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  1. Dominique
    Dominique September 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm |

    This says what I was thinking, but more clearly :) While it’s (almost perversely) encouraging to see how civil rights gains have allowed several women to gain some power and defy the stereotype of the submissive little helper, it’s indeed dismaying to see any beneficiaries of civil rights wars actually fighting to turn the clock back… and, in the case of Palin, ensure future generations of women have less freedom than ever. It’s willful blindness on a breathtaking scale.

  2. Faith at F.N.
    Faith at F.N. September 14, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    Sarah Palin is about as much a feminist as Glenn Sacks (he would be one of the ringleaders of the MRA movement for those of you who haven’t got a clue who Glenn Sacks is).

    She deserves to be defended against sexist double standards, but that’s about it…as far as I can tell.

  3. Peter
    Peter September 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm |

    Kudos, on this post. I think it makes a lot of sense. I don’t have the life experience or background to judge what drives a handful of african-americans into the conservative republican wing of american politics. But, I never thought that “traitor to their race” narrative made much sense. Yeah, it would be great if every american, or in this case, every person of color made every effort in their public lives to promote civil rights, equality and egalitarianism. But, I never thought Condi was a total sell out. As far as I’ve read, she’s pro-choice and pro-affirmative action. Why she serves conservative republican politicians, I’ll never really understand, but your post made some good points.

  4. Fatemeh
    Fatemeh September 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm |

    Latoya, you slammed another one out of the park.

    Even though I hate a lot of your points, I hate that they exist and are true, I agree with them. Palin WAS a slamming pick for the GOP: I hate it, but it’s true. Palin and Rice ARE powerful, hardworking women. But I still hate what they’re trying to do. I hate the hypocrisy of the ther party’s politics, I hate that WOMEN are excited about Palin.

    “But that doesn’t mean you need to start sipping the “this is a victory for women” kool aid.”
    The kool aid…it’s poisoned! Hahahahaha.

  5. Todd
    Todd September 14, 2008 at 5:33 pm |


    Siding with the right tends to require a particular worldview, which in turn requires a certain culture and frankly a certain myopia. (Although to be fair, the same could be said for much of the left.) Right-leaning philosophies are perfectly reasonable assuming everybody is a rational free actor with free access to information and certain resources, and growing up with the right set of advantages (including, most importantly, the expectation that these advantages are somehow standard issue for everybody) makes this an easy assumption to make.

    That does imply that race is the weakest leg of the race/class/culture intersectionalist tangle, but that’s more a trivia point than anything else. And it does make me wonder how many of the readers here would take to a “Republican’s bargain”; render us a truly colorblind society once and for all, but in so doing assimilating all our subcultures into a milquetoast monoculture.

    Latoya and the thread in general:

    For a more depressing train of thought, many of the women in my own (anecdotal) experience who are most excited about Palin are the ones who have vague misgivings about a young black man in the oval office. Never said in those words, but it’s amusing watching them skate around the topic. Also interesting in the perverse sense is disentangling Palin in the abstract – getting a woman into the white house would have major feminist benefits – from Palin in the specific.

  6. [dave]
    [dave] September 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm |

    This is a much better breakdown of the bedgrudging, head-shaking-in-disbelief respect I have in these situations. I wonder if this kind of analysis would sit well side-by-side an evaluation of a tokenism model?

  7. whatsername
    whatsername September 14, 2008 at 7:14 pm |


    I too, strangely, have an easier time with Condi, she doesn’t scare me half so much as Palin does… But that’s just me.

  8. shah8
    shah8 September 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm |

    I do not find comparing Rice to Palin in terms of sellout-ness useful.

    Condoleeza Rice is an obnoxious quietist. Sarah Palin is a culture warrior. They are sort of opposite, even if they play for the same team, with vastly different motivations that throw doubts on comparisons of uncle-tom behavior. Not to mention that Condoleeza Rice is quite more accomplished than Sarah Palin.

    It’s a vastly better idea to compare Sarah Palin with Michelle Malkin, Clarence Thomas, or Jesse Venture, for various reasons.

  9. fool42
    fool42 September 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |

    Well written, I enjoyed this post.

    In response to #2.
    I don’t find any relevance in identifying with “strength” in either of these business-fascists
    and the goal of liberation and equality of feminism. They both ally themselves with the conservative right and their goals of occupation (sanctioned murder) for financial profit, undercutting personal freedoms, and slashing social services.

  10. fool42
    fool42 September 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm |

    I think they are both directly responsible for violence against women. Connect the dots.

