Thursday, January 18, 2007

Powell and Rice … A New kind of Black Leadership

On my radio show, Spirit in Action-3rd Tuesdays, January 16th, 2007, I had the pleasure of interviewing distinguished Professor Clarence Lusane, one of the most prolific writers and thinkers of our times. He is an author, activist, scholar, lecturer and journalist. Currently, he is the professor of Political Science at the School of International Service, American University in Washington DC.

On the heels of the nation’s celebration and remembrance of one of its greatest Americans, Martin Luther King, we are challenged with new paradigms of black leadership. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, these two highly visible black appointees have shaped US foreign policy for the last six years. How would Martin Luther King evaluate their records on promoting policies of peace, human rights, and economic parity around the world?

My show offered our listeners a candid and frank “conversation” on Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as the top diplomats of US Foreign Policy. Professor Lusane’s recent book, “Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and Gender The New American Century," provided the back drop for a heated and often times intense dialogue with our listeners. His book represents a scholarly work of modern-day foreign policy. It is a most read for activists, advocates, historians, social and political scientists.

Professor Luanne argues that Powell and Rice, while both supporting the ideology of the Bush Administration, are both different in the tactical approaches each take in executing the Bush’s doctrines’ of militarism, unilateralism, and power. He reports they both use race when it advances the Administration’s political goals.

Conversely, they do not use race to advance racial, class or civil rights objectives.
Ten to one, the listening audience felt that Powell and Rice had preformed their jobs badly. Some even felt “shamed” by them as agents of Bush and his ill-conceived Iraq war plans. The comments reflect the disappointment and desperation members of the community feel toward Powell, Rice, and Bush. They hope and long for progressive black leadership that connects race, gender and class with the broader struggles of all oppressed and impoverished people.

Professor Lusane states, “While some black Americans and many in Africa and the diaspora celebrated the Powell and Rice appointments through the prism of collective racial achievements, others worried that a Clarence Thomas-like Trojan Horse scenario of racial “betrayal” was unfolding.”

As I reflect on the life and mission of Martin Luther King, I think he would remind us that our leadership has a responsibility to create and implement policies and programs that uplift the poor, disadvantage, and the oppressed. And, when we fail to do this, we usher in the destruction of what is good and great about our nation and the role we play in the world. He too, might offer a failing grade to Powell and Rice.


At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Rice offers a model of womenhood that shows us how to use power. What's wrong with that?

I like your show Dr. Boyd. We do need the conversation.

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous bigrodney626 said...

Rice and Powell have both set racial justice back. I think they have done more harm than good.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Rice should be ashamed of herself. She has obviously forgotten who she is. I think she and Powell are an embarassement to the race.

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous QueenNadine48 said...

I want my daughters to be just like Condi. She has it all together. She has power,position, and poise.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous darkknight36 said...

Powell and Rice are indeed an embarassment to black people specifically and to humanity in general. When Powell made that illfated speech to the U.N.(that catapulted this country to war) it sealed his fate historically. Rice's unprincipled backing of the Bush agenda around the world, betray our history of progressive politics and history will prove that she is part of the most corrupt war-mongering inhuman administration on the planet.


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