Black Clergy Denounces 'Racial Motivated Attacks' on Condoleezza Rice

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05pm EDT

(1st Add: Includes comments from Project 21.)

( - A coalition of black clergy Friday denounced recent "racial motivated attacks" by three editorial cartoonists, the Washington Post and the New York Times upon National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who was recently nominated by President Bush to serve as the next secretary of state.

The Faith Based Leadership Council, a group of over 200 black clergy and members of the faith-based community, said cartoonists Jeff Danzinger, Pat Oliphant, Garry Trudeau, the Post and the Times have used racial stereotypes "to conduct their personal character assassination of" Rice's integrity because she chose to serve the Bush administration.

"These cartoonists believe that the liberal views of the Washington Post and New York Times somehow provides cover for them to engage in racist attacks upon Dr. Rice and other minority in the Bush Administration," said Oliver N.E. Kellman, Jr., executive director of the FBLC, in a statement.

"Mr. Danzinger's, Mr. Oliphant's and Mr. Trudeau's racist depictions of Dr. Rice are of the most twisted Ku Klux Klan/Skinhead Mindset. I am astonished that the NAACP, Rainbow-Push and other traditional civil rights groups did not denounce this type of trash from the very first day it was reported," Kellman said in a statement.

"Instead, they are silent witnesses to this racially motivated character assassination because of Dr. Rice's politics," he added. "The FBIC believes in the advancement of all Americans, no matter their political affiliation, gender or ethnic background.

"Dr. Rice has been singled out for persecution by a handful of bigoted liberals who have characterized her as a steppin and fetchin sambo," said Kellman, adding that he believes "they feel threatened and disturbed by the fact that Dr. Rice will soon be the most powerful Black woman in the United States as Secretary of State."

The FBLC is calling on the cartoonists and both papers to publicly apologize to Rice. "White liberals in the media have come to feel that they can openly attack any Black conservative that chooses to serve the nation," the group said.

The group is also urging the Justice Department to conduct a full investigation into these incidents and whether the civil rights of Rice and outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell were violated "by the promotion of racial bigotry towards persons of color serving their nation."

Meanwhile, John "Sly" Sylvester, a white radio talk show host in Madison, Wisc., Friday defended comments he made calling Rice an "Aunt Jemima," saying he did it to indicate her subservient role in the Bush administration.

Sylvester said the Bush administration is using Rice for the "illusion of inclusion," and he expressed the opinion that Rice isn't up to the job of secretary of state, wire reports said.

According to the Associated Press, Sylvester said he will "apologize to Aunt Jemima" on Friday's show by giving away pancake mix and syrup. The Madison branch of the NAACP had no immediate comment on Sylvester's remarks.

"To hear the leftists tell it, conservative blacks have become the new 'trash class' of American society," said Michael King, a member of Project 21, a black conservative group. King condemned the cartoonists' depictions of Rice as well as Sylvester's comments about Rice and Powell.

"And with the continued cricket-filled silence from the professional civil rights crowd, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons give tacit permission and acceptance of such language and tactics," King said.

"The recent racist attacks and mimicry of Condoleezza Rice are infuriating and despicable. Even more insufferable is the deafening silence of the elite liberals," Project 21 member Mychal Massie.

"I believe their silence is proof positive of their personal racist attitudes. Obviously condemning racist attacks against a man and woman who are conservative and black is not a worthy undertaking for them," Massie said.

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