From the BBC's web site today

'Liberal black Congressman Charles Rangel said of him: "Colin Powell is a military guy, and he doesn't care who he works for, he just salutes." '
Odd that it omits to tell us Rangel's religion or leg measurement, don't you think? Or is 'Liberal black' a recognised political grouping?
Interestingly, the final paragraph of the article refers to Powell as "the first African-American secretary of state."

Mark Barratt
Budapest
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From the BBC's web site today (): 'Liberal black Congressman Charles Rangel said of him: "Colin Powell is a military ... omits to tell us Rangel's religion or leg measurement, don't you think? Or is 'Liberal black' a recognised political grouping?

Well, it is not a surprise, by any means, to see him classified as a "liberal" in a newspaper report.
Note that "Liberal" was the first word in the sentence about Rangel; had it been otherwise, I rather doubt it would have been capitalized at least, in a US newspaper. If we have a "Liberal Party," it's not one of the biggies; in any case, Rangel is a member of the Democratic Party (and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus).
Interestingly, the final paragraph of the article refers to Powell as "the first African-American secretary of state."

As opposed to "black"? It may be that Rangel prefers "black" and Powell, African-American. But the terms are generally, though not always, interchangeable. It *is* odd to see both terms used within the article, I think.
Three comments:
(1) "secretary of state" would have been "Secretary of State" in a US newspaper report; I rather suspect it should have been capitalized in the BBC News, as well, but I'm not sure.
(2) Congressman Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War, was the person who introduced a bill to reinstate the military draft almost two years ago. During the just-finished election campaign, rumors of President Bush reinstating the draft made the rounds. He denied the rumors. The bill itself was recently voted on and was overwhelmingly defeated. (3) The picture in the BBC News of Secretary Powell and President Bush is a good example of "body language," I think. The person who wrote the caption seemed to agree.
Maria Conlon
From the BBC's web site today (): 'Liberal black Congressman ... you think? Or is 'Liberal black' a recognised political grouping?

Well, it is not a surprise, by any means, to see him classified as a "liberal" in a newspaper report.

Well yes, but remember that 'liberal' is not generally considered to be a derogatory label in the UK. There, it's not very far removed in meaning from the word 'tolerant'.
Note that "Liberal" was the first word in the sentence about Rangel; had it been otherwise, I rather doubt it would have been capitalized at least, in a US newspaper.

You're right - I shouldn't have capitalized it in my comment.
If we have a "Liberal Party," it's not one of the biggies; in any case, Rangel is a member of the Democratic Party (and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus).

Ah. Then it seems that my objection may have been misplaced, and that Congressman Rangel himself might well approve the label - irrelevant though it seems to me.
Interestingly, the final paragraph of the article refers >> toPowell as "the first African-American secretary of state."

As opposed to "black"? It may be that Rangel prefers "black" and Powell, African-American. But the terms are generally, though not always, interchangeable. It is odd to see both terms used within the article, I think.

Yes, but I felt that the second reference was justified - and would have preferred it to have used "black". Powell's being the first black person in a position of such influence *is* significant in that it signals a welcome advance in race relations in the world's most influential nation.
I suppose it's paradoxical that I would probably find a reference to "The seventh black (or African-American) SoS" questionable, but that's us confused liberals for you.

Mark Barratt
Budapest
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From the BBC's web site today (): 'Liberal black Congressman Charles Rangel said of him: "Colin Powell is a military ... omits to tell us Rangel's religion or leg measurement, don't you think? Or is 'Liberal black' a recognised political grouping?

It used to be standard practice to identify black people as such whenever they appeared in the news (a white person's race was never mentioned). Today most news organizations have a policy of not mentioning it unless it's relevant to the story, but they also seem to have decided that the rule doesn't apply to famous people, especially in government. Mentioning Rangel's race is probably justifiable here because 1) most people in the UK have never heard of him, and 2) he's commenting on the career of another prominent African-American, even though that doesn't really come into the quote they used.
Interestingly, the final paragraph of the article refers to Powell as "the first African-American secretary of state."

Since "African-American" is a problematic term, it never really caught on as an automatic replacement for "black"; either term would be acceptable. It's odd to see them both in the same article, though.
Well, it is not a surprise, by any means, to see him classified as a "liberal" in a newspaper report.

Well yes, but remember that 'liberal' is not generally considered to be a derogatory label in the UK. There, it's not very far removed in meaning from the word 'tolerant'.

It's not necessarily derogatory here, either. (Never mind the rhetoric in the recent election campaigns.) "Liberal" has many meanings, and many of us in the US use the word accordingly most of the time.

My guess is that he approves of the label (whether you're referring to "black" or to "liberal" or to both).
Powell as "the first African-American secretary of

As opposed to "black"? It may be that Rangel prefers ... to see both terms used within the article, I think.

Yes, but I felt that the second reference was justified - and would have preferred it to have used "black". ... such influence *is* significant in that it signals a welcome advance in race relations in the world's most influential nation.

"African-American" (as an adjective; as a noun, there's no hyphen) has been predominant in the Detroit area for quite some time. I am very much accustomed to it, but still see "black" used also. In either case, your point is absolutely right, IMO, as to the significance of the reference.
I suppose it's paradoxical that I would probably find a reference to "The seventh black (or African-American) SoS" questionable, but that's us confused liberals for you.

Liberals are confused? Gee... a few people here might disagree.

Maria Conlon
It used to be standard practice to identify black people as such whenever they appeared in the news (a white ... the story, but they also seem to have decided that the rule doesn't apply to famous people, especially in government.

There are also some other curious exceptions where it's used despite being irrelevant, such as the numerous news organizations that referred to "white separatist Randy Weaver" almost as if they were stating his occupation.
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It used to be standard practice to identify black people ... the rule doesn't apply to famous people, especially in government.

There are also some other curious exceptions where it's used despitebeing irrelevant, such as the numerous news organizations that referred to "white separatist Randy Weaver" almost as if they were stating hisoccupation.

But in this case "white" modifies "separatist," rather than "Randy Weaver." That is, he's an exponent of an ideology called "white separatism"; he's not just a separatist who happens to be white.
I suppose it's paradoxical that I would probably find a reference to "The seventh black (or African-American) SoS" questionable, but that's us confused liberals for you.

And, as if President Bush and the BBC were testing my tolerance, today we have:
"Condoleezza Rice is the first black female to be appointed as US secretary of state."
(from )

If I'm right, the next one has to be black, female and disabled.

Rice looks to be an interesting character, from the Beeb's short profile. I may do some more reading on her. Presidential material, do we think? I'm thinking about Richard's prediction that the first female president will be a Republican, which I tend to agree with.
Why couldn't she buy a hamburger in Woolworth's?

Mark Barratt
Budapest
Mark Barratt filted:
And, as if President Bush and the BBC were testing my tolerance, today we have: "Condoleezza Rice is the first ... I'm thinking about Richard's prediction that the first female president will be a Republican, which I tend to agree with.

She's got the most important trait that American voters demand in a leader; she's charming...the television camera loves this woman..

Things that may work against her: she's about as far to the right as they come, seems happiest when she brings glory on other people, and she's unmarried...we demand our Presidents be in a phrase borrowed from the movie Rustler's Rhapsody "vigorously heterosexual"..r
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