By Raynard Jackson
What is it about Democratic presidents and Black women that result in the women always being thrown under the bus? Black women gave President Obama 96 percent of their vote in 2012 – compared to 87 percent for Black men – but somehow Black women end up with tire marks on them.
Remember when the “first Black president,” Bill Clinton, totally dissed Lani Guinier, the first Black woman professor tenured at Harvard Law School? In April of 1993, Clinton nominated Guinier to be the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. She was accused by right-wing conservatives of being a “Quota Queen” (a play on Reagan’s incendiary “Welfare Queen” language). Right-winger Clint Bolick’s editorial opposing Guinier in the Wall Street Journal doomed her nomination. Clinton refused to defend or fight for her. Mind you, this was a woman who was in Clinton’s wedding!
Then there was Shirley Sherrod. In July 2010 she was forced to resign from her position as Georgia State Director of the Rural Development Agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of an edited video from a speech 24 years earlier to a Douglas, Ga. NAACP chapter. Right-winger, Andrew Breitbart, who drastically altered and posted the distorted video on his Web site, did it in his attempt to embarrass the Obama administration.
Sherrod – with sharp public criticism of her from NAACP President Ben Jealous – was unceremoniously forced to resign her position by the Obama administration, only to find out that Breitbart had intentionally edited her speech to make it look as though she hated White people when, in fact, she had been helpful to White farmers in Georgia. Obama called her after the fact, but by then it was too late.
Now there is Susan Rice, Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations. She was widely considered to be Obama’s first choice to be Secretary of State. I was thoroughly encouraged when Obama drew a line in the sand and came out strongly with his support for Rice during his press conference on November 14. I was heartened to see Obama finally show some spine, I cheered as he vowed to go toe-to-toe with Republicans for someone he claimed to believe in.
He said at the time: “…She gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. Ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous…”
But my excitement quickly turned into disappointment when instead of fighting, Obama accepted Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from consideration.
Where is the righteous indignation from the usual blowhards: Al Sharpton, the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Congressional Black Caucus? Where are all the women who railed against the incendiary language coming from Republican Senators Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham?
Why aren’t they assailing Obama for not standing up and fighting for Rice? I would have more respect for Obama had he nominated Rice and lost (though she would have ultimately been confirmed) rather than him running from a fight, as he always does.
Thus far, I have not heard a word from Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation; Marcia Dyson, Partner, M & M Dyson, LLC; Ingrid Saunders Jones , Chair, National Council of Negro Women; Susan L. Taylor , CEO and founder, National CARES Mentoring Movement; Susan Scanlan, Chair, National Council of Women’s Organizations and President of the Women’s Research & Education Institute; Vivia A. Fox, president, Foxy Brown Productions; Natalia A. Francisco, Founder/Executive Director, Women of Worth & Worship, LLC, E. Faye Williams, National Chair, National Congress of Black Women; Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwhich, President & CEO, Center for Community & Economic Justice; Claire Nelson, president & CEO, Institute of Caribbean Studies; Sophia A. Nelson, author; Tamika Mallory,National Executive Director, National Action Network; Julianne Malveaux, economist, columnist and lecturer; Julian B. Kiganda, President, African Diaspora for Change; Nicole Lee, President, TransAfrica Forum; Avis Jones-DeWeever, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women; or Tanya Clay House, Chair, Civil Rights Law, National Bar Association.
These are the same women that just last month signed and circulated a letter of support for Rice’s nomination and chastised Republicans for the language used towards a Black woman.
There is absolutely no doubt that Rice is imminently qualified for any job dealing with foreign affairs or national security. Rice’s withdrawal had nothing to do with Republicans and everything to do with another Black woman being deemed expendable and not worth fighting for by another Democratic president.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com.