July 28, 1998 Letter to Interracial Voice
A little birdie clued me in on a story in the July 26, 1998 edition of the New York Times, Week in Review section, titled "Good Times Are Bad for Interest Groups". The story outlined some of the tactics used by advocacy and civil rights organizations in their struggle for funding and power. The NAACP was, of course, a major focus of the story.
Last week, Julian Bond, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP, told attendees at the NAACP's annual convention, "for those Americans whose skins are black or brown, their prospects are poorer and the gap is growing wider," he also said, "the poverty rate has gone up while median family income went down. Poverty for black and Hispanic senior citizens went up, children who were poor got poorer, the numbers in poverty doubling, higher here than anywhere else." The story opens by saying that these "numbers" Bond talks about are in direct contrast with reality, according to several government and private research reports published in the past few years.
In contrast, also last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center, headed by Morris Dees, scored a huge victory for civil rights in this country with the largest jury award ever imposed against a hate group in this country. This award will put the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Columbia, SC out of business. This is a real victory for civil rights because it sends a message to these hate groups that someone is watching and will bankrupt them if they get out of line.
This to me poses a very interesting question. What exactly is a civil rights organization? Is it a group that goes out and voraciously prosecutes and attacks vermin like the Aryan Nations and the Klan, who despise and fear interracial relationships and self-identifying multiracials. Or, is it an organization who used to focus on winning legislative, judicial and social victories in the name of civil rights, but currently uses tactics such as employing slick law professors to publicly ridicule and belittle interracial relationships and self-identifying multiracials? One group is telling us that the glass is half-full, and oh by the way you're only black because you need our protection and the other group is bankrupting a hate group.
Yours in Struggle,
James A. Landrith, Jr.
Editor and Publisher of the disreputable rag,
The Multiracial Activist
This entry also posted at INTERRACIAL VOICE.