*A story is making its rounds on the Internet and it is headlined as follows: “New NAACP Leaders Broaden Group’s Mission.”
The headline relates to a brewing controversy within the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization: Several local chapters have elected non-African American leaders and the organization is increasingly taking positions on non-Black issues ranging from Latino issues to homosexual rights.
The NAACP says this added diversity will broaden its appeal and make it a more effective organization. But I have my concerns.
Too much diversity can actually dilute or weaken the effectiveness of any organization. All our lives we have been taught that a key to achieving success is focus. As a general rule, when you lessen your focus, you weaken yourself. Further, at this point in history, too many African Americans are sufficiently lacking in self-esteem and pride that they automatically assume that anything all or predominantly Black is somehow unequal or of less value than that which is white or multi-racial.
Thus, we must be careful when we start diluting predominantly Black organizations by bringing in too many non-Blacks. We could just broaden ourselves out of existence.
Answer the following questions for me: How many Hispanic organizations are headed by non-Hispanics? How many gay rights organizations are headed by non-gays? How many women’s organizations are headed by men? I hope you see where I am heading. African Americans suffer disproportionately from specific discriminations and social pathologies. Thus, many of our needs are different from those of other groups both in terms of kind and degree.
We should feel absolutely no need to prove something (I am not sure what) by turning the leadership of our organizations over to non-Blacks. No group is America today has suffered what we have suffered – again in terms of type of suffering and degree of suffering.
I fully support coalitions with other groups when we share issues and concerns in common. I also support broadening our concerns beyond traditional civil rights issues. But we should not integrate ourselves out of existence by turning our organizations over to others.
Appearing recently on the National Public Show “All Things Considered,” the new Hispanic president of the NAACP branch in Waterbury, Connecticut Victor Diaz said, “I think you’re going to see a great exponential growth as other individuals see that it’s just not an African American organization. And you’re going to see, probably, the NAACP tackle some of the issues that are relevant in the Latino community as well.”
If there is an “exponential growth” in non-Blacks joining the NAACP, then the group cannot possibly have the concerns and needs of Black America as its primary focus. It would thus no longer be a Black organization. This would be a great mistake. America is not yet a post-racial society and will not be for many, many years to come.
Let us be Black, proud and strong; not multi-racial, lacking in self-esteem and weak.