'Tea Party Tracker': Doesn't the NAACP have better things to do?

OPINION - I would rather see the NAACP's wisdom and energy spent focusing on policing "us" and our own community...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

From the NAACP’s official website:

We are satisfied that on August 28 [at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally], there were few overt signs of racism — however, we remain committed to holding the Tea Party to their word. Our coalition watchdog website, TeaPartyTracker.org, will serve as evidence of this ongoing vigilance of extremism within the Tea Party movement.

The NAACP has always believed in the promise of America – a promise built on mutual respect, common civility, and hope for a better tomorrow. Together, we will continue to do our part to ensure that the Tea Party reflects these values as well.

Here we go again. I had hoped that the NAACP might have learned a valuable lesson from the events of this past summer (i.e., Shirley Sherrod, its first scuffle with the Tea Party and anti-racism Resolutions, etc.) but apparently not.

Let me be crystal clear about what I am going to write next so that there is no misunderstanding — you ready — buckle up: Racism is not the biggest problem facing black America. Period. Black America is the biggest problem facing black America. That’s right I said it. It’s time we had some real grown-up talk and stop using race as an excuse for all that ails us when looking inward would serve our community a whole lot better.

Of course racism exists in America. How could it not? Our very founding and institutions were built on racist principles (that ought to go over well with my conservative friends). Slavery was legally sanctioned in America until 1863. Jim Crow – or racial segregation – was legally sanctioned in 1896 with the Plessey v. Ferguson decision and stayed the law of the land until the Brown v. Board decision in 1954. Yes, yes, yes racism is real and its vestiges are still with us, but racism is not the biggest threat to what is wrong in black America and the NAACP knows this better than most.

Let me just give you a snapshot of what you already know but may have forgotten in the busyness of your own lives: Fact – black male unemployment in this current recession has been at Great Depression levels in many American cities. The out of wedlock birth rate for black children is well over 65 percent approaching 70 percent according to most statistics. As noted black historian Dr. Lerone Bennett. wrote recently, “A black child had a better chance of growing up with both of his parents in slavery than he does now.” The black marriage rate has declined dramatically since the 1970s. The black divorce rate has soared in the past two decades. Black on black crime and violence in the past two decades in cities like Detroit, Chicago, Camden, St. Louis, Oakland, Cleveland, Birmingham, etc. has caused more death and destruction in our communities than all of the lynchings of black people (that we know of) that took place in the Jim Crow South. And I simply do not have space here to talk about the black male incarceration rates, the AIDS crisis and black women, drug use, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and everything else that is seemingly plaguing the black community at large in alarming rates.

Now hear me out before you lose oxygen and go all weak at the knees out there — my fellow black Americans we have got to put a stop to this game that is being played on us every single election cycle without fail. I don’t care if you are Democrat, Republican, or Independent. We deserve better and should demand it. Every two years and every four years we can count on the same old garbage being dumped on us: The Republicans are racist, watch out for the bogeyman, watch out for the Tea Party, watch out for white folks. I mean come on folks—really?

[youtubevid http://youtube.com/watch?v=HlvEiBRgp2M?fs=1&hl=en_US]

Why is it that the “race” card is always trotted out in election season, and why is it always trotted out on us? We are treated as if somehow education, higher taxes, crime, national security, and a better quality of life don’t matter to us, when no community out there needs more action and help in this area than does the black community.

Here is my point: the NAACP has fresh young leadership in Ben Jealous and Roslyn Brock. Both are exceptionally bright and energetic. But authorizing Tea Party tracking sites that monitor allegedly racist behavior is simply stunning to me.

What does that have to do with fixing what is broken in black America? In the final analysis, I would rather see the NAACP’s wisdom and energy spent focusing on policing “us” and our own community so that we can redefine a better, healthier, more prosperous destiny for the next generation to come. When the NAACP gets back to its core mission and values, I will renew my membership and support it wholeheartedly!