For decades the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People fought the good fight against racial discrimination. The organization was instrumental in defeating Jim Crow and discrimination in the workplace; it led the charge in establishing voting rights for all and equal access to quality education. Even now the NAACP does some good work in local communities. However, as a national civil-rights organization, it has lost its way.
In his seminal book, “The Souls of Black Folk,” NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Dubois describes awakening to a morning “when men ask of the workmen, not ‘Is he white?’ but ‘Can he work?’ When men ask artists, not ‘Are they black?’ but ‘Do they know?’”
Sadly, the NAACP has veered far from Dubois’ vision and the realization of the principle of racial non-discrimination. The NAACP is now a defender of a system of racial spoils, a champion of big government, and a promoter of progressive politics. In short, the organization has been transformed into an enforcement arm of the Democrat Party. And that enforcement is achieved through the use of race as a weapon.
The NAACP’s recent report on racism within the Tea Party is a rather clumsy attempt at wielding that weapon in order to demonize political opposition to the Democrat agenda. It is also dangerous because it undermines black political and cultural progress.
The Tea Party has steadfastly held to a few core principles: limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. The NAACP leaders have made it their mission to paint these objective and decidedly race-neutral positions into “white-supremacist beliefs.” The difficulty, of course is that there has never been a sign on the Tea Party door saying “whites only.” There is a difference between a blocked door and a door through which one refuses to enter. Woe to any people who adopt as a measure of ethnic authenticity the belief that limited government, fiscal restraint on the part of the federal government, and free-market capitalism as antithetical to their ultimate success, and who further come to believe that those principles are, in fact, the tools of their oppressor.
Sadder still is when that misguided vision becomes a form of political and cultural indoctrination. Consider what I witnessed while attending an NAACP youth council luncheon.
After the luncheon program, the local NAACP director rose to deliver her closing remarks. She began by discussing the plight of a death-row inmate in Atlanta. She then asked the children if lynching in America was still going on. In one loud voice the children answered YES! The director then proceeded to warn the audience that the Ku Klux Klan and other racial hate-groups were on the rise. I sat in a bit of a daze. My first thought was, “This organization is living in a time-warp.” Yes, racism still exists. Yes, idiocy still exists; I suspect hatred and bigotry in some form will always exist. If, however, the NAACP leadership still believes that the KKK is the chief impediment to black success, then as leaders, they have defined themselves as irrelevant. The fact that the organization would teach black children that black people are despised means the organization has sold out its original charter and is now worthless!
Perhaps it is time for the NAACP to change its moniker. I will leave it up to the members of the former august organization to choose its new name. I would, however, like to suggest that they consider “The National Association for the Advancement of Progressive Politics Everywhere,” or NAAPPE. The members of the new organization could then rewrite their charter to reflect the true aims of their political advocacy.
For instance, NAAPPE would be very candid in its belief that white racism is the primary cause of black wretchedness. For this reason, NAPPE must have as its main occupation the sniffing out of every last vestige of racism in America. Like hound-dogs, NAAPPE members will sniff through the cultural and political landscape and point when they pick up the scent of racism, especially when that scent seems to emanate from the ranks of all those who oppose the Democrat Party and its national agenda, or who oppose those political groups allied with the Democrat Party.
Unlike NAAPPE, the NAACP simply can’t have it both ways. The organization can’t profess that it is the last word on civil rights and at the same time be an arm of ANY political party. Its moniker can’t announce that it is fighting for racial advancement and at the same time the body remains ambivalent about a policy that results in the death of more black people than heart disease, cancer, strokes, accidents, diabetes, homicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases combined. The NAACP can’t claim the leadership of the black community and then stand idly by while members of the Congressional Black Caucus garner favor (and campaign donations) from the teachers’ unions, while selling out the interests of black schoolchildren in Washington, D.C. And it can certainly no longer claim to be a civil rights organization while at the same time it advocates a system of governance that relies on redistributing the fruits of one man’s labor in service of other men.
Joseph is perhaps best known for the role of Lt. Martin Kendall, Lisa Bonet’s husband, on the hit series The Cosby Show. He was also a three time NAACP Image Award Nominee for his portrayal of Attorney Justus Ward on the Daytime Drama General Hospital. For two seasons he appeared as Mayor Morgan Douglas on the CBS series The District, recurred as Marcus Johnson on the hit CBS series Without A Trace and most recently appeared as JT Morse on the Fox Series, Vanished. Mr. Phillips is also a syndicated columnist. His column “The Way I see It” appears weekly in more than 30 publications across the country.