Thursday, January 20, 2005

You Know, I Have To Say It

Secretary of State.

Black woman. And yea, she's a ball-buster. She's smart. She's brutal. She'll kick your ass. First black woman to hold the post. Second woman.

In the history of the US.

I don't want to say "good for you" because she's done it with a foreign policy I don't agree with, and an attitude toward the rest of the world that sickens me, but shit, how many old white men have held the post with the same politics? And no, her parents didn't join the civil rights movement, and there's talk that she's seen as "disconnected" from the black community ("playing white"), but shit.

I gotta give credit where credit's due.

Next up: let's get people into this position who don't have to be bully assholes to get there.

6 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, Kameron, I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. Give credit where credit is due? Is she due credit because she is tough and 'made it' politically? She deserves no more credit than any other black woman who overcomes and succeeds in what she wants, especially in a white man's world. It is just because of her policies that she doesn't deserve a lot of credit, in my opinion.  

Posted by jp

Anonymous said...

It's funny. For me, a lot of this is about the symbolism. Yea, you're right, there are far, far better women to look up to, but there's a visibility barrier that I think needs to be broken down.

You can grow up knowing your whole life that it's "possible" for a woman to be president, but until you actually see one, you don't really believe it. I had parents who raised me to believe that I really could be president - and then I watched a female presidential candidate get lambasted because of the dress she wore.

Halle Berry winning a best actress Oscar was tremendous. Yes, you can *believe* this is possible, but until somebody does it, until you see it, there's a wall of social bullshit and boxes around these achievements.

Once you can see it, once you go, "Shit, a black woman *can* be one of the most politically powerful people in the world," I think it opens up paths for people growing up, it shows them windows.

It's really frickin' wierd, being at these bazillion dollar meetings full of old white men. I mean, yea, you get used to it, but there's a surge of hope when the National Program Delivery person walks it, and it's a woman. It's like you get this little surge of hope: "I'm not biologically destined to spend my life taking the meeting minutes."

I think people in these positions are important.

Yea, I would have preferred a different choice. I think she's pretty evil. But I think the fact that she's there (now that there's nothing we can do about it) is important on another level. 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

It's hard to argue with you when you're so freakin' reasonable! You make sense. I think I'm getting caught up in the personal part of it all--I don't want to give her credit because she's evil. But still, she DID make it in that world, and she's probably (hopefully) a harbinger of more and more women (as well as women of color) coming to power in the US. And that's a good thing. Unless, of course, the only women who can come to power in this way are jerks like her. Heh.

It's hard for me in general to separate the various aspects of a person--especially 'evil' people. You have a much more reasonable attitude, I think--despite everything I hate about her, she is managing to make the theoretical 'possible' into the 'actual,' and that will help others get to where she is.

Thanks for helping my thinking about this. 

Posted by jp

Anonymous said...

Oh, BELIEVE me, JP, I'm struggling with this just as much. I was fuming about it. I had to step back and reasses this on a "long-range historical timeline" and try and tease out the meaning of it.

Shit, if it had to be Rumsfeld (or some other Old White Guy) or Rice, I'd rather it be the one whose position might mean something to somebody out there who never gets to see people who look like they do in a position of power.

Again: hopefully it'll help that kid grow up and achieve that, help her focus during the bad times... and we'll hope that along the way, she'll figure out that you don't have to be Evil to get there.

Hey, I can hope... 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Of course it would like help if she were at all competent in her last job, or that she was not just a shill for the BushCo Imperialist ambitions. It would be perferable in the best of all possible worlds to finish the 2 wars we are currently engaged in before embarking on a half a dozen more. It is of course larely irrelevant that she was once a semi successful academic administrator and an accomplished pianist. Her Ph.D. was very probably plagiarized, and indeed poorly written about a subject area (Russia & Eastern Europe) that's just not been much of an issue for either her or BushCo. She will be condoning a more widespread application of a new torture regime which will codify our destruction of the Geneva Conventions for use in the 21st Century, so she'll already be 'notable'.

Yep, she looks better in a suit that the last one, but as they say, it's the content of your character that matters. Kissinger of course would be proud. We are no longer outsourcing torture, we're getting our guys to do it. Condi will be coming up with the rationale and PR techniques for spreading all that fear, loathing and hatred worldwide. Sorry but in any other line of work you'd be thrown out on your pretty ass given all the massive f*ckups now evident in our foreign policy. We've literally gotten Nothing right on the international scene since they showed up. To me competence counts for something. Loyalty to the Don or the King is one thing, but in a putative 'meritocracy', merit has to count for something, right? She's reached her level of incompetence. So has Rummy AND Bush for that matter. She's little credit to anyone for much of anything to my mind, and hasn't been since she left Stanford.  

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

In my mind, part of what Kameron brought up is that part of Rice's character is that she's a black woman who managed to work her way into a white man's job. That part of her character is to be commended. Doesn't mean one has to think she is of 'good character' in general. 

Posted by jp jeffrey