Project 21 New Visions

 

Time for Regime Change at the NAACP


by Ak'Bar Shabazz

 


After hearing Julian Bond and Kweisi Mfume trash President George W. Bush and black conservatives, it's painfully apparent what has become of the NAACP. A once-proud organization has been reduced to simple slander and rhetoric. The leadership that once produced American greats like Thurgood Marshall and WEB Dubois now seems diminished to a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.

The NAACP no longer appears focused on the advancement of the African-American community. It now acts as if its chief concern is electing liberals and maintaining its perceived influence. Ideas that founded the organization look to be replaced by the partisan pursuit of maintaining the Democratic Party's stranglehold on the black vote. This vision apparently equates black advancement with the rate at which liberals are elected to office.

For Mfume and Bond to insinuate that black conservatives are merely "hustlers" and "puppets" who promote conservative ideology strictly for money is enlightening and disappointing. It speaks to their character. Like foolish puppies at a lake, the anxious NAACP leadership sees a false reflection of themselves and attack. They are once again making a mistake in judgment. It's not surprising since their moral compass hasn't seemed to function in years.

Julian Bond, for instance, has the audacity to attack President Bush on education. The NAACP joins the liberals and teachers unions to undermine the Bush plan to improve public schools. They'd love to remove learning requirements and standards that expose lagging development and productivity in our nation's schools.

To the teacher's unions, measurable results appear secondary to job security. Their goal seems to be returning to the days of worry-free operation without the pesky mandates our President has implemented. To secure the endorsement and increase their chances of gaining the White House, Democrats are likely to oblige their requests in sacrificing the education of poor children nationwide by keeping them trapped in failing gang and drug-infested schools. The NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) appear to graciously promote the unions' ridiculous ideas that drain the potential from our youth and rob their desire for honest achievement while often sending their own children to the finest private schools.

Only education and hard work will take our community and country to the next level. NAACP leaders promote reparations checks and other magic pills and elixirs to miraculously fix our community while threatening educational standards. It's the equivalent of treason against black America.

I'm sure the NAACP would love for every person of color to vote a straight Democratic ticket. Not necessarily because it is believed to help the black community, but because it maintains their perception of political power.

But does the NAACP have the power it thinks it has? No blacks were even considered to be John Kerry's running mate. The Kerry campaign included black high-ranking staffers only after the lack of diversity was exposed. In the Bush White House, on the other hand, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice control foreign policy and Rod Paige is the President's point man on education. Where is the NAACP's and the CBC's power?

Julian Bond and Kweisi Mfume had their chance to lead. They squandered their opportunity and tarnished their personal credibility along with the credibility of a once-respected organization.

The sun appears to have set on the NAACP's days of usefulness. Eventually, the old makes way for the young. Our country needs fresh ideas and new leadership that hasn't been compromised by the seductive limelight. It's time for change.

The old leadership has run our community into the ground with destructive actions and archaic ideas. Instead of condemning the next generation, they should embrace those who have taken the responsibility of providing direction and guidance to the young people of our country. But, like selfish relay runners lusting for the spotlight, they won't pass the baton. The attention is too addicting and consuming to share the stage with others.


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Ak'Bar Shabazz, an Atlanta native, is president of Shabazz Enterprises and member of African-American leadership network, Project 21. Comments can be sent to [email protected].

Published July 2004 by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.


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