Depending on how you view things, Condoleeza Rice’s recent statements concerning U.S.-borne racism convey the hopelessness, or plain reality, of what many American’s have been taught to believe about discrimination.
As a guest on a special Thanksgiving edition of “Face the Nation,” the former Secretary of State shared her views on racial equality, or lack thereof. “We have a black president. We’ve had two black secretaries of state. We have black CEOs. Obviously African Americans are pushing way into territories that, probably, my grandparents would never have thought possible,” she said. Regardless, she admits that although it seems our fair country has “gotten to a place [where] race is not the limiting factor that it once was,” she expressed, “we’re never going to erase race as a factor in American life.”
“It is a birth defect with which this country was born out of slavery; we’re never really going to be race blind,” Rice explained. “I think it goes back to whether or not race and class – that is, race and poverty – is not becoming even more of a constraint,” she said. “Because with the failing public schools, I worry that the way that my grandparents got out of poverty, the way that my parents became educated, is just not going to be there for a whole bunch of kids. And I do think that race and poverty is still a terrible witch’s brew.”
Rice added a critical value imparted to her by her family to cope with the severe oppression she faced as a child, “My family had to persevere under those circumstances to educate all of us, and to insist that we might not be able to control our circumstances but we could control our response.”
Looking beyond the irony of Rice’s former role within an administration known for their blatant indifference towards the Black community, her comments ring true to many Americans of varying shades. Are we hearing a sense of hopelessness, a lack of vision, or fundamental reality? Just because many of us cannot fathom a “color blind” society, does that actually mean that true equality for Black folks in this country is nothing more than a pipe dream?
Condi on racism in the U.S.: