The big-city dailies have given extensive coverage to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s April 8 testimony to the 9/11 commission. Many of the page 1 headlines and inside stories display a most unfortunate--some might say racist--perception of Dr. Rice and her testimony, with such headlines as “Leaders Accuse Bush of Using Rice as Fall Guy” to “Do Condoleezza Rice and President Bush See What the Rest of Us See?”
It’s not unusual for folks to wonder if there is a double standard in the news media. Usually, that question has to do with ideology, a liberal or conservative bias perhaps. But the headlines about Dr. Rice’s testimony are not about ideology, but about diversity in views. The press just can’t seem to understand that a well-educated black woman could hold the views Dr. Rice holds.
For the first time in the history of blacks in America, a black woman has been appointed to one of the highest positions in our federal government. While the press are certainly entitled not to “like” her or the testimony she delivered before the 9/11 commission, she is also entitled to something: fair treatment and respect for the positions she holds.
Lee H. Walker is president of the New Coalition for Economic and Social Change, and director and senior fellow of The Heartland Institute. He is a former member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, is listed in Who’s Who Among Black Americans and a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity-Delta Alpha. Walker may be reached at 312/377-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.