My Fair Condi

Former Secy. of State Condoleeza Rice has recently signed a book deal worth $2 million. This news left the folks at AOL/Black Voices wondering if Rice was “relevant” to the black community.

While she has had an illustrious career (provost of Stanford, concert pianist, Russian scholar) filled with many historic firsts (first black woman national security advisor and first black woman secretary of state), she hasn’t held such a welcome position within the black community.

Some have accused Rice of being a sellout just by being part of the Bush administration, while others have been confused by her disconnect from the community from which she hails. That may be the reason why she has never graced the cover of Essence magazine — the premier magazine devoted to the African American woman. (Queen Latifah was on the cover of the issue in which Rice was featured in 2006.)

When she received an NAACP award in 2002, it sparked controversy and protests among civil rights leaders. Rice is controversial and perhaps even divisive, but does she deserve the support of blacks?

“I will definitely be buying her book,” said literary agent and former senior editor for Simon & Schuster Tracy Sherrod. “While I may not agree with her politics, I feel that she is relevant, and I am interested in hearing her views on a host of different issues. I think it will be an important book. And I don’t feel we have the luxury to not support her or anyone else in our community, particularly now.”

With the first black president of the United States, perhaps it’s time we reexamine what it means to be black. Maybe it’s time to accept those who don’t necessarily share the same views.

“Black people often complain about being viewed as monolithic, and here is someone who is different, and I don’t think she should be attacked for being different,” said Melody Guy, a senior editor at Random House’s One World, who recently published ‘Numbers,’ a novel by rapper Dana Dane.

“Now more than ever, people are so clued into our political landscape. Her book should be as relevant to blacks as it will be to anyone else. She is a part of our community. I would love to have the opportunity to publish someone like her.”

I’d argue that love Condi, hate Condi, she’s relevant. You can’t exactly ignore a person who was once one of the most powerful black people in government before our current president. But you also can’t ignore the role she played in the Bush Administration. (Hence, often how you feel about her depends on how you felt about the Bushes.)

I try to judge ol’ Condi on her own merits. This doesn’t always go well. Then there is the part who can relate to her because of the shared background, although we obviously don’t share the same politics. I’ve even bonded with Condi over hair and clothes (in a deathmatch with Shelly O., of course), because, at the end of the day … even if you think she’s evilthose were some cute shoes. Of course, shopping while people were drowning in the Ninth Ward wasn’t too bright, but … like I said, you have to judge things on their merits.

While I’m not a fan, sometimes I do find myself in the awkward place of defending Condi, usually out of some NATO-like situation where an attack on her as a black woman has splattered on to me in the form of a racist cartoon or some nasty sexual connotation used to describe her. (Which is so odd when I read her as asexual. Even when femme and glammed up she just doesn’t look like she cares.)

For instance, me and another black man were accused of “blind patriotism” because we didn’t believe that Condi had a sexual relationship with the ex-president. While there’s no way of knowing anything, for I and the other man, the notion of Condi and Shrub going at it seemed foreign. She was his cheerleader, helpmate, toddy, hand-holder, secret-keeper, workout buddy and “yes woman.” Despite the “Husband” Freudian slip (which I think was more about her role as presidential hand-holder than sex), we didn’t see any “there” there. It wasn’t that we couldn’t see George W. Bush cheating. Any man could cheat. We couldn’t see it with Condoleeza, straight-laced, uptight, micro managed Condoleeza.

I mean, I’ve known that girl. That girl doesn’t even date, let alone have sex. She’s waiting for the “perfect moment” that doesn’t exist because she actually doesn’t want to do it and would rather be reading “The Brothers Karamazov” in the original Russian.

It’s OK to be that girl, but I didn’t quite get how that was “blind patriotism.” I’m a patriot because I believe the ex-president didn’t screw a woman he called one of his best friends? Oh. OK. I thought it was because I believe in the Constitution and insisted on staying here despite historical injustices, but … whatever.

How do you feel about Condi (and her book deal and her shoe shopping while New Orleans flooded — will she ever live THAT down)? What do you expect of a post-Bush Condi and do you to sometimes find yourself defending her when you actually don’t agree with her?

Or worse, think she’s an actual war criminal? Do you still sometimes find yourself still going there because of someone else’s ignorance or do you join in the viciousness? Do tell!

32 thoughts on “My Fair Condi

  1. Why wouldn’t she be relevant? It sounds like the real reason for the attacks are that she served in a republican administration and stayed with Bush. There doesn’t seem to be any bias against Colin Powell maybe b/c he left the Bush admin.

