Secretary Rice Supports Senator Obama — Sort Of

In a recent interview with the right-wing newspaper, The Washington Times, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, long a black conservative, accented the importance of slavery in the history of black and white Americans, both in the past and the present. She explicitly supported Senator Barack Obama’s speaking out about race in America and implicitly critiqued her white conservative colleagues (like Michael Medved and Pat Buchanan), whose naive and ill-informed notions about the Obama speech and/or slavery have recently been analyzed here. According to the news report on Rice’s interview, she said

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.

In the interview she made this comment:

Black Americans were a founding population. 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.

It is significant that the elementary facts of this country’s racial history have to be accented still because of the great racial illiteracy among whites and many other nonblacks, and because of the propagandistic attempts to play down slavery and the rest of our racially oppressive history in many corners of this society, including the media. This news story on Rice continues:

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.”

Although putting the matter timidly and inaccurately (“not much of a head start,” indeed!), she does here flatly contradict the racist ranting of white analysts like Pat Buchanan, who recently accent a common white-supremacist view (portraying Obama as a “black hustler”) and seek to deny the current impact of the 85 percent of our history that was bloody slavery and violent legal segregation. Then Rice added another point:

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.

Here she continues her far-too-modest language (“us” instead of whites, for example) and neglects to mention the role of elite and other white actors in slavery, legal segregation, and contemporary racism. Of course, it is contemporary whites who are most of the “realization” problem here. It is not hard for most African Americans to talk about these issues; indeed that is the only reason there is now a renewed discussion in the white-controlled media about these racism issues right now.

It would be useful for Secretary Rice to speak more often and much more forcefully about these matters of U.S. history. She has the experience to accent it for head-in-the-sand white conservatives. Here she is contradicting her white Republican masters and probably deserves some modest credit for doing that. It is also interesting to see her supporting Senator Obama to some degree.


  1. GDAWG

    For Condi Rice to, again, acknowledge our nation’s founding ‘birth defect,’ and its continuing negative legacy, in part, for its so afflicted African descendants in this instance, is truly remarkable. Especially, in light of today’s cultural amnesia on daily display by, and among, so called political and media pundits, and others, of like mind. To me it proves she definitely ‘not out or her mind.’ It also put the lie the notion to those who continue to benefit by the institutional and individual anti black bias, but yet claim they were not beneficiaries of this nation’s material and cultural largess, or, apart of, as a result of the proverbial ‘beat down’ of Black Americans whether its involving mortgage madness, law enforcement, education, labor, health care, etc. Again for the recent or last 60 years or so of ‘white affirmative action,’ check out Ira Katznelson’s book so titled. Thanks Condi!

  2. Seattle in Texas

    Applause for Condi comes from me too—without question.

    Speaking of the conservative front here’s some Texas news (which I think I can share here…since Bushy boy claims Texas as his home state)—and besides, I have to address this where I can. I found out yesterday several things—one that I was voted to go to the Democratic State Convention in my sister city Austin (yay!)…so that is Obama business. But far more important is that word needs to get out on other things to help raise awareness on several topics. If politics in Texas bores you—don’t read on for your own sake.

    First, we were told there are more registered Democratic voters in Texas than Republican. Amazing—yes? So, why isn’t W’s State blue? Several Democrats gave many reasons when I asked just through casual conversations. First, Democrats haven’t been running for the various positions. Second, they have been told repeatedly that they might as well not even vote because the Republicans will win anyway. So those seemed to be the most common. Another person suggested that the Democrats vote when it is least important and tend to not be very involved with the Presidential elections. I have thoughts on this that I will not share here…but will say as a voter who has been frustrated with the past Democratic candidates (and what a Democrat means to me is different from others…Obama supporters have said the same down here…many are too conservative in other words…this is in Texas, Texan Democratic Obama supporters venting—I think we are all the LBJ Blue types (with relation to national policy) if that makes any sense), etc. and their vicious tactics to smear others, play on fears, etc., I can just say I understand. That’s not the type of politics and leaders many of us want or will support—we want real change.

    Second, the Party(s) have been deeply criticized for lack of organization, getting things done efficiently, by their locals. One of the officials said yesterday that the local party only had a little over $1,000 to fund the “county” convention…this is a county that has much wealth mind you. The party has had a lack of people running for different types of positions from local on up to State. The party has had a lack of volunteers. And yesterday so many things were done old school. And with lack of action among the Democratic voters in the past, it seems unfair to be so critical of these folks. With this type of massive increased spike, this has to be expected.

    So. The Texas Democratic Party is calling for people to get involved in many ways. We are going to turn this State Blue. The Texas Democratic Party is gearing up for the November elections and is calling for voters to become community coordinators—identify 25 voters, and contact them three times before November. I would like to push that further and have folks identify 10+ people who aren’t registered to vote, encourage them to register and keep in contact with them up through November also—the more ambitious—take on 35 people or more! Get some of those to do the same and have meetings, etc. Keep up, and increase the momentum. If you are in different states—still get involved—Texas needs your help and support. You can contact voters over the phone and stay in contact with them through November, you can make donations of various sorts to the Texas Democratic Party (from county to State level), and so on. I will still continue to work on the Obama front and take on the State front as well.

    Also, for the Texans, remember, in order to turn Texas blue, we need the voters to vote in all elections to get Democratic officials in place. The next vote will be for the railroad commissioner and Dale Henry is the running Democrat. We need more democrats to run for all positions so the voters have a choice in votes even within the Democratic elections from county up to state positions.

    So—regardless of where you are, here is a link for more information on the Texas Democratic Party, learn how to become a volunteer, and it has a link for people to register to vote (you can direct those who aren’t registered to this page—easy way to get them registered and help them learn more in the process), and other information: (Republicans are clicking their knees and shaking in their boots down here…and should be, because their time is just about up)
    Over and out.


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