Especially after reading this crap?

I used to volunteer in the NAACP’s Oakland Chapter. The President, Shannon Reeves, was a third-generation NAACP activist that rose to the helm at a really young age; I don’t think he was quite 25 years old when he got elected. Then, he turned from Democrat to Republican, and I thought the National Office was going to lose their minds.

But, the NAACP was supposed to be non-partisan. So, I didn’t really understand the National Office (read: Julian Bond) beef with Mr. Reeves.

Of course, when Mr. Reeves attended a RNC convention for the first time since switching parties, it could not have been humorous to be mistaken for the hotel bellhop and asked by those he was in attendance with at that convention, to fetch bags. As I recall, Reeves complained of discrimination, and I don’t remember if the NAACP did anything except to shrug their shoulders and tell Shannon he should have expected that kind of treatment from the Republicans.

Whether or not they agreed with Shannon’s political ideology, the fact is, the man was treated disrespectfully, and the NAACP should have raised hell, if, for nothing else, embarrassment quotient and additional early warning signs of the GOP’s bigotry.

However, in the years since, I’ve watched the NAACP proceed on a steady decline in effectiveness; infected by years of feeding on the corporate teat and blowing up on corporate largesse like Jabba the Hut. What have they really done in terms of protecting civil rights and fighting against discrimination? Can someone tell me?

You can’t fight, or bite, the hand that’s feeding you. Proud of me Julian Bond will not be, at this point, because I’ve personally seen if you go up against those giving you money, they will threaten to close their wallets if you don’t back off.

Which brings me to the point of this post. It appears that the very decree of bigotry and racism that the NAACP was established to protect, the members of the organization have no problem with engaging in it themselves.

Thus, by their own hand, they commit treason and cannot cry “foul” when it comes back to bite them in the ass.

I’m talking about the selection of the new President, Ben Jealous (what a name).

According to NNPA’s George Curry, it appears that some chicanery went down in the selection process of the new Pres. One set of rules was applied to one applicant, the Rev. Frederick D. Haynes of Dallas, Texas, and another set to Mr. Jealous.

Rev. Haynes was told if selected, he’d have to give up his pastorage of Friendship Baptist Church, an 8000-member church which he’s pastored for over 25 years. Now, keep in mind that the NAACP has had three Presidents who were also pastors of churches and were not asked to step down from their pastoral offices (Ben Chavis comes to mind here; he of the sexual-harassment-use-NAACP-dues-to-payola fame).

Rev. Haynes was also told he could not lobby or campaign for the position, either; especially out in San Francisco, where he has familial and pastoral roots. Haynes’ grandfather pastored Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, the largest Black church in the city, which is now pastored by Rev. Amos Brown, a NAACP Board Member who would know Freddie Haynes personally. Additionally, Haynes was contacted by a search firm and asked to apply for the position, so someone in the NAACP must have believed Freddie could do the job.

But, it also appears that the faction that wanted Freddie Haynes didn’t include Chairman Julian Bond. Uh-oh.

Ben Jealous, it seems, was Mr. Bond’s choice for the job. So it appears that there was a different set of rules put in place for him. Not only did Mr. Jealous get an audience with Rev. Brown; he also got an audience with former Mayor Willie Brown, another NAACP Board Member. Jealous was allowed to travel and outright campaign for the job which he later was given; while Freddie Haynes was put on a leash in his competition.

Now, I’m not harping on Mr. Jealous, because he’s not to blame here. The fact is that he was considered Julian Bond’s first and only choice to replace former Verizon Executive Bruce Gordon, and it appears that Bond ensured Jealous would get the nod. Now, if you remember, Gordon was hired to bring that corporate aura (and cash ducats) into the NAACP and energize it. But, as he related off camera in a sidebar at Tavis Smiley’s Negro Super Bowl (aka “State of the Black Union”) in Hampton, VA, last year, Mr. Gordon expressed frustration at not being allowed any autonomy in running the organization; as a former VP at Verizon, he was not used to having every decision he made vetted by a board of 63 Negroes telling him what to do and how he could get it done, if he could do it at all.

When have 63 Negroes agreed on anything? There’s a joke somewhere, but I’m damned if I can find it. Anyway, that Board basically rendered Gordon ineffective, and eventually told him to hit the road, Jack (sorry, Baratunde). Personally, I was skeptical of the fact they chose a corporate guy, and when he proceeded to act “corporate”, he got run out on a rail.

Now, you read about the fact that the “fix” was put in for Ben Jealous to replace Bruce Gordon and Freddie Haynes didn’t even know what hit him until the dust cleared. It’s also left a very nasty taste in Rev. Haynes’ mouth – it would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth to realize you played by the rules and the competition was set up to win.

In my line of work, when you have the rules being changed in the game like that; when you hamstring one opponent when you allow the other free rein and access to power players, you call that what it is.

DISCRIMINATION. It’s not just for white folks to do against Blacks, or others of ethnicity. What is sad is that the one organization founded to combat racism, bigotry and discrimination, has now found it palatable to engage in it. Now, I don’t know if Ben Jealous is going to be his own man, or Julian Bond’s man, but the issue is clear – the fix was in. Does the old Civil Rights guard think we who are under 50 are stupid? Must they continue to insult our intelligence by calling this a fair selection when the selection process was rigged?

If they raised hell, filed lawsuits, challenged institutions hell-bent on keeping Black people out of the voting booth at a time when we had no Black elected officials, how can they justify the way Mr. Jealous was selected for the job? It is like grilling a perfect filet mignon steak with all the trimmings and serving it up on a garbage can lid. That’s how this selection of Mr. Jealous appears to me, and probably others in the NAACP who knows what this was about. Mr. Jealous may very well be an effective leader; but his leadership has been hampered and stained by the very way he was chosen for the job.

And done by none other than the supposed “vanguard” of the Civil Rights Movement.

First of the old civil rights guard that pissed off everyone was the selling out of Andy Young to Wal-Mart Corporate interests. Then it appears that Jesse Jackson, Sr., wants to diss the Blogsphere, which includes those of us who have had Jesse’s back for decades. Now, Julian Bond is engaging in discrimination and moving the goalposts to make sure his choice for replacing Bruce Gordon gets the nod.

If you’re going to act like a criminal, then why should I continue to look to your organization to fight for my rights, while you take my money in dues and do nothing but pontificate like Al Sharpton without the backup? Why should anyone take you seriously when your last major fight was getting Ronnie Raygun to designate the third Monday in January to Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory as a holiday, and all you’ve done since then is to get fat off corporations who pay money to have their names on the marquee as being a supporter of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Diversity, while they engage in discriminatory acts and break the law of the highest order?

What say you, NAACP? Shall we praise you in this? I think not, because at this point, I’m sick of the NAACP.

I just wonder if I’m the only one. Proud of me Yoda would not have been for writing this post, either.

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