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Solution Paper #29: 10 Suggestions/themes for the NAACP Board to consider for its next annual covention if it is to again obtain relevance and significance and rebound from having had to close all regional offices and lay off 40% of the national HQ staff, as happened in June 07.
[Based on "Tracking the Gaps" blog entry #10 of June 8, 2007 ]
The Washington Post this morning, Friday, June 8, bears witness to the NAACP being at a crucial turning point in its history, NAACP Will Cut Staffing, Close Offices , as the NAACP closed all regional offices and laid off 40% of is national HQ staff.
So what next for the NAACP? Roll on into irrelevance or rise up to again act with relevance and significance? We offer these 10 suggestions, first as a ten point list then as detailed suggestions within each of the ten for the NAACP Board to consider for its next annual convention, followed by our analysis of how this all came about:
Now the ten in more detail:
1st, adopt the mantra of Nellie Stone Johnson: "No education, no jobs, no housing," which leads on to no health care, no family stability, and no public safety. The laws for justice in education, jobs, housing, etc., are on the books. Cities are voluntarily in non-compliance, especially in terms of education, jobs/hiring, and housing, as you stand by and lay it all to racism. Does this mean that as the Democrates are in charage, they are thereby racist? The injustice is the stance taken by the NAACP that winds up supporting injustice.
2nd, Combine BOTH social justice AND social service, instead of showboating the notion of social justice rhetoric from liberal dinner and conference to liberal dinner and confernece to whine and sing victimology songs, as the NAACP does in both America and Africa. It will take more than an addiction to klieglights, rubber chickens, and endless self praising press conferences to bring the NAACP back to relevance.
3rd, Stop shilling for the Democratic party which in turn shills for the Teachers Unions and instead demand that education be given by those who would educate. The democrats control the cities and they control education. Stop being silent on the majority of Black parents in Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Chicago, etc., who want charter schools that will teach rather that the current public school system which creates a 50% drop out rate among our young people, especially young males, as the Democratic Party and the teachers union have become battalions in the war against young Black men.
Blacks are the most loyal segment of the Democratic party, and yet, months went by before we were brought up. This is a clear indication of our demise and being utterly taken for granted.
And yes, we know that the war is important and that for some it is seen as tearing the country apart. It certainly has defined the Democrats (pull out and come home and spend the war money on government programs) and the Republicans (stay and fight the war on terror there instead of here). Again: not either/or but both/and. There is truth in both views.
Even though slavery was world wide before the Civil War, and still exists, we act too often as if the US is the bad guy. Why don't we hear about how four times more slaves went to Latin America and the Caribbean than to the U.S.?
Why don't we hear that twice the number of slaves that came to America were taken from Europe to the Islamic North Africa by the Barbary Pirates. Because of these Islamic pirates, George Washington, who said don't get involved in foreign entanglements, ordered a Navy to be built.
And why don't we hear that Thomas Jefferson, who said we needed small government and to concentrate on local levels, happily ordered the new Navy to the Barbary Coast to knock out (kill) the Islamic Barbary Pirates that preyed on our ships? Americans knocked them out, ending their slavery of Europeans, and Americans fought a Civil War to end slavery in this country.
A kind of slavery exists still in Northern Africa and the Middle East, not to mention in Darfur. Should we help end slavery elsewhere or was that just for us? And if is just for us doesn't that means abolitionism isn't universal and that it would be OK to again enslave us. These are hard questions. And we appreciate the difference within both parties about this as well as between both parties on this.
What we don't appreciate is that despite those debates, there is little or no discussion about the tremendous gaps between Blacks and whites in Democratic party controlled cities in education, jobs, housing, income, heath care, family stability, and public safety. But we are still here. Our inner cities are still here. And some parts of some of our cities look like war zones.
Our inner cities are being pulled apart. In real time. Now. And the democrats that control them allow it to continue (and the Republicans stand by and let them do so, as it is a joint party perspective). As the Republicans don't control the cities, they avoid accountability. Which is why we need the parties to fight over us, not write us off, each for their own reasons. If neither "owned" us or dismissed us, they would have to fight over us by offering us a piece of the pie as they offer other groups.
The Democratic Party is more and more replacing us with Hispanics in their affection, because they represent votes they believe are "naturally" theirs, as Hispanics are minorities and "people of color". According to the census, there are 35.3 million Hispanics in the U.S., representing 12.5% of the population. That is close to our numbers ( 36.4 million, 12.9% ).
And, if the democrats can get illegals to vote as soon as possible, they'll attempt to get their hands on millions more, just like meeting the boats in the 19 th century and early 20th century with cards for where to go for welfare along with Democratic Party registration cards. The Democrats take our votes for granted. And as they think the Hispanic vote should be theirs (as all people of color "should" be), they are pushing Hispanics, legal and illegal, ahead of us in line, as they push us further to the back of the Democratic Party bus.
Some say this is because of what is called "The Roe Effect." Over the past 40 years, over 40 million abortions have been done. Assuming the majority of those were Democrats (as Republicans oppose abortion, at least publicly), these and their off spring could have been expected to vote Democratic. Hence the desperate need of the Democrats for the Hispanic vote to replace those "lost."
4th, Pass the baton to younger leaders, leaders with a practical not ideological bent. Let's be frank: time and the movement have long passed Jullian Bond and his oversized and overly old 60+ member Board of Directors. They have rendered the NAACP irrelevant because they themselves are irrelevant. They act as if they are the keepers of the civil rights flame. They are sincere, but sincerely wrong. Instead, they are damping down the civil rights flame. They have taken their eyes off the prize .
