Sec. of State Rice: U.S. Has "Birth Defect" About Race
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national "birth defect" that denied blacks the same opportunities as whites when the country was founded.
And Rice, while declining to comment on the current presidential campaign, said it was important for Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama to give his recent speech on race "for a whole lot of reasons."
"Black Americans were a founding population," she said. "Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together -- Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That's not a very pretty reality of our founding."
As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that. That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today," she said.
On the one hand, she told the Times, race in the U.S. "continues to have effects" on public discussions and "the deepest thoughts that people hold." On the other, "enormous progress" has been made, which allowed her to become the nation's chief diplomat.
"What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn't love and have faith in them -- and that's our legacy," she said.
10:20 AM ET | 03-28-2008 | permalink