  2. Meanwhile, a real American hero died yesterday.,0,2062493.storyYes, I do believe she’s a war criminal. So is Colin Powell. Being black does not absolve them from going along with the lie that there were weapons of mass destruction. It is criminal to engage another country in war based on false pretenses. It’s also criminal to engage in torture or to authorize it or to not report it if one knows about it. In fact, there’s a special word for breaking the law at her level; it’s called treason, and according to Federal law, it’s still a hanging offense.Black people will finally be free and equal when they stop feeling protective of wrongdoers based on their skin color. Essentialist ethnic politics is as ugly in an afrocentrist as it is in a klansman.As for her relevance to black people, apparently the people arguing this live somewhere off the face of the earth where US foreign policy has no meaning.What do I expect of her? Nothing except ignorance and trouble. My BF has actually read her dissertation, in which she claimed the Soviets wouldn’t fall. He said it was pathetic in its reasoning. She’s been wrong about all her major policy stances (you can check better than I can; you’re a journalist, after all).What do I hope from her? A nice long jail term, preferably in one of the countries that she authorized to take our prisoners for torture purposes. I think Saudi Arabia would be nice, or Kuwait, as they have such lovely feelings about women and their rights in such places. Since she never really objected to their policies, I think she should be sent to one of those places by rendition.

  3. Will she spill the beans on that certian Redskin she’s may have hung with, or that retired Houston Oiler (thus naturally he’d be retired if it’s the Oilers). Girlfriend LUVS football. Will she turn away from the lunatics like Limbaugh or these other folk who threaten our president on a daily basis, or will she, too, be coy? And don’t let the sweetness from African American book editors fool you. Yes, the words are backed with sincerity, but underfoot, at the concrete, it’s about sales. The industry is clawing for the next big anything, and will pay out go-zillions (in Forrest Gump terminology) rather than invest or rework itself. That’s why they would publish a black audience childrens book co-authored by Condi, Soulja Boy and R Kelly if they could (and illustrated by Aaron MaGruder), no matter how ridiculous that may sound to someone with sense. hahaha.PS she and my my wife share the same hairdresser based in Silver Spring, MD. Unfortunately for us, Haliburton won’t be underwriting my wife’s visits, which is why I have to get ringworm from the $10 cut brothers on Georgia Ave in order to save $.Sorry for the meanness today but I just did a blog post on the Tea Parties.

  4. The woman is interesting. She is mysterious as well. I would love to hear her philosophical viewpoints on what has moved her. I want to hear it from her own mouth and not what we’ve only had is second-hand accounts or someone surmising what they could weave together from her social DNA. Her emotional DNA is what is most intriguing.

  5. I always thought Condi reminded me of my step-sister, CC. She was, and probably still is, ultra religious and never dated a man her entire life (well into middle-age now), and instead focused on education and her career. She had a rewarding and outstanding professional life, although she lived like a nun, wanting for that perfect man to show up and he never did. I’m here, Condi, baby, to save you. Call me, darling. We’ll do lunch.

  6. WOW!!! This is HOT, HOT, HOT topic/ article!! Thank you for taking the time to write it!! I think there is always two ways to look at everyone and everything however, a persons life and legacy still stand solid. Condi has crossed into uncharted territory and has made her decisions along the way that people may or may not agree with. But for me those are the key qualities of fearless people, true leaders, and being an amazing human.You cannot over look that. Honestly no matter what decision or her association I feel as a whole looking back "Black America", minorities and the USA at that will reap the benefits of Condi’s life and work in some which way shape and form.I am on the fence with her BUT when I look at her I see me…. and that in itself is what makes her relevant. I am 27 years old. So as literary agent and former senior editor for Simon & Schuster, Tracy Sherrod expressed – I too will be buying her book and supporting. I believe there is much I can learn from her, even it is in relation to her mistakes, questions, issues, history, challenges, and/or perspective on life.

  7. Relevant Government Employee – yes. Interesting Human – No.Will I read the book? No.Do I care if she slept with W or the Skins’ entire defensive line? – No. I’m not Laura.Chris- you’ve redefined my definition of True Love. (eeek)

  8. Well what has the Black "community" done for Condoleeza? If this has been a Democratic administration she would not have had the role in the gov’t that she filled. We don’t all have to share the same political perspectives. I totally agree that she should be thought of as a war criminal but so should many people. Like all the ones who were calling for war after 9/11 and wanted revenge w/o thinking about the consequences (economic collapse, death tolls). Who she dates – and I’m fairly certain she’s seeing somebody – is nobody’s business. Just because Colin Powell endorsed Obama doesn’t make him any less of a war hawk. I think part of the disdain for Rice is based on sexism and anger that Rice doesn’t follow the usual role people would like Black women to follow. As I said I don’t like her political views but she was always loyal to her President. How many people think the ones Obama has surrounded himself with are going to be that that loyal? Not me!! Rice has the right to live her life as she sees fit.