5th: address the key statistics of loss in membership and loss of donations. There are only 400,000 members nation-wide out of 36.4 million Blacks. 1% of Blacks. Why isn't the NAACP embarrassed by this? Why doesn't the NAACP see the "scandal" that this is? Thus, because of the %5 million shortfall, regional offices are closed and staff laid off. Where doesn't the NAACP's have a sense of shame about this?
The 2000 Census shows 36.4 million African Americans or Blacks. 12.9% of the population . Who, anymore, does the NAACP represent? By these numbers, only 1% of Blacks are members. And the $5 million shortfall? Here is the membership market at work. Blacks are sending their vote of no confidence with their feet (by walking out) and pocket books (by not contributing).
Even though there are 36.4 million potential members for the NAACP, they have only 400,000 members, some of whom are white limousine liberals. Just think, if each of those 400,000 gave a special $10 donation, the shortfall would go away. They don't think enough of the NAACP to give $10?
Put it another way: if half of America's Blacks gave only 27 cents each , the shortfall would go away. That shows the tremendous irrelevance of the today's NAACP among Blacks in America today. No longer railing against elite groups that excluded them, they have become one. The key is to shift from the hatred of George Bush and start hating the gaps in education, jobs, housing, public safety, and family policies resulting in Blacks being at the statistical bottom of these categories, especially in the inner city.
6th: return to a focus on where it counts: on those not able to escape the inner city enclaves, most due to either lack of education, lack of fathers, of "babies are having babies" (and stop getting excited by a drop in the numbers when there are still so many: whether you bleed to death quickly or slowly, you still bleed to death), and, of course the prevalence of drugs and choice of many young men for gangs. Squarely address the State of Emergency For Black Youth, and the potential for quarantines and roundups of which we have written.
7th: admit that the trillions of dollars spent on the war on poverty, education, and other social programs have been disastrous to African Americans in the inner cities (although a boon to government bureaucrats), and face the truth Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried to point out over 40 years ago: that these programs would hurt us. It is said that 90% of children living in poverty live in single parent families. We used to emphasize our families, and cried when the slavers split up our families. Now we sit by quietly as government programs again split up our families, as our leaders have swapped the security of middle class government programs bureaucratic jobs with retirement benefits over the security of the prize of freedom for everyone and helping our youth prepare for their lives. Lets stop ignoring the impact of prison, death, drugs, and absent fathers and have higher hopes for our youth than hip hop.
8th, read The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes . When it came out in 2000, the local Black leadership groups told people not to buy it, not to read it. The NAACP (national, regional, and local) needs to read The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes .
Read especially Interlude 16 , Calculating a Better Future For All ; follow Chapter 17 , The Positive Future Possibilities for Minneapolis ," and appy it nationwide; and be buoyed by the Concluding chapter, " Not Losing Sight of the Prize of Equality's Freedom ."
9th, Follow our Solution Paper # 22. Aug. 31, 2003: Seven Themes, Seven Problems, Seven Solutions .
10th, Follow Solution Paper # 23. Dec. 2, 2003: The Blocks to Construct a Minneapolis Table for All to Sit At Together . It will work in any city.
Background to problems besetting the NAACP , as reflected by the ten suggestions above:
To be relevant and help secure the prize of equal access and equal opportunity, the NAACP at national, regional, and local levels needs to address these ten issues.
Seduced by the applause and enjoying being on the delusional pedestal of moral civil rights high mindedness, the NAACP has remained silent about action to close the gaps in real terms between Blacks and whites in terms of education, jobs, housing, and public safety, seemingly content with reciting rhetoric to support the Democrats in order to receive their bi-annual standing ovations from the party.
In chapter 14 of my 2002 book, The Minneapolis Story , my message was simple: "Black organizations: now part of the problem rather than the solution." The didn't listen. Instead, they ran their showboat aground.
The local branch is discussed in Chapters 6, 8, 12, and 14 of my 2002 book. They didn't listen. Instead, they expelled me from the NAACP, approved by national. The first one in 50 years.
We addressed the NAACP in a dozen columns and in over a dozen blog entries, and we addressed the problem of the NAACP in our July 21, 2003 paper, NAACP Takes Eye off Prize .
The NAACP once fought for an end to their being censored to fight for the freedom to publish their calls for redress, for which 600,000 perished in a Civil War so that they could, only to wind up in the sorry state of trying to censor the freedom to publish truth about them as they jim crowed my efforts to speak the truth.
Unfortunately I have been proven right by this once great organization. With the closing of the regional offices and reduction of the staff, it will be impossible for many branches to address regional and local issues. Many will have to close, including, quite possibly, the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP.
The NAACP was formed to help "colored people" at the local level. At its formation as a result of the Niagara Movement, Dr. DuBois never expected to see such decline in contact with local affiliates. The NAACP national board conflict was over Chairman Jullian Bond and his 60+ Board that collectively held the view that the NAACP should focus on social justice. The President who resigned after 19 months could not get the national board to shift to social service. This is what I too advocated. I was correct when I stated in 2002, that if the NAACP did not plan to act to regain efficacy, the NAACP would be marginalized and become virtually an insignificant organization. Sadly, that is what has happened.
In the musical Showboat , we all know the famous song, "Old Man River," sung by the slave, Joe. The NAACP must rise again and stop being what it has become, just an 'ol man river that does nothing else but just keep on rollin.
Posted 7-9-07, 12:27 a.m.
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for the columns. Please cite www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for blog entries and solution papers.
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