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   Condoleeza: Brown Rice As Bleached As White


Condoleeza: Brown Rice As Bleached As White

I can't think of one policy or one piece of advice that has Dr. Rice's name on it. Why, then, did the NAACP see fit to honor her with an Image Award?

By Yolanda Rebecca White
The NAACP has just awarded Dr. Condaleeza Rice an Image Award for her work as National Security Advisor. Even Julian Bond has gone on record as defending this choice made by Executive Director Kweisi Mfume, because it was Mfume's 'prerogative' as head of the organization.

Awarding this recognition to Dr. Rice is inconsistent with an organization that bitterly fought the acceding of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court. There is no difference in philosophy at all between the two.

So what makes giving Ms. Rice this award more acceptable?

Dr. Rice has shown herself to be fairly uncritical of--even oblivious to--the Afro-American plight in America. That is not her 'field'. Even in her field, has she deplored the dearth of Afro-Americans in the foreign policy community? Has she sponsored internships for students wanting to learn from her? Has she stood up for Afro-Americans wronged by the State Department--or women wronged by the CIA? These are real issues that she has failed to address, and which should be of importance to the NAACP.

It is not known whether her reticence to speak out is of her own volition or the product of her orders. What is clear is that she toes a thin line and may be nothing more than 'the spook who sat by the door'. Maybe she is just a Bush visor to screen out Afro-American criticism about the Republicans' lack of inclusion, rather than Advisor on National Security issues.

Unlike Secretary of State Colin Powell, who distinguished himself in Desert Storm, I can't think of one policy or one piece of advice that has Dr. Rice's name on it. Maybe it's not National Security she was hired for, but National Pacifier. She allows the Bush administration to give the appearance of the nurturing and compassion that is so patently lacking in the actions and speeches of hard-ball white men like Donald Rumsfeld.

Let's take a look at Condi in action. She is in the white-male-dominated Foreign Policy arena, where she is supposedly the equal of her peers. But other than the well-placed and well-orchestrated photo opportunities showing her sitting at the conference table of Bush advisors, and a few appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows, she has been totally invisible.

If you go on the Internet you can't find her anywhere, though Bush other advisors and Cabinet members are everywhere. The White House public relations department is even fairly guarded about whom they send her biography to.

Why, then, did Mfume choose Dr. Rice? The answer is, He was Star-Struck. He makes the same mistake made by so many so-called Afro-American leaders, for whom acceptance by white people, even in a token capacity, leads to an Afro-American being glorified and lauded for no reason at all. The people so recognized dabble in the falsetto of feigned consciousness because the moment is rightä hence, Dr. Rice's reference to "our" ancestors in her acceptance speech.

Our Afro-American "leaders" don't recognize this tendency. They still define themselves and others in terms of what white people think of them. As a result, as a people, Afro-Americans are wandering in the wilderness of low expectations. They can find no solace in their leaders because they either don't exist--or, if they do, they lack backbone.

Afro-Americans are just not politically 'hip' anymore, and never will be again as long as we follow someone's else's agenda.

Yolanda Rebecca White is a writer, poet, and composer. After a career as a college professor in New York, she has returned to Baltimore to pursue her interests in writing and fundraising. She holds a B.A. in politics from Princeton University, and--from Yale University--a M.A. in Chinese Politics, a M.Phil. in Political Philosophy, and a Ph.D. in International Relations/Political Science.

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This story was published on August 7, 2002.
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