The Evolution of Colin Powell

West Indians can these very nationalistic. If you are from the Caribbean you probably know the celebrities and important historical figures of your country.  That kind of pride trickles down through generations. For those of West Indian heritage born in America, hold a special place in their imagination for their country of origin.  First generation Jamaican immigrant, Colin Powell is close to our hearts even though he belongs to a party that has not welcomed African Americans into their fold. We are proud of his achievements and his straight talking grace. His parents were part of the early an early immigrant wave from the Caribbean that was curtailed by a racist immigration laws.   He was an average student, but he was able to attend college and excel in the military. He was lucky enough to be a New Yorker, if his parents had migrated to Florida, like Sidney Poitier, he wouldn’t have been allowed to attend a public college. If the military had not desegregated during after WWII, he would not have had a chance to be selected for leadership training. He was a product of the earliest form of affirmative and has always been a proponent of diversification.

To native born African Americans, Colin Powell is in the same category as “Uncle” Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice.  A black person who is availed themselves of all the opportunities made by their civil rights ancestors, yet fails to give back to those who are less fortunate. This type of individualism is a hallmark of American values, but is seems selfish to most blacks that value community uplift in addition to individual success.  As an immigrant who is now a citizen of this country, I know that black people are extremely complex and diverse. It is not simply national pride that has always made me see Colin Powell as different from other black Republicans. Until now.

With his recent endorsement of candidate Barack Obama’s presidential bid Colin Powell has stirred the ire of several race-baiting Republicans including Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney. Although indicated that he voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the past, Rush Limbaugh loudly exclaimed that he was only voting for Barack Obama because he was black.  Both he and Dick Cheney indicated that Powell was not Republican anymore.  Apparently you must be in lock step with the Republican Southern Strategy which was used to attract to white voters remain a member of a member of the GOP.  In a recent news interview Powell stated that view was still a Republican and that a GOP has a problem with racism.  He recounted his own history and stated that he felt that the quest for diversity and tolerance is an ideal his party should undertake.  He confirmed what millions of other African Americans already know, the GOP is perfectly happy to stay vanilla with very few chocolate and butterscotch chips .  The Republican party will never gain national prominence unless they put more effort in changing their flavor now that one of their most revered icons (besides Regan) is calling them to change.


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