  11. Renee
    Renee September 14, 2008 at 10:49 pm |

    Latoya some days you hurt my head forcing me to think. Condi is a problematic body to me, and like you I have done a lot of reading about her in a quest to understand. I usually refer to her as that woman so often that those closest to me know whom I am speaking about. As a black woman I want to support Condis achievements. I want to see her as a role model and be inspired, but I simply cannot. Condi does not stand for the same things that I do. I don’t necessarily see her as a sell out to her race or to women in general, but her politics are far from desirable in terms of uplift for marginalized bodies.

    As for Palin, in my mind is a colluding, opportunistic dupe, with little to qualify her for any esteem. I simply do not feel that it is fair to compare the two. Both have very different resumes and even diverge on some major issues. I defend Palin against sexist attacks because no woman should be subject to that. She is not now or ever will be a feminist. Feminism encourages autonomy for women and almost everything Palin supports is about control. She has made it clear where she stands and we should take her at her word. Voting for Palin is not supporting women, it is the fast track to the dark ages.

  12. debbie
    debbie September 14, 2008 at 11:03 pm |

    I don’t have much to add, but I saw Angela Davis speak in February, and she talked about Condoleeza Rice. They are roughly contemporaries, both living in Birmingham at the same time. They knew some of the same people, but not each other. The juxtaposition was interesting – how did these women grow up in the same place and go in such different directions? What is it about Angela Davis that leads her to fight for social and economic justice – what Renee called uplifting of marginalized people, and Condoleeza Rice as part of the Bush administration, complicit in the deaths of thousands of civilians in Iraq?

  13. peter
    peter September 14, 2008 at 11:09 pm |

    Yeah, I give high fives to condi for being accomplished, smart, and for being enlightened on affirmative action and choice.

    But, I can’t forgive her for what I consider to be her direct involvement and promotion of war crimes and crimes against the constitution. I pretty much consider her, Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz and that whole crowd to be war criminals.

    Props for being pro-affirmative action. That doesn’t excuse a million dead people in Iraq.

  14. denelian
    denelian September 15, 2008 at 1:56 am |

    it drives me nuts when people call Palin a feminist! she’s so incredibly anti-woman, it makes my teeth hurt.

    but, the same as when i had friends calling Ms. Clinton a bitch, i yell at them for calling Ms. Palin a bitch. personal attacks are BENEATH US, damnit!

  15. Looking at Sarah, Somehow Seeing Condi at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    […] by Latoya Peterson, originally published at Feministe […]

  16. White Trash Academic
    White Trash Academic September 15, 2008 at 7:44 am |

    One of my colleagues sent me a joke that I think highlights a major difference between Palin and Rice.

    It was a conversation between a farmer and a doctor and the farmer called Palin a post turtle. The doctor was confused and the farmer explained that on occasion you drive by a post on the side of the road and there is a turtle on the post. You are then confused because a) you do not know how the turtle got up there b) it obviously did not get up there by itself and c) it has no idea what to do now that it is up there.

    Also, I fail at punch lines so I am sure in the e-mail it was funnier….

  17. feministgal
    feministgal September 15, 2008 at 10:05 am |

    This is a great great post. I too really enjoy watching Condi, and although i don’t agree with her politics, am proud of what she’s accomplished. When McCain chose Palin my automatic response was, “if he was so bent on selecting a woman he should have chosen Rice!” But then i realized, Condi would probably not want that job, she’s so much better than that…

  18. shah8
    shah8 September 15, 2008 at 10:12 am |

    Of course the following opinion is from a guy, and material in this case.

    I do not favor using sexism to attack other women. However, I *am* in favor of means-testing proactive defenses against sexism. Of course, that should be obvious, since I was pretty full-throated in such a stance with Hilary Clinton.

    Anyways, as far as sexist attacks go, I am not in favor, however, I am most certain a Machiavellian (in the sense that means and ends have [necessary and sufficient] in between) when it comes to more extreme situations. It is becoming incredibly obvious that Sarah Palin is a canidacy that is truly beyond the pale. I just got done reading that she was one of those kooky abortion protesters at the big orange, and Pandagon just told me that she was full-throated in her attitude that Alaska government shouldn’t hire black people.

    If you wanna hedge for Lester Maddox in drag (which I’m not kidding–she does have many similarities to Lester Maddox besides the race thing), feel free, but I’m of the opinion that a very wide suit of options should be considered in bringing her down. Sexist attacks are bad in the long run, but damn…

  19. Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » Blogwatch

    […] Looking at Sarah, Somehow Seeing Condi. […]

  20. Joseph
    Joseph September 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm |

    Another amazing piece for Feministe Latoya. I hope we can agree to disagree about Condoleeza Rice though. Her instrumentality in constructing and carrying out what has proved to be the worst foreign policy in the history of this country trumps all other considerations for me. The fact that she kept her job after 9/11 still makes me sick to my stomach.

