Condoleezza in E Flat

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Condoleezza Rice is the 66th United States Secretary of State, as well as the first black woman to serve in that capacity. She was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999, and during the administration of George H.W. Bush, Rice served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification. (1)

Condoleezza Rice recently performed a Brahms melody at a private recital for Queen Elizabeth II of England. As an observer of U.S. foreign policy, I have always  wanted so much to respect Condoleeza Rice for the value of her knowledge.  As an African-American woman, I wanted to revel in her professional accomplishments.  As a music lover, I understand her artistic passion. But as a student of history, I am mad as hell at her.

Elisabeth Windsor, or more accurately, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) Windsor,  known to the world as Queen Elizabeth II, reigning monarch of England, is the pinnacle of global social stature.  Anyone could recognize the allure of meeting and socializing with her.  In British peerage, her title is unparalleled and her royal bloodline, German though it may be, (as opposed to British) is incontrovertible.

In my opinion, when Secretary Rice performed for the Queen, she relegated herself to a second-class status un-befitting a woman of her position. When the American Colonies declared their independence from Britain in 1776, colonists ceased to be subjects of the British crown, therefore it was unseemly for Secretary Rice to serve in such a capacity.

The reigning monarch has nothing more than ceremonial command over what’s left of the British Empire, and Condoleezza Rice has more power than the entire royal family put together. So why, then would the Secretary of State deign to perform for the Queen? The royals, while colorful and interesting, are an anachronistic relic of the past. When Princess Diana began dating Dodi Al Fayed, Elizabeth is reported to have said: “She’s dating an Egyptian? We used to own them.” (2)

Was it some Eurocentric fantasy gone horribly wrong? Did Condoleezza believe that the performance would somehow persuade the Queen as to her ‘equality’? Was the performance aimed at garnering some additional status or prestige that her own position and talent hasn’t yet wrought?

I don’t want to sound harsh or mean-spirited. I have my own fascination with the British monarchy, and it’s human nature to want the acceptance and prestige of affiliation with the elite, whomever they may be. In America, however, true status should be conferred by hard work, character, merit, achievement, and education. By putting on a show for her majesty, Secretary Rice made a minor mockery of the dignity our freedom demands.

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1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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5 responses

  1. Or, perhaps Rice genuinely believes that it is an honor to play piano before the Queen, the head of state of our closest ally with a history of fighting side by side with us in at least four major wars.

  2. I know what you mean. It doesn’t make sense that CR would perform for anyone given her stature.But the fact that she was asked to perform (I’m sure she didn’t volunteer!) for the Queen reignites an explosive racial subtext that’s difficult to ignore. The Queen’s people once owned CR’s people, and back in day, people of CR’s hue were asked to perform to entertain their owners, a la “Fiddler”.

    So what, they couldn’t talk about their world travels, have tea, or tour the garden? No. CR was made to perform, subtly reinforcing the master/slave, owner/owned, i say jump/you jump dynamic that has characterized white/black relations for centuries.

    A question: If Queen E. visited the Sec. of State in the U.S.,what would she do to entertain CR?

  3. Well it just confirmed what I already knew-that she is a handkerchief head wearing tap dancing shoe shining negro -it would have been different under different circumstances I think, like two friends meeting and one playing the piano for another, nothing wrong with that, but this Wow

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