Commentator Slammed for Criticizing Condi Rice as Role Model

Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:28 AM

By John A. Oswald

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Commentator Bob Beckel is taking some heat after suggesting former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is not a good role model for black children.

Beckel and his fellow Fox News colleagues on "The Five" were debating whether Attorney General Eric Holder's commencement speech Saturday at Morgan State University was too dour when the longtime Democratic strategist made his comments, reports The Washington Times.

Fox's Andrea Tantaros was comparing Holder's "much more grim" assessment of race relations in America to the "powerful moment" in a speech by Rice at the 2012 Republican National Convention in which she noted her own story growing up in the segregated South.

Story continues below the video.

"We have made a long and determined road away from Jim Crow," Beckel said in criticizing the selection of Rice's RNC speech to compare to Holder's.

"Let’s also keep in mind: She grew up in a middle-class black family, and we’re talking here about people in the inner city," Beckel said. "I’m not sure Condoleezza Rice is the person that I would necessarily turn to as a symbol for these people who live in the ghetto."

Rice, in her 2012 speech, said: "A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham. The segregated city of the South, where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have her absolutely convinced that even if she cannot have a hamburger at Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state."

While Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's name was not mentioned, Holder appeared to be referring to the resounding denunciation that followed after tapes of Sterling's racist comments went public.

Overt racism is now not tolerated, he said. But policies persist that put children of color at risk, including those that give them the worst schools and economic and social environments that easily foster cycles of poverty and crime.

"This is the work that truly matters — because policies that disenfranchise specific groups are more pernicious than hateful rants," Holder told graduates at the historically black college.

Beckel has since faced criticism of his comments about Rice, primarily on conservative blogs. The Daily Smog called it "Progressive Racism."

Colleagues also pushed back.

"I think it’s really unfair for you, Bob, to codify the black community," Tantaros said. "If you start in a middle-class family, your message isn’t worth it — 'Sorry, Condoleezza Rice, you didn’t have to overcome anything' — that’s not fair."

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