“We’re gonna expose and educate the people about the [NAACP],” said Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. “They are not supporting black Americans, but using them for their own personal gain.”
On July 24th members of the South Central Los Angeles Tea Party and hundreds of others will rally against the NAACP in an event sponsored by Peterson’s organization BOND Action.
BOND Action is a non-profit founded by Peterson. While the organization has grown into the political specter as of late, they remain focused on community-based activism such as counseling, tutoring, workshops and Sunday services connected to it’s church.
The “rally to expose the failed big government agenda and lies of the NAACP” will be held directly outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the NAACP is holding it’s 102nd annual convention. Titled “Affirming America’s Promise”, the NAACP expects about 12,000 people a day to attend their week long convention, which starts Saturday, July 23 and ends Thursday, July 28th.
While the South Central Los Angeles Tea Party is relatively new, it has been recognized by both the Republican Party of Los Angeles and other Tea Party organizations such as the 405/605 Tea Party Patriots. However, neither organization has expressed plans to attend this Sundays rally and have expressed more knowledge of Peterson himself, than his organization.
Rev. Peterson, 62, was raised on a plantation his owned by his grandparents, which once held members of his family as slaves, before moving to Los Angeles. Peterson has hosted a TV show on God’s Learning Channel and currently hosts a radio-show in addition to his work at BOND Action and a frequent commentator for Fox News.
But why the NAACP and why now?
Peterson cites several reasons for the rally and came up with the idea after learning of the convention’s location on his turf. Peterson says the NAACP lies by saying America is a racist society and holds black American’s down.
However, Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy says his allegations are simply not true and have no factual basis.
“That’s’ the problem I have with the NAACP,” said Peterson in an exclusive interview with theGrio. “Their a political pawn of the liberal-elite, white, racist Democratic Party and not really for the people.”
He hopes black Americans (he views the term “African-American” as a “dumb” title and unpatriotic), stop supporting the NAACP financially and with their manpower. For decades, Peterson argues, the organization has supported left-wing policies, which have created dependency on government and destroyed black families and hurt race relations. Peterson also said the NAACP is not needed and until black people stop hating “the white man”, they won’t be free.
“Reverend Peterson is clearly blaming the victim”, said Shelton. “The NAACP has challenged Americans at every level, whether it’s that local abusive chair, a racist segregationist school board, or whether it’s a state legislature and governor standing in the door house saying ‘segregation before, segregation now, and segregation forever’.”
The NAACP calls politicians to task to live up to their responsibilities for their communities and to make policies not just for some Americans, but all Americans, said Shelton. With votes and tax dollars, the organization states that it is imperative that all politicians and those within government act for their constituencies whether in the area of housing, employment, education or other vital sectors.
Shelton also reiterated that the NAACP calls on its members and citizens to be involved in our democratic process without partisanship. As listed in the organization’s constitution, the NAACP refuses to neither endorse nor oppose any candidate or political party and declines to involve itself within one political party.
The NAACP has worked with both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations and aims to ensure that it’s agenda, not President Barack Obama’s or any other politician’s is being advocated.
“Now if you want to say challenging white supremacist policies creates racial disharmony, we’ll just have to wear that banner,” said Shelton.
Peterson stressed that the NAACP does not want black Americans to be free. He said the organization continued to bring up the past to keep people angry and divide and conquer. While he agrees that at one point, when laws were against black people and the NAACP served a purpose, he asserts times have changed and the organization now wants keep black Americans angry to control them.
“They might be open to all races, creeds and colors in that they take their money and take their membership dues for their personal gain, but it’s all about dividing them,” said Peterson. The NAACP was founded in a New York City apartment in 1909 by a ethnically diverse group of Americans. In its early years, as the organization became involved in the civil rights struggles throughout the 20th Century, it relied on numerous contributions and work on behalf of white Americans to help its cause. Shelton asserts that not all members of the NAACP board are African-American and cites that diversity is not only beneficial to the organization, but a part of its mission.
