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Dr. Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's National Security Advisor, and now his Secretary of State nominee has been the subject of nasty, demeaning and disrespectful cartoons and commentary. Some of the worst have come from people like the NAACP's Chairman Julian Bond who said on TV's America's Black Forum that he agreed with cartoonist Aaron McGruder's characterization of Dr. Rice as "a murderer." A lead article in Black Commentator said, "Condoleezza Rice is the purest expression of the race traitor. No polite description is possible." Those kind of attacks by blacks have emboldened guilt-ridden white liberals to join in as seen by the recent cartoons of Oliphant and Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury).
First, let's look at a few of Dr. Rice's credentials. She holds a doctorate from Denver University. While senior fellow at the prestigious Hoover Institution, she taught courses in Stanford University's political science department. Later she served as the University's provost. Dr. Rice is a recognized expert in Soviet and Eastern European countries plus she's fluent in Russian. She landed her job as National Security Advisor, not because President Bush was trying to pay off a black constituency, not because Bush had an affirmative action policy; her qualifications got her the job. If Dr. Rice is confirmed by the Senate, she will hold the most important cabinet office not only because she'll direct the President's foreign policy but she'll be third in the line of succession should the president become incapacitated - the first two are the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Being 68, I lived at a time when the idea of a black cabinet official was little more than a pipe dream. Robert C. Weaver's 1966 appointment to the Department of Housing and Urban Development made him the first black cabinet officer. Since that time there have been other blacks appointed to high office. None have encountered the vicious attacks visited on Dr. Rice and General Colin Powell and what's worst, the most vicious attacks have come from their fellow blacks.
To make sure I was correct in my recollection of blacks in earlier periods, I called my 81-year-old friend Chuck Stone, former writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and now professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I asked him whether he recalled instances of today's demeaning, insulting attacks. He said no and we recalled how black people came to the defense of people like Congressmen Robert Nix and Adam Clayton Powell, for whom Professor Stone served as chief administrative assistant. Professor Stone also reminded me that the differences between Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois didn't produce today's virulence.
To put yesteryear in perspective, in 1941, Joe Louis knocked out Billy Conn. If you weren't around then, you cannot imagine the uplift and pride that it gave black people. In the scheme of things, Joe Louis' feat doesn't begin to compare to the achievements of Dr. Rice and General Powell.
Black people have become Democrats first and whatever else afterwards. The Democrat leadership, along with their leftist allies in Hollywood, on college campuses, in labor unions the education establishment, and the media detest President Bush. Too many black people are dependent on the Democrats for handouts and racial preferences. Black politicians depend on the Bush-haters for financial resources enabling them to gain office. Black civil rights organizations are beholding to liberal foundations. The bottom line of all of this is that he who pays the piper calls the tune and black people dance along.
The attacks on Dr. Rice and General Powell are the results of one-think where all blacks are to think alike. Any who stray are race traitors. A monopoly on ideas serves no one well and explains why solutions to problems for a large segment of the black community will remain elusive.
Walter E. Williams
November 22, 2004
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