    But you have crystallized something for me though in thinking about the role of racial and ethnic diversity in the Bush Administration. Fact is, W has chosen several conservatives of color for extremely high-ranking positions during his tenure (Rice, Colin Powell, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo…) although this hasn’t been much commented on, maybe because the pervasive image of the neo-conservative movement is white, rich and male. However this political/religious philosophy obviously has a broader appeal.

    It seems to me that a hybrid political/evangelical Christian philosophy is what unites people as diverse as Bush and Rice and, by extension Pallin. Pallin’s popularity is based on her appeal to politically conservative Evangelical Christian voters–of both sexes. So while gender is being foregrounded in the campaign her political philosophy is incidental to it. While I agree that saying Pallin isn’t a woman is stupid and offensive, I think criticizing her for actively opposing feminist (and other progressive) values is important to opposing her campaign.

  21. DMcD
    DMcD September 15, 2008 at 5:28 pm |

    In seeing all this evolve , I’m thinking that Palin is more closely likened to “Sanjia” than, Barbie.

    A preposterous “No-talent” freak of nature that , although popular , had absolutely no business being positioned in the public eye let alone , being thought of seriously.

  22. “Looking at Sarah, Somehow Seeing Condi” by LaToya Peterson - Majority Post

    […] Voices participants, wrote this think piece on Palin & Rice. It was originally published on Feministe, but also appeared on Peterson’s blog Racialicious.   You might also enjoy… […]

  23. Okay. I’m Going to Take a Deep Breath, and . . . Palin. « Accismus

    […] Latoya at Feministe compares Palin to Rice: You can hate someone’s policies and still defend them from ad hominem arguments. I hate when people say that Condoleezza Rice is a sellout and that she isn’t black. That’s a ridiculous assertion to make. However, that does not make Condoleezza Rice a civil rights leader just because she is black and in a position of power. […]

  24. Kimba
    Kimba September 19, 2008 at 2:18 pm |

    Ok time for this feminist to chime in.

    A little background on myself. I am a Nurse Practitioner and Teach at a major University. I have a masters and I am working on my doctorate. My specialty is women’s health. I have been a nurse for 20 years and a feminist for 25 (started at age 15 when I discovered the boy at my summer job were making 10 more an hour than the girls).

    I have 4 children the youngest is 11mo and the eldest is nearing 20. She is at University studying Business Management. I AM WOMAN! I KNOW I can do anything, and most of the time much better and quicker than a man. I DON’T NEED A MAN (Obama)to fight for my rights.

    My husband comes home from his full time job and cooks dinner, cleans, and puts the kids to bed! Yes I make more than my husband, and I am looking forward to the day He can be a stay at home dad! I am the center of it all!

    Sisters, we need to get down to business.

    as I have written on other Feminist Blogs I feel the need to write here.

    As a feminist I AM NOT a one issue girl. You can read my comments on Women against Sara Palin if you would like clarification.Feminists began fighting for equal pay for equal work (which we STILL do not have) and Abortion rights. I need to set the record straight.

    Those of you who think Roe v Wade will be overturned are swallowing the Dem bull. It simply will not happen. If this election for you is simply about a prochoice candidate, you are throwing away your vote. They need your vote to win and are now scampering to get it.

    The Dem should have picked Clinton. It will be 8 years before they get another chance to pick a woman. NO MAN will support women like women will!!

    WAKE UP SISTERS there is only 1 ticket that actually had the guts to put a women on the ticket and that is the one we MUST support. THIS IS OUR SHOT.

    McCain will hand over to A WOMAN! Do you really think a MAN from Chicago really cares about equal pay and power for women? What does he pay his male staffers compared to the females (about $10,000 more a year, but McCain pays females on his staff MORE than the men!). Obama had the chance to put a women on the ticket and did not.

    The Dems PASSED OVER a more qualified women for a MAN! What does that tell you? So them dems throw us a bone by supporting abortion right. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH! WE NEED REAL POWER!

    Join with me sisters, support EVERY powerful women who is running. When we win the feminist war, we can argue about the spoils later. WE NEED THE POWER FIRST!!!

    As for the rape kits, this is a standard charge for ALL HOSPITALS to insurance companies. THIS IS WRITTEN OFF FOR THOSE WITHOUT INSURANCE! This is a non-issue and a farce.

    Not supporting Palin is the BIGGEST mistake a feminist can make!

    I was going to vote for Clinton…but the choice is clear…VOTE FOR THE WOMAN!

  25. BallotVox » Blog Archive » Palin: Feminist Role Model or Not?

    […] Peterson is a cool4pro guest blogger at Feministe and Racialicious. She refutes, by using Condi Rice as a parallel, the notion that a strong woman is necessarily an advocate for […]

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