In 2004, then-U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama made his national political debut by delivering an eloquent and moving keynote address at the Democratic National Convention about the role of race and a more perfect union in this nation that would aspire to provide educational and economic opportunities for all. Four years later, he became the first African-American to be elected president of the United States. But, according to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the second African-American to serve in that role, despite how far the nation has progressed, it still has a long way to go.
"We have a Black president. We've had two Black secretaries of state. We have Black CEOs. Obviously African-Americans are pushing way into territories that, probably, my grandparents would never have thought possible," Rice said on CBS’s Face the Nation, but added that race will always be a factor in American life.
"It is a birth defect with which this country was born out of slavery; we're never really going to be race blind," she said.
In fact, Rice fears that educational achievement gaps and gaps in the quality of education received by minorities and whites could erase some of the gains African-Americans and others have made.
"I think it goes back to whether or not race and class — that is, race and poverty — is not becoming even more of a constraint," Rice said. "Because with the failing public schools, I worry that the way that my grandparents got out of poverty, the way that my parents became educated, is just not going to be there for a whole bunch of kids. And I do think that race and poverty is still a terrible witch's brew."
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