Nothing is more reactionary in America today than identity politics, and there is no better example of this than the NAACP. The organization was of great importance in its day, but there is a strong argument to be made it should no longer exist.
Do I have a right to say such a thing? Well, I was a civil rights worker in the South in the sixties, lost the full use of my finger there, went on to be a significant financial supporter of the Black Panther breakfast program in the seventies…. Is that enough?
Maybe, maybe not, but whatever you think of me, the NAACP has become a creator, not a fighter, of racism. They are in the racism business, fanning the flames in order to survive, and I won’t be reading their shameful, phony propagandistic report on the supposed bigotry in the Tea Party movement just being issued today in time for the election. Life is too short. If it were centuries long, it would be too short.
But am I attacking this report without reading it? Indeed I am. If Nancy Pelosi can shove through Congress sweeping health care legislation that changes the economy of our country without reading it, I certainly can attack some trivial report on my little Internet blog after only glancing at the first paragraph and the names of the authors.
There is, however, a serious issue represented by this report. We have come to a moment in our national development when identity based organizations like the NAACP have a strong vested interest in impeding progress, especially for the groups they purport to represent. If things get better for black people, the NAACP has no reason for being — or must devolve into some kind of social club.
Now of course things aren’t perfect for African-Americans, far from it, but the NAACP is part of the problem, not part of the solution (to quote, ironically, from Huey Newton). They yearn nostalgically for a past that, like all pasts, is gone.
Several months ago I wrote an article (“Time to Be Bored with Race“) in which I recommended that — at this point in time — the best way to solve our remaining race problems is to ignore them. Although I was being a bit cute, I stand by that. Racism is an execrable human behavior most of whose public manifestations have been properly outlawed in this country. We should rely on those laws and move forward. Calling people racist, racist, racist is like scratching a scab. It only makes it worse. Or, in the case of the NAACP, regrettably, opens fund-raising coffers.
We’re all having tough times and I can sympathize with the leadership of the NAACP about that. Who wants to be out of a job now? But I would recommend that they try to see things more clearly. It may be that the Tea Party movement, through economic renewal, has more to offer black people than they do.