US Talk Host under fire over Rice comment

A US radio talk show host has been criticed for calling Condoleezza Rice an ‘Aunt Jemima’ and saying she isn’t competent to be the new Secretary of State.

John Sylvester, the Program Director and morning personality on WTDY-AM in Madison, Wisconsin, says he used the term to describe Rice and other blacks as having only a subservient role in the Bush administration.

Sylvester, who is white, has also referred to outgoing Secretary of State, Colin Powell, as an ‘Uncle Tom’ – a contemptuous term for a black whose behaviour toward whites is regarded as fawning or servile.

He says he was referring to remarks by singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte that the price of admittance for blacks to the Bush White House was subservience.

“They’re using her (Rice) for an illusion of inclusion”, adding that he feels her history as National Security Adviser shows a lack of competence.

The incident comes after a radio host in Milwaukee had his talk show taken off the air for all of last week after using the term, ‘wetback’ to refer to undocumented Mexican immigrants, sparking protests from Hispanics.