nor a Bush.
The rest of the Democratic line up, including Obama (as well as Hillary), there is not a whit of difference in their politics more favorable than that of Condi Rice. These black DP supporters would admit that up front if they were honest, if they didnt want to dupe or misguide black working class voters. But they are duplicitous and would prefer to obfuscate the issue to pull in the black working class again to support blindly another disappointing Democratic performance. Now, my friend Wilson, is the most honest and upfront person I have discussed political matters with. In our discussions, I am always learning something because he tries as much as possible to stick to the facts, which I’m usually at a loss; in addition, he possesses an overall theoretical and historical perspective of American government that I sorely lack.
His skepticism about Hillary and Condi are justifiable and I do not oppose it. I applaud it. For that is what is reasonable to do in such matters, that is, be skeptical about politicians who depend on corporate money. But that skepticism would be applicable to any candidate for high office in meeting succesfully the great needs of the nation and all of the American people. For mostly all the candidates for the DP are tied to Corporate America. For it is impossible to win high office in this land without their financial support, including those most seedy, like the oil companies and the pharmaceuticals and the agricultural industry. So we cannot reasonably expect a Kucinich turn-around in how our government will operate in the next 20 years.
Now there are a whole slew of Negroes, especially Negro women, who are attracted to the candidacy of Obama. Hes young and handsome, lean with a nice smile and good manners. His candidacy wholly seems more about his physical attractiveness and that he is not a Baptist preacher. The latter seems exceedingly important to the college educated voters. They say he is a “new breed” of black politician. That may indeed be true, but that is only superficially. His politics are not that much different from the white men who are running in the same race, nor even from that of the Baptist preachers.
So it’s the personal aspects of the man that has won the hearts of black women and men, and a great number of young white women. He has no appeal for me, neither as a black man, nor a black politician. Nor am I enamored with the idea of a black man as President, especially a black man with the politics of most white Democrats. Thats a confusing scenario and worse it gives false hope.
Now that I have cleared the field, I return to Condi Rice. On her the attacks are two. One there’s her loyalty to the Administration that employs her services. Two, theres her personal style, her hauteur. That she’s loyal to her boss seems rather the mode of operations for those who want to hold down a J-O-B, for those in government, or in corporations and even more and more for those in universities. Tenure has become almost meaningless in the power games of politicized right-wing universities. One is not as free at the university to say what one believes or what one thinks, openly, anymore. And more and more professors and staff are falling in line with the policies and the politics of those who govern the universities. If you don’t agree with corporate policy you are clearly fired or asked to resign.
As far as the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq Colin Powell was much more a staunch public advocate than Ms. Rice. Somehow, in the imagination of those who have objections to Condi, Colin comes off still smelling like a rose. Of course, both Colin and Connie are culpable in their support of this horrendous and unnecessary war, along, initially, with the majority of Americans. But the venom against Condi far exceeds the rational. It might be far more than that even for Clarence Thomas. So I must conclude that it is not so much Ms. Rices politics that these critics of Condi have foremost in their minds.
It is personal. She is not the preferred ideal of a black woman, that is, in these days of racial pretensions. She dont be wearing African clothes and cloth around her head. She dont be talking about ancestors and gris gris. She doesnt style herself as a mambo queen or any of these other allusions of the neo-Africans, post-Afrocentricity. They might indeed find her more acceptable if she had a book like Hillary on the African village. That is, she would be more acceptable as a black imitation of Hillary Clinton. Now you say, and I’d take it for true, Condi is indeed more qualified to be President of the United States than Hillary. And if their politics are not all that different then what is the phenomenon that we are observing here? Is it more a cultural or stylistic preference rather than anything else? Yes, I think thats it.
As I stated before I do not think that the politics of the next president will be that far different from that of the present Bush Administration: the corporations will continue to be courted; our trade policy will continue to be about global neo-liberalism; there will continue to be a loss of all kinds of jobs, manufacturing and professional; the war in Iraq will continue to be prosecuted (at whatever level) because both the DP and the RP know that U.S. international politics is about the control of the earth’s resources; the military budget will continue to be exorbitant in order to maintain these trade policies.
That is, it does not matter what party wins, these policies will be prosecuted and in earnest. On the domestic front, the Supreme Court has turned back the clock as we see with the latest decision on Brown (Justices Limit the Use of Race in School Plans for Integration). It rules in most matters affecting racial relations. It will be little, if anything, that a first term President can do to turn those matters around even if he or she dared. Though all have promised to change the law on cocaine, the question is will the executives empty the prisons of those guilty of petty drug crimes and clean their slate. The answer is, NO. So the economic impact will continue to be in effect.
So then all we are left with are personal preferences. My personal preference is Condi Rice, for her politics will be no farther right than a Hillary, or an Obama, for that matter. It would be intriguing to see in my life time a black woman as President, whatever her politics, than a black man. In some sense we would be killing two birds (race and gender discrimination in high office) with one vote. She is closer in her origins to the working classes than some have allowed. If it came down to a vote for Hillary or Condi, for President, I am willing to bet most black voters would vote for Condi, just as most black people supported Clarence Thomas for Supreme Court Justice. So it is on these grounds that I support and advocate the candidacy of Condi Rice for President.
Condoleezza Rice and her mother, Angelena, at home in Birmingham in the late 1950s.
