by Charing Ball
Last year’s takeaway from the NAACP 100th anniversary convention was that the most prestigious civil-rights organization in the nation would re-brand itself to better fit the need of the 21st Century. Among its agenda items was a plan to not just focus on civil-rights issues, but human right issues and to engage in more civil-minded action in hopes of attracting the newer generation of activist into its midst.
At this year’s convention, which officially kicked off this past weekend, the NAACP embarked on a new theme, “One Nation, One Dream” in which the civil rights group will seek to “revive and redirect the nation toward the idea that we should all have “opportunity, access to justice, fair treatment and great futures.”
What is yet known is how either last year or this year’s vision will translate beyond lip-service into real action. For instance, NAACP delegates will be voting on a resolution today for ‘all people of good will to repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.‘
NAACP leaders believe the resolution is necessary to make people aware of what they believe is a racist element within the Tea Party Movement. While I wouldn’t question the sincerity of the resolution, I do however wonder about the intention and overall focus of an organization that seems to waste its time and energy on symbolic gestures rather than planning and organizing for real racial justice in our communities.
Let’s be honest, the Tea Party is an easy target. Its well-documented that its anti-immigration, pro-guns and overall rhetoric about “taking back” America seems to attract all sorts of bigots, loonies and white power extremists to its association. However, a growing number of young people – black, white and in between – are identifying with not only the Tea Party Movement’s principles of Fiscal Responsibility and Limited Government but the ideologies of other political parties, which exist outside of the two-party system.
And by solely focusing on racism in Tea Party – as well as ignoring the intolerance that exist within both the Republican and Democratic parties – the NAACP once again shows that it is not ready to meet the needs of the 21st Century young activist.
Instead of making fruitless resolutions, the NAACP might be better served studying the playbook of Tea Party organizers and start to engage in grassroot organizing, rallying voters as well as training and nurturing young candidates that represent the real interest of the People.