I am African-American. We are a sentimental people in the main and we tend to track our own. We are aware of others of colour who cross our spaces. We look around asking: "How did she/he come to be here/there? Is his/her story extraordinary, coincidental or totally banal?"
At 80 years old, my dentist father has been a desegregator all of his adult life, both professionally and domestically. Although raised in Richmond, Virginia, he chose to rear his family up north, first in Boston, then in a Connecticut suburb of New York. When I call him to ask how things are going during the first week of the US Open, he tells me that the Williams sisters are doing fine, as is James Blake, and there are a young boy and girl playing in their first Open who won't get too far this time but are looking mighty good. Unsaid, I know the nature of the report he's going to give; unsaid, he knows what I want to hear: stories about black people coming on to traditional white fields of play and not just holding their own but kicking ass and taking names. Smiles, pride, a fist in the air.
So why the viscerally negative reaction, my gut literally roiling with distaste and disappointment, when I look at Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American female to be secretary of state of the world's one remaining superpower?
Monday, December 10, 2007
Candace Allen, in the Guardian: