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Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Thread For 5/1/14: National Association For The Advancement of Hypocrites

Focus: How just slamming the LA chapter of the NAACP Rings Hollow If You Barely Cared About it in The First Place 


For yours' truly, it wasn't the least bit surprising to see one of the more idiotic things in "ironic racial history" occur, when the news that the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP had given and would give another award to Donald Sterling.

Of course, some people who are black and not black reacted in shock, laughter, anger, and just overall bemusement at how this could be. After years of housing and employee discrimination charges of both the racial and sexual kind, how could this local chapter not see it was dealing in good tidbits with one of America's richest racists.

Is this another "Onion joke" gone true, that even the Onion couldn't think of?' Is it the thought most pondered when they saw this?

And as stories come out now about the chapter's current president, Leon Jenkins, and his own sordid chapters in Michigan and California legal system, proclamations of "The NAACP sold out and only cares about money" and "There is no need anymore for an NAACP" have become more common than ads for that "Neighbors" movie.

But even more troubling than any lifetime achievement awards given to a racist rich man or the appointing of a dubious character to the head of a non-profit advocacy group is the mostly blasé, long term indifference from critics, black and especially non-black, who never even think about the NAACP in the first place.

There is a reason why the NAACP has unpaid volunteers like Jenkins at the head of some of their chapters. And there is a reason why (referring to the national board) it sometimes takes money and sponsorships from the likes of the Walmarts and Verizons of the world. It's because as a whole overall, there isn't enough public or consistent grassroots help for these chapters.

As is the case for many non-profits and certainly minority driven groups, you can only be realistically make an impact by being funded. And in this specific debacle of a case, there was absent the required amount of people from not only the black community but outside of it who could help the LA NAACP chapter not make nutty decisions and not be desperate for money from the lowest of low.

"What the world doesn't know about an organization like the NAACP is that we are all volunteers," Californian NAACP President Alice Huffman said. "We don't have a funding stream to support our activities across this country. Every local unit has to go and raise its own funds. We sort of have to work with corporations."

A lot of people, including myself, have never gone to their local NAACP chapter. They don't even know where it is in the first place. But they are certainly ready to always have an opinion whenever something stupid and hypocritical like this occurs.

Meanwhile, we'll have those "drive by" critics never tweet about North Carolina's chapter fighting voter ID, or the New York chapter highlighted the ills of its state's prison industrial complex, or all the other local chapters taking up the modern day fights people that these critics aren't marching or participating in.

There was no ground swell to vet Leon Jenkins. Hell, no one nationally outside of the NAACP even knew who he was until this week. Maybe if there were more people being active in the Los Angeles chapter throughout the years instead of people coming out for this story, a character like Jenkins wouldn't have become president. Maybe if people were active in helping get scholarship programs and community driven events going at the NAACP that there wouldn't have been any need to get money from an eternal slime like Sterling.

If people really cared about the NAACP instead of voicing their "outrage" on the questionable ties of this specific chapter, then I would further take their criticism of the LA chapter this whole week as legitimate. If people in Los Angeles regularly attended the meetings and rallies of their local NAACP chapter, then their castigation of the LA chapter I would have no qualms about.

And most importantly, if they are among the list of members or donators to any part of the organization, be it the national chapter or this specific local mess, then their apoplectic or befuddled ways at the lack of sagacity shown by Jenkins and company have full merit.

But if you aren't any one of those things or any of those individuals, than your criticism of the NAACP in general rings more hallow than Prince William condemning privilege.

For those who are non-black under that guideline, it's another "how could black people do this" indolent perspective, a fake interest that breathes a masqueraded apathy that is long term. Any thoughts about the NAACP's community development or job creation centers, or funding a non-profit organization clearly desperate for financial stability wasn't prevalent in most of these critics' minds, and will go right away real soon after breaking news reports or grandiose columns age. Some of it already has in the first place.

The easy answer is to call the NAACP, from this troubled local chapter to the entire organization, a "sellout failure." But the harder and better answer, if you really want productive outrage, is to get involved and help steer these non-profits from the its "ilks" and not have it make awful mistakes like this.

If not, then you are part of the hypocritical and racial chutzpah of current times, when portions of the black and especially the non-black community don't ever give one iota of a thought about the NAACP (and black people in general still), until the times when it has embarrassing moments like this.


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