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Here’s Why White Progressives Can’t Understand Condoleezza Rice’s Comments on Racism

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

In a recent airing of “The View,” former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dropped a series of truth bombs about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, critical race theory, and other issues. But it was her comments on the impact of racism in America that illustrated a principle that is anathema to far-left progressive thought.

During the segment, she discussed her upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama while segregation was still in effect and recalled that she “couldn’t go to a movie theater or to a restaurant” with her parents. She also highlighted the lessons about racism and prejudice that were instilled in her by her parents. She said:

I went to segregated schools till we moved to Denver. My parents never thought I was going to grow up in a world without prejudice. But they also told me “that’s somebody else’s problem, not yours, you’re going to overcome it, and you are going to be anything you want to be.” And that’s the message that I think we ought to be sending to kids.

Rice expressed her concerns about the nature of the national conversation about race, noting how many individuals have approached in a way that is counterproductive. She said:

One of the worries that I have about the way that we’re talking about race is that it either seems so big that somehow white people now have to feel guilty for everything that happened in the past.

The former secretary of state also said she doesn’t think it’s “very productive” that “black people have to feel disempowered by race.” She continued:

I would like black kids to be completely empowered to know that they are beautiful in their blackness. But in order to do that, I don’t have to make white kids feel bad for being white. So somehow this is a conversation that has gone in the wrong direction.

What Rice highlighted in her remarks is an exceedingly deleterious characteristic of the left in its approach to conversations about race. Leftists seek to diminish the impact of racism by disempowering white people to the point that they are finally equal to black people. White progressives believe they can achieve this equality by supporting policies like lowering learning standards in schools.

If leftists truly wished to diminish the impact of racism, they would focus more on doing what Rice said: Empowering black people. Instead of lowering learning standards so that more black students can graduate, it would make far more sense to focus on improving the quality of education that many black students receive. Despite constantly asking for more funding, they have not done much to provide better education for minority children. Indeed, they oppose measures like school choice, which would empower black parents to ensure their kids attend the best schools.

Even their emphasis on pushing more government action and programs that are ostensibly designed to lift black Americans out of poverty demonstrates the way they think. It doesn’t occur to them that providing more opportunities for black Americans and removing the obstacles that make it harder for them to achieve their objectives might be the better strategy for long-term success.

During her appearance on “The View,” Rice never pretended racism didn’t exist. She never even downplayed it or pretended that it has no impact. Her contention is that black people can succeed despite the effects of bigotry. It is a sentiment expressed by people like Malcolm X, who routinely chastised black Americans for not focusing on building in their own communities instead of soliciting whites for relief.

Yes, racism does exist. Yes, it has an impact on black Americans and, by extension, the United States. But attempting to villainize nonracist white people is not the way to help black America. The left’s penchant for exaggerating racism to the point that many believe it is this insurmountable force has caused just as much destruction as racism itself. Removing the obstacles facing the black community so that they can prosper on their own is the only way to reduce the racial disparities that still exist. Unfortunately, the left continues to demonstrate that they are unable – or unwilling – to acknowledge this reality.