The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is used to scrutiny. Throughout its 102-year history, the NAACP has faced a firestorm of criticism. Usually, the critique has come from Whites who have felt threatened by the organization’s willingness to combat societal and structural racism.

Times have changed. On the third day of its 2011 annual convention in Los Angeles, Calif., the NAACP came under verbal fire by a Black-led coalition, which roundly denounced the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

In a spirited protest and rally outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the NAACP is holding its convention, members of the South Central Los Angeles Tea Party said the largely Black organization engages in race-baiting tactics and has failed the African-American community.

“The NAACP is out of step with reality,” said South Central Los Angeles Tea Party President the Rev. Jesse Peterson. “They are not dealing with the real issues with America, and Black America. We also want to say to them to stop lying about the Tea Party. It is not a racist organization.”

Peterson, a Black conservative, said some of the issues the NAACP has failed to address within the Black community are out-of-wedlock childbirth, violence perpetrated against Blacks by other African Americans and supporting traditional marriage.

“They support Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has 70 percent of the infant abortions in the inner city. The NAACP can care less about the attacks on the Black, unborn child,” Peterson said. “Black-on-black crime is out of control. They are out of touch. They don’t intend for the Blacks to go free and to think as individuals. They want the races divided in order that they may keep Black Americans depending on government and living on the plantation of the Democratic Party. That is all the NAACP is about.”

Protesters attending the rally were mostly Black conservatives and anti-NAACP, although a good number of Whites also showed up for the two-hour demonstration. The average age of most protesters hovered around mid-40s up to late 60s.

Barbara Coe, who heads the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, said the NAACP is nothing more than a bunch of “goons” for President Barack Obama and it exploited African Americans. “The NAACP was founded for noble purposes … to insure fair and equitable treatment for all of their members,” Coe said. “Abandoning Dr. (Martin) King’s dream that all Americans be judged not by our color, but by our character and receive equal justice under the law, they (NAACP have reduced this once fine organization into nothing more than a well-funded, race-baiting group who victimize their own people.

“As we know, the NAACP’s role is to spread lies and rumors about patriot Americans and play the race card to convince ill-versed Black Americans, brainwash kids, and illegal aliens that (President Barack) Obama is their Messiah.”

At times it got heated during the rally as anti-NAACP demonstrators went head-to-head in verbal exchanges with supporters of the organization. Police, however, were on hand to quell any disturbance. For the most part, the rally, which drew between 100-150 protesters, went on peacefully as pedestrians walked by in quiet disbelief.

The goal of the rally, said Peterson, is to inform and educate African Americans about the choices afforded to them to think in a more diversified way, politically. President Obama received over 90 percent of the Black vote during the 2008 presidential election. Peterson thinks that is outrageous.

“You can’t get 90 percent of your family to agree on things,” Peterson said. “You have 90 percent of Black Americans who voted for (President) Barack Obama because he is Black. That is racism within itself. The NAACP encourages that type of thing. Most African Americans don’t think for themselves.”

Sherrie Johnson, director of the Speakers Bureau for the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, said the NAACP is simply not needed today. “The NAACP is irrelevant right now,” Johnson said. “The issues are about the family, the breakdown of the family and we need to help out Black families improve. The opportunities are here. It is not about racism anymore. It’s about moral issues. It’s about the family. The opportunities are here. We have as much opportunities to get everything as everybody else.”

Johnson, who is Black, went on to say that the high unemployment rate among African Americans has nothing to do with racism, but rather the breakdown in the family structure. “That’s because of the breakdown of the family and the wrong training,” Johnson said. “You can just go look in the Black neighborhoods.”


Dennis J. Freeman

Special to the AFRO