Memo to NAACP: Be Historic or Be Quiet
Lenny McAlllister | 1/10/2012, 12:39 p.m.
Someone please get this memo to my friend Ben Jealous and the NAACP.
The title is not a slam but a challenge. It is not a request - but, rather, a plea for a proper response to yet another boneheaded statement by a right-wing American.
It is 2012. Conditions are not improving in our communities for the most part. The signs are all around us. Even when things apparently seem to be getting better for most Americans (as may be the case after hearing the latest round of unemployment numbers from December), Black people continue to fall behind. It is certainly not the time to continue doing the same things we did in 2011 and before, expecting a different yet groundbreaking result.
Before I go on, I must confess: I know that I am in the minority of Black Americans that feel that the NAACP is a relevant organization in today's political and social climate. I can pretty much assure you that I am one of the only Black conservatives that believe that the NAACP has any value to African-Americans today.
However, I have to also confess: my public patience with the organization is wearing thin.
It's time for the NAACP to get back outside of the box, be historic once again, and help lead Black America to a better place in time. It's time for the NAACP - and other similar organizations whose time for many has come and gone - to cement new partners and create new paradigms to uplift a people and advance America.
That cannot and will not happen as long as the only time the NAACP gets involved in political dialogue with one-half of our political system is to criticize one of its members.
Granted, many Republicans and Tea Party conservatives make it easy for Blacks to sit on the sidelines and throw insults at the minority of fools that decide that racism is justified in the Obama Era. As well, it is necessary to ask those that that risk the appearance of condoning such behalf through their silence or arrogance to get off of the fence and choose to join the ranks of equality-seeking Americans or fully punch their tickets onto the ship of fools.
However, for the NAACP, the historical obligation it holds hardly has its limits at the edge of the playing field. At a time when Blacks are losing, the NAACP comes off as a big-contract, has-been all-star that that garners the money but can't move the ball anymore when it is time to produce.
The NAACP's shallow slam of Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum is yet another hollow notion by the organization to advocate for Black Americans. It is a way to go without both moving outside of the comfort zone of sound-bite civics and advancing the conversation from rhetoric to empowerment and uplifting change.
For true, the statements politically-damaging and seemingly unnecessary (especially in the case of Santorum). These moves on the campaign stump should be characterized as being "boneheaded." Yet, as much as we know about how the message was delivered was questionable, we also know that the sentiment behind the message is valid at this crucial time in the history of America concerning Black people.