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by Roy Douglas Malonson


Condi and Oprah aren’t
good role models for Black motherhood

In keeping with African-AmericanNews&Issues’ self imposed milestone policy, my research for suitable subjects (to analyze for our Mother’s Day 2006 edition), it suddenly occurred to me that two of Black mother’s most admired African American women fail to make the cut when it comes to being role models for motherhood. I speak of Condoleezza Rice, the first U.S. Secretary of State, who “just happens to be Black” and Oprah Winfrey, the only Black billionaire recognized by Forbes’ magazine. Hold it! I know better than to berate outstanding Black women, because some of the frenetic responses to my April 21 - 27, 2004 Analysis (Did “Mack Daddy” Bush pimp Condi?) almost corrupted my computer’s with a protest virus. Levity notwithstanding, perish the thought that I’m putting Condi and/or Oprah down, because that’s the furthest thing from my mind. I just thought it would be an excellent opportunity to explain the difference between African American role models and heroes that is so difficult for our people to understand. Without a doubt Oprah Winfrey qualifies as a Black “Shero,” insofar as it was downright heroic for a Black girl from Kosciusko, Mississippi to become the first African American billionaire, who “just happen to be born Black.” Surely, you must give her props when you read the Ebony’s March 2001 feature, “The 10 Most Powerful Women” that reveals “The Oprah Winfrey Show reaches 22 million viewers every week.
“But there is so much more to this talk-show host than just talk. She also walks the walk. A philanthropist with a personal fortune estimated at $800 million, she has donated millions through her Angel Network, through personal donations and through her book club, which has propelled 38 books to the top of the best-sellers list. She is an actress, television producer and educator who is also the CEO of the Harpo Entertainment Group, the parent company of her multimedia ventures which includes Harpo Productions, Inc., Harpo Films, Oprah Winfrey Presents and Harpo Studios. Last year she started two new ventures as the co-founder of Oxygen Media, a cable and Internet company and O, The Oprah Magazine, and she is arguably the most powerful woman in America.” And I was equally impressed with Condoleezza Rice’s story.
Amd you certainly get no argument from me, if you say that Black America should be even more proud of her now that she’s become U. S. Secretary of State, than we were when the article revealed: “Rice, born in Birmingham, Ala., a bastion of the segregated south, she is now the first woman in American history to hold the job of national security advisor to the president. She leads the White House's largest policy staff. An expert in Russian history and fluent in the language, she is no stranger to power. In the early 1990s she served as the National Security Council's senior director of Soviet and East European affairs for the elder President Bush. In 1993, she became the youngest, the first female and the first Black provost at Stanford University. She is the co-author of two books and is a sports and fitness enthusiast.
“Rice was able to read music before she could read words. At age 15, she enrolled in the University of Denver to prepare for a career as a concert pianist. But, she abandoned her musical aspirations when she realized she would never be good enough, she says. She was a Democrat until 1982, when she became a Republican. Although her nickname is Condi (her first name is derived from an Italian musical term that means to perform ‘with sweetness’), she is tough. She says her parents convinced her that despite the segregated South, she could achieve.” That’s great, but when it comes to motherhood, Black America’s mothers definitely should look in another direction for a role model. Why? I know this is the 21st century, but I have four sisters, so I’m kinda old fashion when it comes to how I would like to see women conduct themselves.
If you’re wondering where I’m coming from, since I’m no prude, or saint by a long shot, suffice it to say that, I applaud them as great women. But, I’m happy that my daughter (my grandson’s mother), didn’t choose Condi and/or Oprah, who appear to be happily married to their careers (rather than strong, Black men), as her role model for motherhood.