NAACP: Wrestling with irrelevance

Race/affirmative action

It would have been indelicate before the 100th year anniversary to say that despite the NAACP’s honorable past, the organization has become known more for its symbolism than substance.

It might also have appeared rude to accuse keynote speaker U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of guilt-mongering by suggesting to the crowd of thousands at the annual Detroit branch Fight for Freedom Fund dinner that racial injustice continues to be a problem of legitimate black concern.

What the NAACP and Holder must know is that the real problems holding back many black Americans today have little to do with white racism. As such, the contributors and the patrons at the historical event were victimized by a racial con job.

Black America didn’t need to be told that homicide is the leading cause of death among young black men. Holders’ speech, after all, took place in one of the nation’s most violent cities. Worse is the unprecedented tolerance for urban violence from the city’s leadership – including the apparent indifference of the NAACP – which contributes to snuffing out more lives than the most diabolical racist plot ever contrived. There could be no more conspicuous sign of the NAACP’s identify crisis, or its moral and intellectual insolvency.

Almost a half century after the NAACP helped bring about the end to legal barriers to opportunity with passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the plight of a large segment of the black community remains dire; apart and removed from anything to do with white oppression or discrimination. Detroit, for example, recorded more than 12,000 murders since that landmark legislation was signed. Upwards of 95 percent of all black victims were killed not by a white racist, but by one of their own. This self-inflicted genocide is the new civil rights violation arena. Yet it appears to be beyond the scope or the reach of the NAACP.

The organization’s contribution for ending the surge of violence and death is to observe from the sidelines. Its leaders feign concern and provide lip service that stirs the pot of public indignation. But this once-proud organization has no real agenda to change the dynamic of underclass behavior that spawns urban terrorism and the massacre of innocents.

It’s as though the NAACP has yet to awaken to the sound of shots being fired each night into homes where children are sleeping. It’s as if the group has yet to understand that black progress, indeed survival, requires the same moral authority committed to the fight for equal rights and school desegregation. It’s as if black solutions to black problems are only worthy of the NAACP’s intervention when connected to threats from whites.

You won’t hear from the NAACP that most black afflictions is testiment to the bankrupt policies of so-call black leaders; failing schools supposedly run by caring black educators that don’t educate; churches run by charismatic preachers that only talk a good revival game. No service group has come forth with a meaningful strategy to reverse the widening social and economic isolation of blacks.

We do see with some regularity NAACP leaders showing up at press conferences and taking stands against emergency managers, voter ID, charter and private schools and advocating for the unacceptable status quo. We know what the group opposes. We see no evidence of what it supports.

A more accurate predictor of the crime and the slaughter are high concentrations of broken families. That means until there is recognition by respected organizations that Detroit needs a family restoration strategy, no Detroit youngster will be saved from a premature date with death; no child will be better educated and no neighborhood made safer.

Shame on corporate contributors who buy the NAACP’s silence with blind support of a rudderless organization that long ago drifted from respectability. Shame on the NAACP leadership that ignores the forest of headstones and pretends to still make a difference, even while the group limps into irrelevancy.

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