I don't know how serious stuffin is being with respect to Condi Rice, et al. But let me just say that these sorts of arguments, whether made seriously here or not, and which I hear from time to time make me want to hurl objects at people. The notion that the only way a black person can arrive at espousing politically conservative views is through some form of brainwashing or worse, out of some craven desire to please their white masters is deeply offensive as it denies us our very autonomy. Couldn't it just be that black people sometimes find conservative arguments compelling?
Well, I have to say that I don’t understand how a black person could espouse politically conservative views. I also don’t understand how a woman could espouse politically conservative views. (Or latinos or poor people or rural people or urban people or laborers or young people or senior citizens or… well… maybe there is a lot I don’t understand) But in the case of Condi Rice, the most baffling question is how could a brilliant person espouse politically conservative views?
As far as I’m concerned, she is THE brilliant conservative mind of our generation, in the way that Williams F Buckley was THE brilliant conservative mind of the generation that came before. I followed Buckley’s work throughout my youth, fascinated, horrified, unable to look away. And I’ve felt the same way about her. How can she be as brilliant as she is, and still fall victim to such absurdities? How can she still be so trapped in a cold war mentality? How can she apply that template to every situation she faces? I don’t understand?
She is even more of an anomaly to me than Buckley ever was.
Same here, about Buckley and Rice. I could listen to William F. talk all day, as long as I didn't pay any attention to what he was saying. He was so elegant and so very full of sh!t.
As for Rice, she got under the sway of white male Soviet studies scholars early in her career and made her name as one of the only women and the only black person in the room. I have a female colleague who also did Soviet Studies back in the day. She told me that the conservative old men who ran the show did not allow anyone into the club if you didn't agree with their ideology.
If you wanted to study Russia, or any of the "Stans" you had to do Cold War. Not ethnic minorities or women's rights or religion in the USSR. Just Cold War. That is where all the academic funding was. So much for the idea that liberal hippies were running universities in the 1960-80's. Condi benefited financially and politically from those contacts and became an academic, than an oil executive, then the cabinet post. She was way smarter than George Bush and had to tutor him on world issues. I wonder how she felt about that....
The other concept is more psychological than practical. I have noticed that many of the more conservative black people are dark-skinned. Herman Cain. Clarence Thomas. Condi. Anita Hill. My late older brother. Booker T. Washington. Mary McLoud Bethune. Separate is okay as long as we can make it equal, and the money is nice.
On the other hand the "radical" blacks are often quite light-skinned. Angela Davis. Louis Farrakhan. Malcolm X. Lani Guinier. WEB Du Bois. Me. Full human rights for everyone, please. Now.
What is the dynamic here? Well, race, obviously, duh.
If you are dark, you know you are black and have nothing to prove in terms of blackness. You can afford to hang with whites and be conservative. You get racial slurs from whites, but other black people know you are black and understand the deal. You want money and power and are playing the game. You get called an Uncle Tom by some blacks, but you don't care either because money and power. (Many black people refer to someone like that as "the conservative brother" with the understanding that everyone must find their own way and he is still black, ie a brother.)
On the other hand, if you are light, you have the constant burden of proof to other blacks. You have obvious white ancestry to overcome. You have to prove that you are down and not a sell-out or a wannabe. You have to prove that you don't want to be white and are rejecting all signs of white privilege. You can't be better than other blacks. You can't take a chance on being a conservative. You will find it hard to survive the psychological pressure. You go to the other extreme of being extra politically black to make up for the almost-white features.
This is not a conscious choice and begins in early childhood. Dark and light children are treated differently from birth in black families even today. My dark brother and sister were coddled and pushed to be smart because they would face more racism in the world. My light brother and I were treated more harshly and assumed to be mental lightweights.
It is one legacy of slavery where the lighter child would have an easier life-- a light girl could be a house slave or even mistress to the master. But the dark child would always be a field slave, would have to prove her intelligence constantly, etc. It's like the less attractive child has to be smart while the pretty one can skate on appearance.
Anyway, that's my analysis. I know that blacks with more Latino and Caribbean ancestry have different racial dynamics going on, and you therefore find Caribbeans like light-skinned conservative Colin Powell who don't fit the pattern. Interested to see what other people think about this.