Condoleezza Rice grew up in a neighborhood where the Klan was firebombing houses and churches.

She rose above this racial hatred to devote her life to academic excellence and public service, ultimately being nominated as the 66th Secretary of State (search). But the racism that she battled growing up has reemerged in a new cloak. Commentators who disagree with her point of view are now using racist stereotypes to drag down Dr. Rice’s public image.

The worst example comes from Madison, Wisconsin, where a radio talk show host named John “Sly” Sylvester has repeatedly called Dr. Rice “Aunt Jemima,” and has used other racial stereotypes to refer to outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Mr. Sylvester, who is white, apparently believes that his left-wing political views exempt him from charges of racism. Sylvester’s boss, Tom Walker, general manager for Mid-West Family Broadcast Group, agrees, saying, "As long as he isn't hateful and as long as he isn't racist, I'm fine with it.” But there was a time when applying cartoon characterizations to African Americans with whom one disagrees did qualify as hateful and racist.

The NAACP (search), after taking a couple of days to respond has finally weighed in, NAACP president Kweisi Mfume says that Sylvester is "just as bad as those who hide under sheets and burn crosses." Better late than never.

And that’s the Asman Observer.

Watch David Asman on "FOX News Live" weekdays at noon ET.

David Asman joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as host of "Forbes on FOX," a weekend half-hour program that offers an informative look at the business week (Saturday from 11:00-11:30 AM/ET). Asman is also an anchor on FOX Business Network, where he co-hosts "After the Bell" (4-5 PM/ET) with anchor Melissa Francis.