  9. Hi there Snob!I am a Condi supporter and I wrote a post on "Black Divestment and Condoleezation" a couple of months ago that attracted all of the Condi-bashers. Condi has never TRIED TO have the support of the black community. Condi has never NEED TO have the support of the black community to reach her goals. Her book will be a best seller if not one black person buys it. Guaranteed.This is the reality…It’s OVER for prominent blacks thinking that they MUST HAVE blacks endorsing them and that they MUST HAVE the black community fawning over them. They can become millionaires without having the fan base of blacks…and they know it…they just don’t SAY SO.It’s a new day.

  10. A friend of mine used to say, "Oh, yeah, after a dog has peed on it." But he was a snippy, prissy person anyway.

  11. Condi”s folks left Bombingham after one of her friends was killed. I think that scared the living shit out of her. At home she seems like she was indoctrinated w/ the Booker T. philosophy of being useful(which in and of itself is not a bad idea) and she took it to heart. Given Denver was a very conservative place then and the cold war it isn’t a stretch being useful meant Russian studies.This combination moved her away from the African American community outside of Church and the piano. So if she’s revelant it is to those AA’s whom care about foreign policy as a suspect.As to men I just leave that alone.

  12. I love/hate Condi. I love her because she’s a super-accomplished woman who looks like me and I hate her because she was a part of the last administration and I am politically opposite to her. She’s definitely relevant though.I also think that I may be ‘that girl" you described except that I don’t know Russian… but I do love Dostoyevsky in English. Maybe I need a therapist…

  13. I got my BA 27 years ago with my thesis on "Sino/Soviet/American perceptions and misperceptions," so I can break the ice with Condi by discussing it over dinner. We can perhaps talk about the CIA and various torture techniques, such as waterboarding and internet dating.You never know, opposites do attract sometimes.

  14. Condolezza Rice is a f**king Hi-tech table Dancer for the GOP, and her own self interest!Black Folks could care less about Condi, as much about Tiger Woods…they made choics to divest themselves of the Black Community, Condi said in Ebony magazine that she didn’t care what we thought of her anyway, remember she went shopping for shoes at Ferragamo, and enjoyed SPAMOLOT, while black folks drowned during Katrina aftermath, and was quoted saying on CNN, why didn’t they using those submerged buses I saw to get the people out before the storm. As Secy of State, it was not her responsiblity to assist…people just expected some empathy!She is a poster child of the Indiviualistic, selfish overqualified Blackwoman of her generation, political and social consciouness of people resides in its woman, enough said…ask me the same question in twenty years from now about this War Criminal!

  15. I was over Condi after she likened the invasion of Iraq to the civil rights movement. I believe it was during an interview by Essence magazine printed in the issue with Queen Latifah on the cover mentioned up thread. She attempted to justify the invasion, the killing and the profit to the AA community in the most intellectually dishonest manner imaginable. I knew then she was bought and paid for. In my opinion, she is the administration she served;nothing more, nothing less.

  16. In his biography of Rice (Twice As Good), Marcus Mabry wrote of how there was a battle/mutiny among the editorial staff at Essence after employees discovered that senior editors had decided to put Rice on the cover. Apparently, they went with another option.I’m torn about Rice. As one of those college political geeks in the the late 1980s, I was fascinated and proud by her frequent appearances on Nightline talking about Russia but I found many of her actions during Bush II disturbing to say the least. Her tendency to exploit and twist civil rights history to justify Bush’s domestic and international policies drove me up the wall (not to mention the media’s failure to challenge her more dubious historical assertions…but that’s a whole other post.) Aside from being cited as a "first", I don’t think history will look upon her kindly.

  17. Condi Rice is a strong, smart, and loyal woman. I will give her that. She has had misjudgments and I believe that she help to orchestrate war injustices, but I’ll give her she is powerful enough to not even need the black community as somebody pointed out. She is a dang mastermind and she will go down in history and you better believe that. I also believe sexism does play a part in how the black community treats Condi vs. Colin. I like Colin, but isn’t he a Bush Republican aswell? He stepped down, granted, but should he be redeemed from that legacy? Condi is a black WOMAN, and for all the black leaders claiming how much they will support and defend black women, I’ve seen nothing but attacks on her and praise on Powell. Even from my own family, they love Powell, yet loathe Condi. I am not a fan of some of her views, but she does get my support on the book. She is relevent, does the black community only have one dimmension? Most blacks are very socially conservative and are alligned with Bush on the social issues. It confuses me.

