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Editorial July 15, 2010  RSS feed

EDITORIAL

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) seems to have lost sight of its main objective.

Deciding to play the race card instead of addressing the real problems affecting the black community, members of the organization passed a resolution at their annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. on Monday, July 7 condemning the Tea Party movement, accusing it of tolerating and promoting bigotry and racism.

The lunatic fringe of any political group, whether black or white, attracts those whose main objective in life is to incite racial confrontations. But a political group cannot be judged solely on the behavior of its lunatic fringe.

All of this makes for great debate in the 24-hour news cycle, but it just furthers the case that the NAACP seems to be more concerned about politics rather than helping people.

Back in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama addressed the group and stressed the need for a strong economic base in the African-American community. Paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King, Obama said, “the inseparable twin of racial justice is economic justice.”

“What Dr. King and Roy Wilkins understood is that it matters little if you have the right to sit at the front of the bus if you can’t afford the bus fare; it matters little if you have the right to sit at the lunch counter if you can’t afford the lunch,” Obama said. “What they understood is that so long as Americans are denied the decent wages and good benefits and fair treatment they deserve, the dream for which so many gave so much will remain out of reach; that to live up to our founding promise of equality for all, we have to make sure that opportunity is open to all Americans.”

Words like that should serve as a call to action for the NAACP. But in the two years since Obama was elected, the organization’s members should question what the group has done to further the objectives set by the president.

We should hear more about what the NAACP is doing to try to stem the tide of illegal immigrants who are taking jobs away from the African-American community, or how they are helping black men and women who have experienced longterm unemployment for more than 51 weeks.

President Obama recently unveiled the “Fatherhood and Mentoring” initiative, where he explained “... while no government program can fill the role that fathers play for our children, what we can do is try to support fathers who are willing to step up and fulfill their responsibilities as parents, partners and providers.”

The National Parent Teachers Asssociation, the National Fatherhood Leaders Group and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities have all joined the program, but so far there’s been no mention of the NAACP.

Instead of focusing on trading barbs with a political entity that doesn’t agree with them, the NAACP should concentrate its energies on achieving the goal outlined in its very name: to advance the quality of life for men and women of color.