The NAACP needs to get a clue

Posted: Jul 18, 2005 12:00 AM
The NAACP has just concluded its 96th annual convention, and it makes me sad.

I am sad because black America has real problems and the NAACP and its leaders either don't care about them or are so out of touch with reality that they are incapable of honestly seeing them. As result, the challenges facing blacks are far greater than they might otherwise be.

NAACP chairman Julian Bond put his finger on it, saying, "Our mission has not changed ...We are a social-justice advocacy organization dedicated to ending racial discrimination. That's what we do."

The truth that black leaders like Bond can't seem to come to terms with is that the deep problems in America's black community today are not the result of racial discrimination, and blacks do not need an organization with a $40 million budget dedicated to "social justice."

Racism does not cause an AIDS epidemic, family breakdown, 50 percent high-school dropout rates, widespread out-of-wedlock births or the destruction of millions of unborn black babies.

However, for sure, when black leaders continue to turn away from and refuse to be honest about our real problems, these problems will not be solved and black life in America will go from bad to worse.

According to Bond, "Racial discrimination is a prime reason why the gaps between black and white chances remain so wide. And we believe that to the degree we are able to reduce discrimination and close these race-caused gaps, we will see the lives of our people improve and their prosperity increase."

Is America free of racism? Of course not. Is racism the reason why blacks lag economically in America? Of course not.

The single most important factor in establishing economic earning power is education, and the single most important factor that drives the educational accomplishment of a child is family. Blacks lag economically because we lag educationally, and we lag educationally because the black family in America's cities barely exists.

The weights holding down the future of black children today are problems in our own community. The fact that mainstream black leaders are incapable of being honest about this is a symptom of our problems.

Of course, black reality does not exist in a vacuum. The moral chaos that is tearing apart our community reflects a moral chaos that exists in the nation as a whole.

Thirteen million unborn black babies have been destroyed since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Black women are three times more likely to abort than white women.

Of course, legal abortion does not mean that a woman has to do it. However, we should understand Roe v. Wade as a multifaceted cultural message.

First, legal abortion on demand sends a clear, and sad, message about our nation's cultural attitude to life and its value. Second, the fact that this message was federalized by the Supreme Court, pre-empting states, establishes this "right" as a transcendent national value. Third, the "right to privacy" argument under which Roe v. Wade was rationalized enshrined relativism as a central cultural and legal national reality.

This devaluing of life and the popular promotion of an attitude that objective truths do not exist disproportionately hurt communities, like the black community, that already have great social and cultural challenges.

We see that children walking away with scholastic prizes today in science, math and recently in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are disproportionately immigrant children, largely Asian-Americans. These communities are characterized by strong families and clear values. As result, they do well because they are prepared to take advantage of the great strength of America _ freedom. And they are shielded by values and family from what are becoming the weaknesses of our country _ meaninglessness, gross materialism and relativism.

This is not the case with blacks. Our communities, deeply touched since the 1960s by the culture of the welfare state, have come to be defined by this destructive relativism. This is what has torn apart our families. In this sense, blacks are victimized by the larger culture in which they live.

However, this is not racism. This is a national problem and the black community has no choice but to seize responsibility and deal with it by looking inside and working through our own churches and communities to restore the values and meaning that are vital for rebuilding our families and raising spiritually and morally healthy children.

A healthy and prosperous black future is not centered on the Voting Rights Act or on diversity programs.

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