He wasn't referring to issues that today threaten the prosperity, safety and integrity of the "black community" far more than does "the beast": high urban dropout rates; the opposition to vouchers, which allows the continued near monopoly of underperforming inner-city government schools; the inability of workers to deposit their Social Security contributions into personal savings and investment accounts; teen pregnancy; never-wed fathers and never-wed mothers dependent upon government; the misguided endorsement of race-based college admissions, which lead to a disproportionately high dropout rate; and crime.
The leadership of the NAACP chooses to remain in a time warp. Its use of the race card as a weapon and a shield is cynical and manipulative, designed to keep the organization in the headlines without the need to redefine its priorities and policies.
In the '60s, NAACP member Prentice McKinney fought for civil rights in Milwaukee. "Back then," he said, "the enemy was clear; it was white racists and racist police officers. It was a legalized system of segregation. And so the challenge was between the white establishment and the African-American population." But after a long and often ugly struggle for racial equality, this is a different and better America. "Today," McKinney said, "the African-American population is being destroyed by its own youth ... an enemy from within. You have a population of older African-Americans ... who are now afraid of the children in their own neighborhoods." Addressing this is hard. It invites an accusation of "blaming the victim." Far easier to cry, "Racism!"
In 1911, Booker T. Washington said: "There is (a) class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. ... There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."
Some things never change. Some people don't want them to.
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