by Mel Reeves
Faculty and student groups a the University of Minnesota insulted history and Black America, last month, inviting Condoleezza Rice to speak on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Rice and her immediate family rejected that Movement. “She is not a beacon of the Civil Rights Movement but, rather, an embarrassment.”
by Mel Reeves
Protesters forced former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to withdraw from a commencement address at Rutgers University, in New Jersey, this week. However, demonstrators were unable to prevent Rice from speaking to a University of Minnesota audience, three weeks ago. The author was among the opposition.
“All the hard work in the world would not have opened the doors for Rice if there had not been a Movement.”
There are myriad reasons why Condoleezza Rice was a bad choice to speak at the University of Minnesota on “Keeping Faith with a Legacy of Justice: the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”
The first is that it would be downright hypocritical. Rice is not an expert on Civil Rights, in fact, her life and her career are all a reflection of her disdain for civil rights. Rice, nor her family believed in the efficacy of the struggle for the rights of black people to be free of Jim Crow racism in the United States. And her record as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State from 2001-2008 in the Bush Administration indicates that she is not qualified to talk about “rights” human or civil. She spent her entire career in Washington dedicated to separating so-called enemies of the US from their civil and human rights.
According to Rice, the Civil Rights Movement wasn’t necessary, legal segregation (Jim Crow) would have worked itself out and ended on its own, or collapsed under its own weight.
In a Washington Post interview years ago she said, “I felt that segregation had become not just a real moral problem, but it had become a real pain in the neck for some [white] people, People had begun to make their own little accommodations.” Really, Dr. Rice? White southerners, out of the kindness of their hearts, were going to give up the political, economic, and social advantages that Jim Crow segregation had granted them? Her statement recalls what we in the black community used to call “educated fools.” Clearly Rice, who grew up in Birmingham in the middle of the Civil Rights struggle, has a revisionist idea of those times.
“According to Rice, the Civil Rights Movement wasn’t necessary.”
Condoleezza has bragged that her family didn’t march because her father didn’t think he could turn the other cheek. But that’s a poor excuse, because not all of the marches called for direct confrontation with authority. The Rice family could have gotten involved in the Movement, but they chose to sit it out.
I think the truth is, her dad and her family thought they were above marching, like many other black middle class folks who sat out the movement, but didn’t hesitate to walk through the doors opened by people they looked down on. Her father Rev. Rice, the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Birmingham, disparaged civil rights leader and fellow preacher Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth’s efforts, calling him “misguided” and his congregation “uneducated.”
The Rices were from the black bourgeoisie, a class that on some level benefitted from segregated society; they were “somebody” in their apartheid circles. They had acquired education and a few dollars and had a certain measure of comfort with White Supremacy and, unlike their more working class brethren, were somewhat shielded from the economic blows of Jim Crow segregation.
Yet, ironically, while Rice’s family sat out the protests, their daughter directly benefited from them. All the hard work in the world would not have opened the doors for Rice if there had not been a Movement of brave folks, who did have the courage to turn the other cheek for the bigger prize.
But she has had the nerve to say publicly that “she should have made it” no matter the obstacles. She has been quoted saying, “My family is third-generation college-educated, I should’ve gotten to where I am.” Clearly this fits the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” philosophy that has made her a darling among the enemies of black progress, namely conservatism.
Three cheers for the sister who took the South’s bowel movements and made fertilizer all by herself!
But as a columnist said in a Huff Post article about 10 years ago, “We will never know where she ‘would’ have ended up, if there had been no Rosa Parks, no Dr. King, no Southern Christian Leadership Council, and no March on Washington….”
“Her father disparaged civil rights leader and fellow preacher Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth’s efforts, calling him “misguided” and his congregation “uneducated.”
Of course the other way to assure that doors would be open is to do the bidding of US Imperialism, which Rice served so well in her former posts as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.
The truth is, she is not a beacon of the Civil Rights Movement but, rather, an embarrassment. She became an apologist and supporter of unjust war, directly responsible for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the war on Iraq. She was also an apologist for torture, becoming one of the first White House officials to go on record supporting any form of torture. Don’t take my word for it look it up, it’s in the record.
And by the way, she has done nothing to enhance the civil rights or careers of fellow African Americans, but has simply enhanced her own career. And accepting $150,000 to speak on a subject and a movement she philosophically disagrees with makes her a pimp.
The truth is she has behaved worse than a common criminal.
Most well raised children have sense enough to apologize when they have done wrong – and she has done plenty wrong – but she hasn’t shown an ounce of remorse. She has no guilt and no shame. Rice won’t even admit that she was wrong to give the ok to torture or wrong to invade a country and kill and destroy and wreak havoc on false pretenses (for oil).
Pray tell what does this woman have to add to a discussion about rights? If she had any decency she would have turned down the invitation!