“Our mission statement is to eliminate racial discrimination and racial prejudice in America,” said Shelton. “It doesn’t say black, it doesn’t say, white, yellow, green or red for that matter.”
Shelton pointed out that several local NAACP branches nationwide are actually led by white Americans and in some communities with varying demographics the problems facing Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans can even garner more citizen-oriented resolutions than those of African-Americans.
Peterson also said the NAACP is “no different than the Ku Klux Klan”. Shelton argued that the KKK explicitly advocates for white supremacy and has utilized violence and death to get it’s point across murdering thousands of African-Americans, while the NAACP advocates legal, non-violent organization. Shelton drew a contrast saying that the Klan advocates for segregation, while the NAACP fights for integration and equal protection under the law.
A major pillar of this Sundays rally is the hypocrisy and misguided priorities of the NAACP. BOND Action says that while the NAACP fights for more black news anchors on prime-time networks, the organization has remained silent on “black thugs attacking white Americans”. Peterson says the NAACP has allowed many in the black community to fall back on race to evade responsibility for their crimes and other authority figures. In addition, Peterson believes the youth-targeted programs at next week’s convention will lead black youth to believe this is a racist society, they need more affirmative action and they require dependent government programs.
“You can go to the average public school around the country and the black children, especially in the urban areas, are absolutely out of control,” said Peterson. “White teachers are not allowed to discipline them because the kids cry racist, and the reason they do this is because they hear organizations like the NAACP and others say ‘Well they’re only doing this because your black’.”
The youth branch of the NAACP is currently it’s fastest growing demographic, and the organization asserts that its youth focused programs at next week’s convention are based on success, leadership and other academic scholarships. The organization rebutted Peterson’s allegations that the NAACP advocates only for the educational goals of African-Americans and says it’s committed to quality education for those of any race. Shelton also suggested success based on merit, citing the nation’s numerous merit-based academic awards and the NAACP’s own ventures, such as ACT-SO (the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics)
Addressing the critique of his organization on crime, Shelton stated, “thugs are thugs”. The NAACP does not condone any criminal actions by persons of any race and maintains that those crimes be prosecuted under the law. Meanwhile, Shelton noted that African-Americans continue to be unfairly stopped and searched by law enforcement agencies nationwide, despite an imbalance between stops that result in a criminal charge and those that do not.
Peterson also addressed concerns about the NAACP’s stance on black representation in the media, by saying this is no longer a problem and blacks are “everywhere” in films, television and commercials. BOND Action also cites the recent NAACP battle with parents in New York over the close of several local schools in favor of public schools. The NAACP believes it is best to better serve the black community through consistent, funded reforms to these schools, rather than BOND Action and the parent’s decision to leave it up to the focused charter schools.
Peterson’s overall aim of this rally and his organization is to get black Americans to stop depending on the government and “so-called black leaders” and instead focus on creating strong, close black families. The only way Peterson believes to achieve this is through truth.
“We want black Americans to wake up and start looking for information themselves, thinking for themselves and stop thinking in a tribal mode,” said Peterson. “They’re not a tribal people, they’re individuals.”
Hilary O. Shelton says that the NAACP is not a monolithic organization and would like to inquire as to Peterson’s aims. The policy and priorities of the organization are not decided by their Bureaus in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, or even the board, but the people. The organization creates policy utilizing all 2200 of their members who vote through a democratic process similar to that utilized in both houses of the United States Government, says Shelton. While the NAACP attends both the Democratic and Republican conventions and meets with members of both parties to advocate its agenda, it maintains that each of its proposals are conceived and voted on by it’s members.
The week long convention titled “Affirming America’s Promise” will focus on various programs highlighting health and disease prevention, youth empowerment and leadership, reducing the harm to our environment, the upcoming redistricting battles in 2012, and numerous workshops with some including members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The NAACP says all are welcome to attend and respects the free speech of Jesse Lee Peterson and BOND Action to hold their rally outside.
“We believe that’s absolutely important,” said Shelton. “We’re sure it will be a well disciplined rally because, as he says, the Tea Party is respectful of the values of a civilized America and we hope that’s the case here”.