Bush came to the NAACP convention in Baltimore four years ago. He said the right things: "Slavery is a blight on our history"; "racism, despite all our progress, still exists"; "there's no escaping the reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln." But then Bush said something important. He spoke about "the soft bigotry of low expectations in education." Instead of lowering the bar to meet underachievers at their level, Bush called for elevating the underclass to the level of the bar and beyond.
For his courage, courtesy and frankness, Bush got the James Byrd commercial. No wonder he has refused subsequent invitations to speak to the NAACP. Why endure insults from people who have no intention of voting for you and who do not represent all of black thinking, an increasing amount of which espouses more conservative principles?
The future of black America does not lie in the slogans, tactics and bitterness of the past. Instead, it is in the attitude expressed eloquently and forcefully by Bill Cosby about such issues as parental responsibility and oversight, using proper English and staying in school. He entertained at the recent NAACP convention but was asked not to repeat his earlier remarks advising blacks to "stop blaming the white man."
The NAACP doesn't want Cosby's thinking to catch on because blacks who free themselves from the clutches of government and single-party devotion will find they need neither to achieve their dreams. If they did need them, the lot of the poor would by now already be much improved because of the millions spent in the "war on poverty." That too many blacks remain mired in poverty, as Cosby has noted, is a result of behavior and lifestyle choices, not the white man keeping them down.
The NAACP may represent the emotional and political state of much of black America, but it no longer speaks for the real interests of blacks, which are based in the things of which Cosby speaks. It should change its name to the NAABB - the National Association for the Advancement of Bush-Bashers.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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