by Sophia A. Nelson, Esq.
Political columnist for The Daily Beast
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it was the summer of 2008 again, when the angry white men of Fox News and conservative talk radio were attacking an accomplished, smart, well-educated black woman for not being “patriotic” and “loving her country.”
Only this time, the punching bag is not First Lady Michelle Obama. It’s U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. For weeks now, we have watched GOP senators from John McCain to Lindsey Graham to Susan Collins go after Rice like she is some kind of rabid apologist for Muslim extremists, or on the side of those who intentionally set out to kill our Libyan ambassador and several U.S. military and State Department personnel in Benghazi.
Ambassador Rice is a well-credentialed, experienced, senior-ranking diplomat in the United States government. Last month, she was called upon by her commander in chief and her Secretary of state to go on the Sunday talk shows and give the best explanation of the intelligence that had been reported to the White House up to that point about the “possible causes” of the uprising in Benghazi, which resulted in the murder of four United States citizens. She did her duty within the limitations of what she knew and the intel that was provided by our CIA.
So the question is: why has the GOP’s bloodlust been aimed so tightly at Susan Rice and her comments of that day? Why must she be labeled a liar, or a conspirator, the one to answer for the terrible tragedy in Libya? Why not go after the proper person in the chain of command, Hilary Rodham Clinton? (In my opinion, I have always been a bit annoyed at the fact that Clinton did not herself make the rounds on the Sunday shows that weekend—or better yet, why not Vice President Joe Biden?) Why all this anger and investigation now into Ambassador Rice’s every decision, dating back to 1998 when she was assistant secretary of State under President Bill Clinton? Did I miss a memo? Has she been nominated for a new job yet in the second Obama administration?
Sorry folks, it just doesn’t add up.
I have a plausible explanation for all of this rancor, but many of you won’t like it. The fact is that stereotypes die hard, particularly when they are about accomplished black women in America. Ambassador Rice, like Michelle Obama and millions of other well-educated professional black women, catch hell everyday in corporate America, whether they be in industry, government, entertainment, journalism, or academia. It is a fact borne out in countless studies, surveys, books (mine included), and reports: black women are the hardest demographic to retain and advance, and the most likely to file EEOC complaints or allege other problems of race and gender bias.
To read this article in its entirety visit The Daily Beast.
Sophia Nelson is a political columnist and an award winning author of the book Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama, which will be re-released Nov. 8 in Trade Paperback.