Home  |   Jihad Watch  |   Horowitz  |   Archive  |   Columnists  |     DHFC  |  Store  |   Contact  |   Links  |   Search Friday, July 20, 2018
FrontPageMag Article
Write Comment View Comments Printable Article Email Article
The NAACP's Decline and Fall By: Ward Connerly
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, July 17, 2002

From the Wall Street Journal.

Does anyone, other than the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, really take the NAACP seriously anymore? An organization with such a glorious history of championing equal treatment for all Americans now finds itself in the position of being largely irrelevant in the ongoing national dialogue about race. What a tragic farce this group has become.

When I joined the NAACP over 40 years ago as a student at Sacramento State college, the organization was dedicated to passing laws that guaranteed voting rights for blacks in the South as well as the right to have a meal at a lunch counter regardless of your skin color. Back then, even though we strongly disagreed with the Southern politicians who defended the racial status quo, we were generally polite and respectful in our criticism of them and their opinions.

In other words, thoughtful and moral arguments, not jive insults, were used to overcome bigotry and to promote the equal-rights agenda. These days, the latter seems to be all that the old-line civil-rights groups are capable of delivering.

'Snake Oil'

Last week, Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP's board of directors, speaking in Houston to an aging crowd of nearly 4,000, slung insults at everyone from President Bush to yours truly. Last year, before Sept. 11, Mr. Bond told the same audience in New Orleans that President Bush's nominees to various positions in the judiciary and his administration were from the "Taliban wing of the GOP." One would think the NAACP leadership would recognize how such mindless invective trivializes and disgraces the organization in the eyes of the public.

Apparently not. Of President Bush, Mr. Bond said, last week, "We knew he was in the oil business. We didn't know it was snake oil." Attorney General John Ashcroft was called "a cross between J. Edgar Hoover and Jerry Falwell." I was described as "affirmative action's poster child" and a "con-man." This is the triumph of intellectual laziness over intellectual advocacy.

Not only did Mr. Bond sling mud at the Bush administration, he took aim at some of our nation's most respected think tanks and public interest legal groups, including the Center for Equal Opportunity, the Institute for Justice, and the Federalist Society. According to Mr. Bond, these organizations make up a kind of secret grassy-knoll "network of funders, groups, and activists who promote school vouchers and the assault on affirmative action."

Worse than the insults and rhetoric, however, is the fact that Mr. Bond is willing to sacrifice truth to hyperbole. Lately, he's been trying to pass off the whopper that school vouchers are opposed by the majority of blacks. Does he think his audience is stupid? Every mainstream poll has concluded that blacks as a group are the most fervent supporters of vouchers.

The NAACP's opposition to vouchers is indeed a strange turn of events. In 40 years it has gone from opposing segregated schools to opposing school vouchers for inner-city kids in failing and bankrupt schools. Like its opponent of another era, George Wallace, who stood in the schoolhouse door to block black kids from getting in, the NAACP now stands in the door of rotten schools to keep black kids from getting out. How can a group like this survive? Or, more importantly, why should a group like this survive?

Contrary to the conclusion of the NAACP, blacks are not disenfranchised from voting in this country, but they are self-marginalized. Because the NAACP has degenerated into a wholly owned political franchise of the Democratic Party, blacks are the most predictable voters in virtually any election anywhere. The NAACP leadership keeps everyone on the plantation and threatens to withhold this lockstep voting unless the Democrats toe the line. This is power politics at its rawest.

Next in line for shakedown from the NAACP are Fortune 500 corporations like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and Texaco. Each of them has ponied up millions of dollars to race-baiting lawyers under threat of nationwide NAACP boycotts. In November 2000, Coca-Cola settled a class-action lawsuit for $192.5 million. In November 1996, Texaco settled one for $115 million plus 11% salary increases to all employees in the plaintiff class. And, in January 1999, Boeing settled one for $15 million.

NAACP muscle is similarly applied to corporate America to "advertise" or be corporate sponsors at NAACP conventions. Sometimes, there isn't even an event associated with the corporate payments leveraged by the NAACP. In October 1999, Bell Atlantic Foundation gave the NAACP $500,000 to improve its communications network with local affiliates.

Just a few days ago, at its annual convention, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume announced the receipt of $670,000 in cash and software from Microsoft to upgrade technology at NAACP national and local offices. The wording of his announcement was pretty rich: "Our constructive relationship with Bill Gates and the people of the larger Microsoft family has allowed the NAACP the ability to do more in helping to reduce the gap in technology so evident in poor communities across America. Even more is required as we go forward. We believe that Microsoft not only understands that, but is also prepared to join us as an active partner in the work ahead."

When was the last time that the NAACP has done anything for "poor communities" in the U.S.? The membership base and the beneficiaries of the organization's activities are largely middle-class government bureaucrats. But when Mr. Mfume says "even more is required" and "We believe that Microsoft not only understands that, but is also prepared to join us as an active partner in the work ahead," other corporations get the message.

Not the Way Forward

Despite enormous progress, the U.S. has not fully solved its problems of race and ethnicity. To get to the next level, we need a reasoned and respectful exchange of ideas. The complexity of racial issues requires the people who debate them to chose their words carefully. The Julian Bonds of the world, who have made a career of slandering those who don't share their version of "civil rights," are not the way forward.

Ward Connerly is a former Regent of the University of California, Chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, and 2005 recipient of the prestigious Bradley Prize for his defense of the American ideals of freedom and equality.

We have implemented a new commenting system. To use it you must login/register with disqus. Registering is simple and can be done while posting this comment itself. Please contact gzenone [at] horowitzfreedomcenter.org if you have any difficulties.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Home | Blog | Horowitz | Archives | Columnists | Search | Store | Links | CSPC | Contact | Advertise with Us | Privacy Policy

Copyright©2007 FrontPageMagazine.com