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December 02, 2004

NAACP: Do or Die

Following up on the NAACP, Booker Rising takes issue with my position:

The moderate-conservative Republican argues that Kweisi Mfume, the outgoing head of the NAACP, didn't do the job that might save the NAACP from obsolescence. He argues that to remain relevant, the NAACP must become a multicultural organization: "That the NAACP is black and not Asian and Latino is a problem. It is a problem that the NAACP must resolve or face increased marginalization. Its byline is that it is the oldest Civil Rights organization. That's like saying the Communist Party is the oldest party in Russia. That means it's more about the past than the present. Problem."

We vociferously disagree. After all, no one is calling for the National Council of La Raza to include (non-Hispanic) blacks. And this strategy erroneously assumes that the interests of blacks, Latinos, and Asians are similar. How does one explain illegal immigration? It's in Latinos' interest for there to be lax enforcement. Strict border enforcement is in black folks' interest, as we bear the brunt of illegal immigration's effects. However, we agree that the NAACP must focus its priorities on today's pressing issues - not those of the 1960s.

There is almost no significant civil rights issue on which MALDEF, Asian groups and the NAACP disagree. This was a point I tried to drive home inthe wake of the LA Riots. The media was making the country believe that it was blacks against all asians, when the problem was specific to certain korean merchants. Blacks and Japanese, especially in Crenshaw, never had beef. Nor did blacks and Chinese or Vietnamese. But the very divisiveness that puff journalists were able to highlight could have been squashed by an NAACP under somebody other than Chavis. I thought that somebody was Mfume.

Now today MALDEF, La Raza, and all the rest are doing the same thing they were doing 20 years ago with no greater integration with the NAACP as before. That's a political fact. But on Civil Rights issues like California's prop 187, they were all on the same side against it. Meanwhile no real multicultural coalition organizations have arisen, as each group has taken their political and social capital and run their own way. Fine. but.

Civil Rights is Civil Rights. I don't think there is much work to be done. For American citizens the bar is the same, and it's reasonable to say that the Congressional Black Caucus has done all that needs to be done with regards to providing leadership, which is to say not a whole lot. I don't see what little meat on the bones is worth splitting amongst those few organizations if their concern is truly Civil Rights. Which illustrates my point, it's not. They are ethnic poltical organzations. To the extent that is true, I think it is a failure of the legacy of the NAACP, and if the IRS thinks so too, good.

So make it one civil rights organzation for everyone, or drop the pretense and be the Black Left Coalition.

Posted by mbowen at December 2, 2004 02:40 PM

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I think what you are asking is for the NAACP to become the new Rainbow/PUSH coalition.

Posted by: EG at December 2, 2004 05:06 PM

Out of curiosity, can poor white trash join?

They do make up a majority of the nation's poor and illiterate you know.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at December 3, 2004 03:53 AM

I'm stunned the Booker Risers etal, would be so ignorant as to suggest Mexicans are a threat to black folks. Stunning and outrageous, Mexicans are indentured servants and modern day slaves, as were my parents. Conservatives? what year, time period are they conserving. Racism is still the number one fact why the Brothers and Sisters from the hood who raised me still get cut out of promotions and basic business structures. why? Because they have dark skin and afro's, I can't believe the ignorance the Riser folks perpetuate!!!! They should think outside their fake keyboard world, and disregard conserving the past. It doesn't matter the color, ignorant folks like the Booker Risers will continue to inflame, create false wars, and kill at home and abroad. How many Booking Risers are serving or have children in Iraq? How many Gays and Mexicans have stopped you from living your life free? Try renting an apartment in Astoria, Queens, I promise you wont have any Mexican neighbors nor will the locals like you or rent you an apartment. Live on earth not in space! And when public housing (projects) are 50% white I'll vote to conserve the past!!

Posted by: Ramon at December 7, 2004 01:08 PM