Tuesday, September 23, 2008
NAACP has lost its way
The NAACP was once a proud organization that fought for justice that helped people in their daily lives. The organization’s fights against vast discrimination and oppression that existed in the United States just a generation or so ago gave the organization deserved goodwill.
Now, that goodwill is being squandered over a piece of cloth. The NAACP recently announced it will renew its efforts to punish South Carolina economically over the presence of the Confederate Battle Flag as the Confederate Soldier Memorial on the South Carolina State House grounds. In its remarks about the presence of the flag, the NAACP compares Confederate war dead to Islamic terrorists.
Indeed, Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP had this to say about South Carolina flying the Confederate Battle flag at the memorial: “We wouldn’t allow al-Qaida to fly their flag…”
Think about what Rev. Barber is actually saying with his remarks. Rev. Barber is comparing the sacrifices of South Carolina men, some who were African American, in defense of their state, as the acts of terrorists. Never mind those men had the notion at the time that their home was being invaded or that they were drafted. Never mind that the vast majority of those who died in defense of South Carolina owned no slaves and frankly held resentment against the wealthy slave owners. Rev. Barber’s remarks show a marked ignorance of history.
That marked ignorance of history does not stop with Civil War history. The NAACP is either ignorant or does not care about what happened in South Carolina in 2000. A group of leaders, bipartisan and biracial, worked out a compromise that removed the naval jack of the confederacy that flew over the South Carolina State House to the Confederate Memorial. The new flag flown was the actual battle flag, not the naval jack that racists hijacked from history to spew their agenda. That compromise also created a beautiful memorial on South Carolina State House grounds to the contributions of African-Americans. There is no other state that honors the divisions of its painful past so and allows people to respect one another and heal.
Perhaps that mutual respect and that chance at healing is what bothers the modern day NAACP. The NAACP of today is not the justice and healing seeking operation of Thurgood Marshall. Today, it is a well funded political organization that pays out big money to its leaders and is fighting to keep raking in the money and have influence in an America in which race is diminishing as an issue.
That fight for relevance in today’s America brings up perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the NAACP’s “economic boycott,” of South Carolina. Suppose the NAACP is successful in getting people not spend tourism dollars or, in its latest moves, movie production dollars, in South Carolina. Such a successful boycott would hurt African Americans in South Carolina more than anyone else. Think on it. Most of the tourism and service related jobs in the eastern part of South Carolina that would primarily be affected are staffed by African Americans. If the NAACP successfully cut off tourism and movie production revenue streams to South Carolina, then thousands of African Americans in South Carolina suddenly would have a hard time putting food on the table. Is it social and economic justice for one to make the very people one claims to stand up for pay for a petty political stunt that is a reach at fundraising and renewed relevance?
The modern day NAACP has a warped sense of values. Like other major political organizations of our time, its elite seem eager to sacrifice the livelihoods of those it claims to protect for financial and political gain. They appear not to give a damn about the single mom who boards a bus in Jasper County to go work at a Hilton Head tourist site. The NAACP elite do not care about how so many people came together to work out the compromise of 2000. They do not care about that single mom getting on that bus at 6AM. They seem to only care about themselves and find a way to diminish sincere efforts by sincere leaders and sacrifice the daily livelihoods of those they claim to champion in order make a headline or two and some money.
Before some of you produce the cliched reactionary claim of racism to this post, remember that I worked to remove the flag from the South Carolina State House dome, and that this blog took on the League of the South and the Aryan nation. However, the truth is what it is, and the truth is the NAACP has lost its way. Forgive me if I worry more about that single mom getting on that bus and depending on that tourism based job than I do about being politically correct in the eyes of some well compensated political elite holding onto relevance.