Rice supports affirmative action

One does well to carefully discern what Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser to the White House, is about — and just how well we can trust news coverage of her. There is reason to believe she may not be one of the bad guys after all. One does well to carefully discern what Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser to the White House, is about — and just how well we can trust news coverage of her. There is reason to believe she may not be one of the bad guys after all. It would, indeed, prove interesting for her to turn out to be an individual of integrity in politician’s clothing.

As of January 17, Rice seemingly toed the president’s line with no regard to principle, most particularly in failing to denounce the process which apparently hornswogelled Florida’s Black voters to help Bush to the presidency. Contributing heavily to the perception that Rice holds Bush’s interests as a higher priority than those of a Black America was a January 17 Washington Post report. According to that account, she was influential in convincing Bush that race has no place in college admissions and fully stands behind the administration’s intent to argue before the Supreme Court that the University of Michigan gives unconstitutional preference to African American, Hispanic American and Native American applicants.

Turns out, as reported by the Associated Press, Rice does not wholly support Bush’s position which was articulated by his emphatic opposition to race as a consideration for entrance to America’s colleges and universities. In fact, according to the AP report, White House officials said Rice stood up to Bush, arguing that race could be used as a factor in admissions — despite her opinion that the University of Michigan stretched the point. How she felt the university over-stepped the process of rectifying inequity, the AP report didn’t say. It did say, however, that she was stung by the Washington Post story.

Exactly what is going on? Has Rice deliberately misrepresented to the public? Rice alongside Secretary of State Colin Powell, has been seen as a figurative ornament on the White House lawn. Like Powell (who also recently distanced himself from Bush’s hard-line rhetoric), Rice has been a public relations coup for Bush in that the appointments of Rice and Powell ostensibly authenticate Bush’s commitment to the inclusion of minorities in the American dream. And, as with Powell, a given number of Black Americans were vexed when no word came from Rice regarding the electoral debacle in Florida. You have to now wonder if she said something about it that we simply never heard.

Let’s look at how the media has handled the recent situation. Rice wasn’t just erroneously cited by the reactionary Washington Post as influencing Bush’s decision. She told the Associate Press that she doesn’t completely agree with Bush. Did the post manufacture news instead of reporting it? The Post article attributed a stance to Rice, characterizing her position, yet contained not one quote from her. The Associated Press communicated her words: “It is appropriate to use race as one factor among others in achieving a diverse student body,” Additionally, the Washington Post — after the AP story — indulged conjecture which, at this point in time, must be construed as having jumped the gun. “With a quick defense of her views”, the Post wrote, “Rice is certain to fuel speculation that Bush’s most prominent African American adviser harbors political ambitions. Many Republicans consider her a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate.” I could be wrong, but it sure sounds to me like, because they couldn’t support Bush by misrepresenting Rice, they turned around and cast her in a disparaging light.

Rice has done a very surprising thing. She rocked a boat that shows no signs of sinking. This required nerve. She had to be aware, of course, that Bush doesn’t dare really cross her. If he ever jumped on Rice’s case — about anything — women all over the country, especially Black women, would be incensed. He doesn’t need that kind of dent in his popularity. As much

February 3, 2003
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