  18. @ Lincoln Perry, do you then believe that Mayor Ray Nagin did his job? The crisis was in large his responsibility. I do not believe that Condi doesn’t care about the black community. She isn’t a fool. I blame everybody involved for the mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina. Democrats and Republicans alike. The Mayor, The Governor, and The President.

  19. @ AquaBaby how has Condi distorted civil rights movement? I don’t understand? She didn’t lie about the Democrats being racist pre-civil rights era! George Wallace "Segregation Now, Segregation Forever."

  20. I struggle with Condi a lot myself. I wanna like her because the woman is educated, successful, etc. But she rolled with George W. Bush! That’s REAL hard for me to get over. LOLBut at the end of the day, I think Condi is absolutely relevant.Her shopping while New Orleans was underwater was in bad taste, yes, but as Secretary of State, that had nothing to do with her. I don’t ever recall, in the history of the United States, the Secretary of State being dispatched for a natural disaster that hit an American city. If we were to have another one (God forbid), are we gonna call on Hillary Clinton to come get in the trenches? I don’t think so. People expected Condi to show concern because she’s black. Period. And when she didn’t (which didn’t surprise me in the least), black folks were tripping all over themselves with outrage.Let’s keep it real: as much as black people have dogged Condi and tried to disregard her since she came on the scene, they certainly went looking for her validation when Katrina happened. The same Condi who has never made a big deal one way or another about being black. And she didn’t give it to them. I don’t understand why people were surprised. As much as black people wanna say we’re not a monolith, a LOT of those same people STILL EXPECT racial loyalty to trump everything else. Even from people who don’t subscribe to that mode of thinking.

  21. Beautiful Snob,To answer that question, one would first need to set the parameters:What actually constitutes the “black community” today?What are the requirements for entrance into this community today?Does Ms. Rice meet the criteria then? Otherwise there is no guidance to establish relevance.

  22. @ Lite BreadI would argue in AOL/Black Voices case the "black community" constitutes the religiously conservative, politically populist, pro-Civil Rights, pro-racial solidarity (even in the face of stupidity at times) majority class who largely vote Democratic, like Tyler Perry films, read Ebony Magazine and are the individuals we complain about on this blog all the time. Largely because they raised us, are inflexible and are no fun at parties. And Colin is a man. I’m just going to say it: the black community still has a pretty strong sexist streak. The majority find it easier to forgive a fallen man than a woman. I see Colin and Condi (and most of the black conservative bunch for that matter) as different variations on the same theme, so I don’t get the "Love Colin, hate Condi" paradigm unless it is based on gender. And I still can’t believe folks re-elected Ray Nagan. I can’t stand the man. Was his opponent THAT bad that you re-elect the man who helped cause the disaster? And I with DM to the extent that Katrina was such a massive failure I’m still shocked anyone from just the average joe with the Army Corps to the President STILL had a job after that. It was bizarro world. In most cases mass firings would have been the rule of the day.

  23. Beautiful Snob,Well put.It is an awful conundrum at times, isn’t it?As far as Katrina, I hang my head in total shame. How is it, that a nation that can muster the resources to attack whole nations on the complete other side of the globe, can inside of a day or two get the expertise to the correct spot to shoot 3 guys off a little boat in a big Sea, but, BUT, inside it’s own borders, no shooting enemies, no hostilities, no nothing, couldn’t mobilize every single Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, etc helicopter, watercraft, truck, wheelbarrow, whatever, inside a day and DO SOMETHING …You are right about how anyone kept a job after that. In our private sector, we’d be firin’ whole departments of people over a debacle like that. And then Bonus the Exec’s of course.I’m ashamed.

  24. I like Condi, but I admit that she could have made better choices. She was basically brainwashed and let Bush manipulate her patriotism and desire to be "not like those other negroes". We all sell our souls in one way on another, so I don’t judge her. She is just as guilty about the war as all the other black people who work for the government or in the military. Like so many other model minorities, she is terribly predictable. We are all still slaves, remember.I do admire her intelligence, drive, and professionalism. I wouldn’t mind taking her to lunch. I’m sure I could learn a lot.

  25. Me, how are people in the military responsible for the war? For following orders? That is their job.

  26. Wasn’t Condi following orders? The military is voluntary and soldiers chose to join.. When did the U.S. ever wage a righteous war?

  27. @me:Are you really that naive? If it weren’t for veterans you would be speaking german or japanese and wouldn’t have the freedom to say such silly things.

  28. @AnnabeleIts disheartening to constantly hear Black Woman use sexism as a excuse for there selfish behavior, Colin Powel as a Bush cabinet member supported Affirmative Actions and broke ranks on the Iraq War, Remember the statement you break it you buy!Colin openly endorsed Obama, Condi just sleeps with ballers!

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