It didn’t take long after President George W. Bush’s nomination of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State for someone on the left to inject racism into the mix, as has been done in the past.
On Wednesday, a white Wisconsin radio personality called Rice an “Aunt Jemima” and Powell an “Uncle Tom.” The NAACP’s head, Kweisi Mfume, reacted by calling people who say such things “just as bad as those who hide under sheets and burn crosses.”
Previous creations by liberal cartoonists Jeff Danziger and Ted Rall have depicted Rice sitting barefoot in a rocking chair and using sloppy language like “I knows all about ….” and “I don’t know nuthin’ about,” as well as saying, “I was Bush’s … house nigga!” with another character saying back to Rice, “Now hand over your hair straightener.”
Obviously, if anyone on the right were to produce such blatantly racist material, he or she would be justifiably condemned by liberals and conservatives alike. But when such material comes from those “tolerant” liberals, the left isn’t so vocal in its opposition.
Such a clear double standard exists largely in part because of the myth that only conservatives are racist and only liberals are non-racist. The myth is only fueled by political ads that have called Republicans and conservatives racists — something I’ve pointed out in a past column.
Apparently, the theory is that if you believe particular minorities don’t need government to succeed, you’re a racist who doesn’t want them to advance.
And, likewise, if you believe they need government to succeed, then you’re clearly a tolerant, compassionate individual.
Blacks and other minorities who happen to have an aversion to big government are sometimes referred to by others as sell-outs. In the past, similar sentiments have been levied against such prominent black conservatives as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Education Secretary Rod Page.
An example is singer Harry Belafonte, who said in a 2002 radio interview, “… there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and there were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master … exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. Colin Powell’s committed to come into the house of the master.”
Such a demeaning attitude toward the hard work and achievement of an individual such as Powell is, sadly, all too common among some of the leftward persuasion. In essence, whether they intend to or not, they degrade the abilities of minorities.
Notice how all of the aforementioned, Rice included, were appointed by the “racist” Republican presidents. All are great examples of hard work and determination, proof that all humans are created equal and can achieve anything if they dismiss negativism and aspire to be their best. Their lives contradict the belief of many liberals that there’s too much weighing on minorities for them to succeed without government’s guiding hand.
Modern liberalism essentially goes against the aspirations of civil rights legend Fredrick Douglass who said, “What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.” He added, “‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.”
Many past government programs that were geared toward helping the disadvantaged, in fact, accomplished the opposite of their goal, in some cases actually causing harm.
Here is where the liberal chimes in: “But those programs are what helped people like Rice and Powell get to where they are today.” And, thus, that liberal would prove my point: As long as such programs exist, minorities will never be seen as actually succeeding by their own hard work, but rather by the nudging of the nanny state, forever perpetuating the myth that they aren’t good enough to make it on their own.
There’s a better vision, one rooted in confidence in people of all races and their individual abilities. That’s the attitude of most modern-day conservatives when it comes to the advancement of people; unfortunately, many modern-day liberals don’t share it.
Adam Fowler is a senior majoring in political firstname.lastname@example.org