The N.A.A.C.P. Has Racism Down To A Tea (Party)
By Raynard Jackson
Every time the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) raises its head, somehow they seem to find a new way of embarrassing themselves (and the Black community).
They are currently having their national conference in Kansas City, MO. And they have made a media splash this year; but for all the wrong reasons. The NAACP is has been dubbed by the media as the nation’s premier civil rights organization. For once, I wish someone would define “civil rights,” but that’s another column.
In recent years, the NAACP has lost its relevance, especially in regards to the younger generation like mine. Very few of my friends are members of the NAACP and most have never even considered joining.
There is no question that the NAACP has a storied past and they should be recognized for such. My readers know I have been very critical of the NAACP over the years. I would love to be able to write a glowing column about them, but dammit, they have to give me something to work with. Unfortunately, they have not given me anything to work with for today’s column.
During the planning phase of putting together a national convention, the leadership of the organization must always ask, “What is the sound bite they want the media to focus on?” Based on the media coverage from the NAACP’s convention, it is quite obvious that they never asked this question during their planning phase.
Of all the issues and problems facing the Black community, how can they waste time passing a resolution labeling the Tea Party movement as racist? And the NAACP wonders why they are considered irrelevant? In the immortal words of football great, Chad Johnson (Cincinnati Bengals), “CHILD, PLEASE!”
According to the NAACP’s website: “Today (Tuesday), NAACP delegates passed a resolution to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? They actually wasted hours and hours on this type of foolishness. I have an idea, let’s also get them to pass a resolution stating that “Hitler didn’t like Jews, Tiger Woods does not date Black Women, the sun rises in the east & sets in the west, LeBron James now plays for the Miami Heat, and HBO is spelled HBO.”
Continuing quoting from their website, “the resolution will not become official NAACP policy until approved by National Board of Directors in October.” I am not kidding you; this is actually on their website! So, how will they “implement” this policy? Will they require all employees to swear under oath that they recognize the Tea Party as racist?
Juxtapose this with what’s going on in Memphis, Tennessee. Congressman Steve Cohen is a two term member of the House running for reelection in November. Cohen is the only white person in Congress who represents a majority Black district. He is being challenged by former 18 year mayor, Willie Herenton (who is Black).
Herenton has made race the central theme of his campaign and has been using incendiary language, cloaked with a lot of code words. His campaign slogan is “Just One.” This is in reference to the fact that Tennessee has no Blacks in its Congressional delegation.
According to a report by the Associated Press (AP) last month, Herenton held up a picture and said, “This picture is totally unacceptable.” He was holding up a photo of the state’s two U.S. senators and nine representatives. He continued, “I’m truly urban. This is an urban district. It has some critical urban needs that you have to feel, feel within your belly.”
The AP article continues, on one occasion, Herenton drew a line when comparing blacks and whites, saying the facts show whites have had better opportunities to succeed than blacks. So, more diversity is needed in Congress to level the playing field, Herenton said.
If a white candidate had made similar statements, he would have been forced to end his campaign (and rightfully so). So, if the NAACP is so concerned about racist elements within an organization, then they should also pass a resolution condemning Herenton.
The NAACP has made no public denunciation of Herenton and his racist statements in his congressional race. But, yet they want Republicans and Tea Party members to denounce one of their own; even though they are not willing to live by the same moral standard.
Weak organizations take strong positions on weak issues. This is the reason no one takes the NAACP seriously anymore.
The theme for this year’s convention is: “One Nation, One Dream.” If we are to achieve this goal, then groups like the NAACP must speak out against racism whenever and wherever it happens to rear its ugly head—even if it emanates from one of our own.
The NAACP’s silence on Willie Herenton has me teed off!
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).