It's taken a while, but Ronald Kessler has finally figured out a way to work some of his trademark Bush administration fluffing into his attacks on Barack Obama: by claiming in his March 26 Newsmax column that Condoleezza Rice suffered more racism than Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Yet while Wright, 66, no doubt had brushes with discrimination growing up in Philadelphia, it was nothing compared with what Condoleezza Rice faced — or, for that matter, what six million Jews who were slaughtered by Adolf Hitler faced.
In contrast to Wright, who attended an integrated school, Rice grew up in segregated Birmingham, Ala. Denise McNair, one of Rice’s friends and classmates, was one of the four girls who was killed in the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Rice's Unbridled Courage
Rice had to sit at the back of buses. When more whites got on, the driver would move a “Colored” sign farther back in the bus, making less room for blacks. Rice could not eat at the same restaurants as whites unless the restaurant had a separate room with a separate entrance for blacks.
She was not allowed to use the same drinking fountains or public restrooms as whites. But Condi Rice, a descendant of slaves and white slave owners, had something else going for her: Her middle-class black neighborhood had developed a culture separate from the rest of the city, one that shut out the racism all around and taught children they had to be “twice as good” to pull even with whites.
Instead of teaching Rice to carry a chip on her shoulder, as she has told me, Rice’s parents amplified those positive values, giving her a strong sense of self-worth.
Rice’s father, the Rev. John W. Rice Jr., instilled in his daughter the faith that she brought with her into the White House and the State Department.
While Rice is comfortable with her own heritage and often speaks before black groups, she does not dwell on the racism she experienced growing up. Above all, Rice is proud of America and the opportunities that everyone now has. Witness the fact that she is secretary of state.
What a contrast to the poisonous atmosphere at the church that Obama has chosen to attend for more than two decades and the demagoguery of the man he calls his friend, sounding board, and mentor.
Getting a little desperate, are we, Ron?