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The purpose of government, as pointed out by Adam Smith, James Madison, and Karl Marx, is to defend the interests of property. No government ever has or ever will fly in the face of this cruel and vicious, but adamantine law. Wilson
My “A Case for Condoleezza Rice for President” is purely speculative. At its best, it points out the hypocrisy and ignorance of electoral politics as it is now practiced in the black community, if we can speak of such an entity. My preference for Condi is wishful thinking. But Ms. Rice is a technocrat. She has sense enough to know that political candidacy is a dirty business. From what I know of her I do not think that she would soil herself with a campaign for President. I do not believe she’s that kind of egotist. So I think that none of us will get the chance to vote for Condi for President. In some sense it is very unfortunate. For it would clarify the nature of Black Politics in America. That it is more symbolical than substantial. We would see that the so-called “liberality” of a Hillary means little or nothing in BLACK POLITICS. That the idea of a black woman in the White House would carry the day and they would say to hell with the Democratic Party.
That would indeed be progress.
I read some writer recently who thinks that blacks showed their national wisdom by voting 90% for Gore. I beg to differ. I rather think that it showed more than a half century of political programming by former civil rights advocates to vote for the Democratic Party, as if it were the Party of Liberation that would lead us over Jordan. The other tendency, of course, is the voting on the basis of color. There has been no wisdom there, either. All we need do is look at New Orleans or Baltimore or Detroit. In that most of us know there is no significant difference in the politics of these two mainstream parties, whether the individual is black or white. So what we see is habitual blindness of those blacks who continually tramp to the polls pulling the Democratic lever.
My personal inclination is that blacks would serve themselves politically by staying away from the presidential polls altogether in 2008 as a protest against the DP, which has betrayed their aspirations and hopes for a better life in America. It would be as James Brown says, THE BIG PAYBACK for betrayal. Real political education would make it more widely known that the forecast whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House, social and political matters are going to get worse for the Black and the Poor, of whatever color. It is not just I who say this, some of the best black minds in the nation have made this a mantra to the point that they have become altogether cynical about American electoral politics. I, at least, think that it is of still some use with eyes wide open.
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I am in the midst of reading the book [Twice as Good] and cannot put it down. Condi’s early years mirror my own only in the sense that I had parents who tried to build a super intellectual black female child. The difference of course is that my parents were lower to middle middle class, while Condi’s parents were members of the black elites. Still, I identified strongly with parents who isolate you from other black children in order to steer you to activities and educational institutions that offer the “best” or most highly esteemed education.
The other difference is that Condi was treated always as an individual in the classic American sense. She was raised and placed on a pedestal like most privileged white women. Though she grew up in the midst of segregation, Condi appeared to be shielded from that which would have hipped her to the fact that she lived in a white supremacist society. The good part is that it created a confident woman with a steely resolve, but also one that cannot connect to others or see her reflection in any one else’s face, even if they are black or female.
She is a great case study in why culture and knowledge of self is so essential. If you create a super child with no accountability to those who are similarly situated on the socio/racial, gender/economic ladder, then that child will not have sufficient empathy to end the cycle of marginalization and oppression within that very community. Instead you have a woman always bent on attaining power, but not really knowing what to do with it
She is a consummate performer, and her confidence is that of any pianist at a recital. I thank my parents for not letting me forget who I am even though I do think that there is some merit to making a child feel they can do anything they want. Being twice is good is required of blacks, and that is what my parents and Condi’s parents always told us as children. The difference is that my parents said that standard was not OK, Condi’s parents left out that part. Andrea Roberts
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Dear Rudy, Please explain to Andrea, and to any other of your correspondents that the subject of my email was “There are many smart Negroes,” and definitely not “A Case for Condoleezza Rice for President.” As for her class background, the family was only middle-class, not upper-middle class. Her father was a decent, respectable “underdean” at a decent respectable college during the late sixties. Black underdeans were a dime a dozen by the late sixties. The real black academic elite were doing much better with real professorships in major universities by 1970. Please dont give the false impression that I would support Ms. Rice or anyone like her. Although I consider Ms. Rice better qualified than most of the ranked candidates, I support neither her candidacy nor Ms. Clinton’s. The purpose of government, as pointed out by Adam Smith, James Madison, and Karl Marx, is to defend the interests of property. No government ever has or ever will fly in the face of this cruel and vicious, but adamantine law. Wilson
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Rice hits U.S. ‘birth defect’ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national “birth defect” that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country’s very founding. “Black Americans were a founding population,” she said. “Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That’s not a very pretty reality of our founding.” As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, “descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that.” “That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today,” she said. Race has become an issue in this year’s presidential campaign, which prompted a much-discussed speech last week by Sen. Barack Obama, one of the two remaining contenders for the Democratic nomination. Miss Rice declined to comment on the campaign, saying only that it was “important” that Mr. Obama “gave it for a whole host of reasons.”
But she spoke forcefully on the subject, citing personal and family experience to illustrate “a paradox and contradiction in this country,” which “we still haven’t resolved.” On the one hand, she said, race in the U.S. “continues to have effects” on public discussions and “the deepest thoughts that people hold.” On the other, “enormous progress” has been made, which allowed her to become the nation’s chief diplomat. “America doesn’t have an easy time dealing with race,” Miss Rice said, adding that members of her family have “endured terrible humiliations.” “What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn’t love and have faith in them and that’s our legacy,” she said. WashingtonTimes
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 6 January 2012