Angela Davis has been in London recently. Her insightful analysis of racism and its relationship to gender and class is brilliant. She comes from Birmingham, Alabama, as does Condoleeza Rice and here’s a bit on how they are different …!
Condoleeza Rice comments that she did well in life because her parents were strategic, preparing her, amouring her so she could ‘confront white society on its own terms’. Angela Davis argues,
“It was never about individuals. I never grew up thinking that the measure of my success was as an individual. There was always a sense that the measure of your success was to a large part one that was linked to community advancement. Most people weren’t going to make it as far as she (Rice) or I did. She (Rice) never would have had the opportunities she had without the benefit of the struggles that took place in the 60s. If you can, with conscience, talk about a post-civil rights era, we have to talk about the limitations of civil rights. It produced individual successes but it never produced group successes.
The advancement of the likes of Powell and Rice within the Bush administration exemplified a flawed understanding of what it means to tackle modern-day racism. The republican administration is the most diverse in history. But when the inclusion of black people into the machine of oppression is designed to make that machine workmore efficiently, then it does not represent progress at all. We have more black people in more visible and powerful positions. But then we have far more black people who have been pushed down to the bottom of the ladder. When people call for diversity and link it to justice and equality, that’s fine. But there’s a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference, the change that brings about no change.”