She is a liberal icon and was America's first female secretary of state, but not everyone at a California college is thrilled that “white feminist and repeated genocide enabler” Madeleine Albright has been lined up to give next month’s commencement address.
Soon after officials at all-female Scripps College, in Claremont, Calif., announced Albright would speak to graduates, an article in the school paper derided the Czech-born diplomat for her skin color and previous policy positions, and other students posted their concerns on social media, according to The Claremont Independent.
“Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how many [people of color] we’ve had as guest commencement speakers at Scripps?” asked one student.
" ... does anyone know how many [people of color] we’ve had as guest commencement speakers at Scripps?”
- Scripps College student
The 78-year-old Albright, who worked for the National Security Council during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and later taught international affairs at Georgetown University, was U.S. ambassador to the UN before being named secretary of state by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996.
“We proudly welcome Dr. Albright to Scripps College and eagerly anticipate a glimpse of the person ‘behind the position’ in her history-making role as America’s first female Secretary of State,” read the announcement from the school president’s office that touched off the controversy.
The article in The Student Life described Albright as a “white feminist and repeated genocide enabler” because she supported military intervention in the Balkans as secretary of state and did not do more to stop genocide in Rwanda during her time at the UN.
“With Madeline [sic] Albright being our commencement speaker (and a war criminal and a white feminist) I know some of our professors are refusing to be on stage,” one student wrote. “I was wondering if any of the students were planning a protest or perhaps some sort of show of disagreement with Albright and what she stands for?”
At least one student said she supported the choice of Albright for the May 14 event.
“Having the opportunity to listen to Madeleine Albright speak during commencement is something graduating students, and Scripps students in general, should be appreciative of,” Olivia Wu, a member of the class of 2019, told The Claremont Independent. “Seeing negative reactions about her visit just because of her race is honestly ridiculous when considering her achievements.”
The newspaper noted that Scripps students did not object when Angela Davis, a radical-turned-academic who was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list for murder and kidnapping—spoke on campus earlier this year.
Albright made news recently when she campaigned with Hillary Clinton and told an audience "there's a special place in hell" for women who don't support each other.