Another year, another NAACP convention. Once again the chairman of the organization, Julian Bond stands before the podium, rips the Conservative/Republicans and then tells of all of the RACISM that still exists in the United States and thus his organization is still needed more than ever. The purpose of this note is to analyze Mr. Bond's justifications and focus of the "Racial Justice" organization known as the "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People".
The key point of Mr. Bond's rant is that "racism" is still present and negatively impacting Black Americans. Their job is to stand in the breach and defend Black people from the perils of racism. I content that as long as we have human characteristics that enable an observer to distinguish us as a member of a particular "race" that there will always be the tendency to seek association with and advantage for one's own race. Thus it is a foregone conclusion that there will always be "racialism" in this world.
Mr. Bond is alleging something greater however. He is attempting to make the case that racial hatred of Black people where we are marginalized and the lingering impact of slavery, Jim Crow and other systematic forms of discrimination are responsible for the woeful conditions that are present in the lives of too many Black people. In addition he mixes a heavy dose of ideological bias into the formula which says that any force that attempts to keep the status quo with regards to power in this country is "conservative" and thus against the interests of Black people. They might even be "racists" for acting against the interests of the NAACP with regard to "Affirmative Action", School integration and other policies that have not turned things around for Black people over the past 40 years.
In putting forth such a charge Mr. Bond is inclined to itemize incidents that prove his point that there is a White on Black negative force that keeps Black people down in 2007 and that his group will remain vigilant in opposing this force. He has the entire canvas of the United States to pick from. Any ignorant White person having assaulted a Black person and violated their civil rights is a candidate for inclusion on his list to make his point.
My word for 2007 is "proportionality". This has thus far been an effective tactic in a debate as I attempt to add proper quantity and context into people's arguments, attempting to prevent them from diverting us into dealing with problems that lack the gravity to be considered primary. While it is true that there have been a significant amount of Police shootings of Black people over the last year, for example, it is also true that unlike 1952 a system of checks and balances is in place to have the police officer's actions scrutinized and them held accountable for crossing the line if they have done so. Several members of the Atlanta Narcotics Squad now sit in jail as testament to this new day. Where as Mr. Bond might be inclined to view the fact that a 92 year old Black woman was killed in a hail of bullets from the gun of a rogue police task force as evidence that "things have not changed" I make note of the fact that they were not able to act with impunity of my proof that "things have indeed changed". This brings us to my central argument and key disagreement with Mr. Bond and many other "Racism Chasers" that I often clash with. (PS: The full functional label for them is 'Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive-Fundamentalist Racism Chasers').
It is my view that the actions of INDIVIDUALS is not necessarily evidence of the state of race relations in this country. We don't have control over what an individual might do to offend someone. The state of race relations in this country is a function of what the GOVERNMENT, having noted that its laws have been violated by an individual as he assaults someone , will do to maintain the integrity of the body of laws that are on the books via the vigorous enforcement of these laws. The official government policy must be "Here is the law that the law making body that society has promoted to be the rules of the land. You are free to do what you want to as long as your actions are within the limits of the law and thus don't infringe on the rights of others. If you do break the law as you carry out your personal hatred for another person......we will prosecute you, not for your thoughts of hate but because you violated the law". If someone can find me a different set of demands to manage the intersection of race and rights - I would love to see it. It is impossible for the government to change someone's heart. It is the responsibility of the government to change someone's behavior by adding consequences for acting against someone else in an unjustified manner.
Julian Bond and the NAACP find themselves in a desperate situation today. As a self described "racial justice" organization they, by their own description set on a course of "racism chasing". Sadly - there are plenty of ignorant people who given them choice pickings to choose from. I choose to place the current mission of the NAACP into the CONTEXT of problems that Black America faces today. With gun violence killing our future foot soldiers, HIV/AIDS lynching us and an array of schools that are not centers of academic excellence the course that the NAACP appears to be taking seems like that of a vessel that is out of touch. For so long the organization and the people in the activist community have waged the EXTERNAL fight for the enemy on the outside was greater than any problem that we had inside the Black community. With the body of laws that I speak of in place, the role of the NAACP should have shifted ever so precisely to more of a mix of internal management/external activism.
The challenge that the NAACP and many other advocacy groups find, however, is that it is much easier to fight against an external adversary than it is to MANAGE internal resources as a means of accomplishing a certain end. In fact some of the people who are comfortable with a microphone in their hands only know how to rile up people for an external battle, this is what they honed their skills in doing. I am not saying that there is no longer a need for this external activism. I am attempting to put it into the context of all of the problems that we face and indicating that this falls short of addressing the entire slate of major problems that we face as a people.
The recent NAACP sponsored rally for Genarlo Wilson of Douglas County Georgia provides ample evidence of this. More than 1,000 protesters drove from Atlanta to Douglasville to protest last Saturday. In the process most of them drove on Interstate 20, right past the Vine City section of Atlanta where 68% of the murders of Black people are never caught and are still walking the street. The fight against an external district attorney proves more appealing than the MANAGEMENT of a community that is terrorized by the actions of the criminally insane as they force Black mothers to keep their children indoors for fear of having a stray bullet suck away their life's potential.
Mr. Bond and others live another day having successfully created the agenda of focus for those who are highly aggrieved. Some believe that in just "doing something" they are actually "doing something". The broad facts collected in vital statistics provide the real story. Where as persuasive orators at the podium can draw upon that which he knows will hook you due to your life's experiences, the hard facts that are documented by various data collection entities too often damn these people to be liars, out of touch with the real source of our community's bereavement.
Ultimately I don't blame Mr. Bond or the others who step to the microphone and tell us what we want to hear. I must hold the Black community as a whole for following after them without a serious challenge to their cogency.