Commentary: What’s Happened To The NAACP?

By Derrell Connor Special To Channel 3000

An organization that was instrumental in fighting discrimination and Jim Crow laws of the south has been reduced to passing resolutions, squaring off against the Tea Party and becoming a shrill for the Democratic Party.

In case you haven’t heard, the NAACP, at its 101st annual convention this week, passed a resolution condemning what it calls “racist elements” within the Tea Party. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in a statement, “We take issue with the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements. The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no space for racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in their movement.” The Tea Party immediately fired back, saying that the accusations are unfounded and unfair, and that the NAACP are the racists.

I personally find the whole thing ridiculous, and a colossal waste of time.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a column questioning the timing of the Tea Party movements rise, as well as the fact that some of their members have made bigoted statements that had gone unchecked. But never once did I insinuate that the Tea Party movement as a whole was a racist one. Over the past couple of months, to their credit, I have seen Tea Party members condemn and denounce some of the signs, slogans and statements that some have made, including a billboard in Iowa comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. That billboard has been taken down.

As for the NAACP, this was nothing more than grandstanding. While I am aware that there were more resolutions passed at the convention that mostly focused on jobs and education, they had to have known that this particular one would generate a buzz, and put them in the national news. All in an effort to move the organization back into the forefront of civil rights. That’s all fine and good, if the Tea Party were a real problem, or if you’re actually focusing on issues that really matter to African Americans, like unemployment, education, health, crime, etc?, instead of emotionally and politically charged rhetoric.

We throw around the words racism and racists so much these days that it no longer has the meaning that it once had. More than a few politicians and so-called civil rights leaders use it as a tool to divide people, and to make money. And in the meantime, it diminishes the real issues of racism and bigotry that truly threaten all of us. That’s what the NAACP is supposed to represent. That’s the NAACP that I miss. Now, they’re operating more like a political party, choosing sides and telling people how to vote. Better hope the IRS isn’t paying attention.

When you’re the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, you have a responsibility to lead by example. Last I checked, the NAACP is supposed to speak out against and stand up against all forms of racism and hate speech, no matter who says it. Including the New Black Panther Party, which has been engaging in quite a bit of hate speech of its own, calling for the killing of white people, even babies. Failure to condemn those types of statements makes you look like a hypocrite that’s only concerned when the attack is against one of your own. In the past, the NAACP would’ve condemned the behavior in a heartbeat.

I miss the old NAACP.