Does the NAACP really still speak for African-Americans?

Posted: May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Last Saturday, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) officially came out and declared their support for same-sex marriage. According to USA Today, the organization now sees the issue as comparable to civil rights.

Ironically, this stance fails to comport with a large sector of the African-American population.  Roughly 62% of blacks are against same-sex marriage,according to a Pew Research poll conducted in October 2011.  This is not alarming news, as it was clear that blacks are in favor of traditional marriage which was evident in the 2008 passage of Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriage in the state of California, which African-Americans supported overwhelmingly.

The timing of the NAACP’s support for same-sex marriage is undeniably alarming and perplexing. It follows President Obama’s public endorsement of the issue on May 9th.  The underlining tone from the NAACP is pretty clear and doesn’t need much deciphering: Get behind President Obama. It’s quite that simple. The NAACP, which is supposed to be a non-partisan organization, has betrayed the principles that matter so dearly to the black community to join forces with President Obama’s secular agenda.

While it is not surprising to see the NAACP applaud the efforts of the nation’s first African-American president, it is irresponsible of them to put a divisive political issue ahead of what truly is affecting the black community—high unemployment rate, a weak economy and lack of jobs.

Also, their call for racial harmony has been questioned by many due to their hypocritical and impeccable acts at times. In 2006, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond compared the GOP to Nazis and compared judicial nominees of then-President George W. Bush to the Taliban. 

Not only did this cause a strain with the administration, but it temporarily but race-relations on hold. It is this divisive and toxic rhetoric that compels many to not take the NAACP’s agenda seriously.

            If the NAACP wants to have a relative dialogue that parallels to President Obama’s policies, I would encourage them to engage in discussions of how jobs can be available in the black community. The current deficit, debt and fragile economy will impact the black community more directly than same sex marriage. The fact that many college graduates are finding difficulty finding jobs post graduation has higher precedent among blacks than the debate over marriage.

            Has the NAACP challenged the President over the high unemployment rate among African-Americans? In April, blacks saw a troubling 13% rate in unemployment. To not engage the first black President about these depressing numbers does not do justice to the black community.

The NAACP, if it desires to regain its status as a valid and concise voice for the advancement of African-Americans, must engage in discussion and policy that will help blacks compete in today’s economy, and must also be willing to respect the views of African-Americans without aligning itself to the partisan tactics of politics today.

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Comments
  1. teemtwo says:

    Excellent points!

  2. Danielle Greene says:

    It seemed to me that the NAACP was advocating the right for same-sex marriage on the basis of equality under the law. The institution of marriage is more than a religious right, but has all sorts of merits added to it, such as veterans and tax benefits afforded by the federal government. Their statement, albeit ill-timed as it should have come way in advance of Obama’s public statements on the topic, was to me, an assertion that people should not be excluded from receiving the same rights of others solely based on whom they chose to love.

    If you disagree with the NAACP that marriage is a civil right, then I refer you to the 14th Amendment:

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Should not the NAACP have stood on the side of same-sex marriage?

    Also, to state that the NAACP should only focus on issues like unemployment rates and job creation is to say that they have no business discussing other topics like immigration or education. The scope of the NAACP reaches much farther than just the current state of the economy and to state otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the organization as a whole. There are things that take, as you said, “higher precedent,” but that does not mean that other matters should be ignored. Likewise, there are African-Americans who are greatly affected by the laws surrounding same-sex marriage, and to them the NAACP’s statement is neither “divisive” or a “betrayal.”

    I respect your opinion, but I felt it necessary to add a small snippet of mine.

    All the best.

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