Sunday, July 15, 2007


[posted by Callimachus]

I'm perplexed by the continuing illusion on the leftward side of the blogosphere that somehow an insult to the NAACP is an insult to black Americans, as though the NAACP = black Americans.

An organization that has fewer than 400,000 members (presumably not all of them black) would be hard-pressed to speak for, much less identify itself as, a population of almost 35 million.

The NAACP has done heroic work in its glory years -- for black Americans and for all Americans interested in the good of the nation. That, however, occurred some time in the past. The Republican Party, too, once did heroic work on behalf of blacks and all Americans, but it's silly for GOP stalwarts to keep beating a horse the party abandoned in 1877.

More recently, the NAACP has seemed out of touch, and its own fundraising memos confess a failure to convince black Americans under 45 that the organization has any relevance to their lives. As Obama correctly points out, "From South Central L.A. to Newark, New Jersey, there's an epidemic of violence that's sickening the soul of this nation. The violence is unacceptable and it's got to stop." He pointed out that the number of Illinois servicemen who have been killed in the fighting in Iraq this year is less than the number of Chicago school district students killed in the same period.

Yet the current leadership of the NAACP seems interested only in addressing the Iraq war half of that statistic. Domestically, it seems to have no solution to the "epidemic of violence" but it has been scrupulous in fighting to erase the design elements of state flags and seals. Lord knows, they kill so many people.

Shaun Mullen's post, cited above, is particularly perplexing to me, because it takes at its topic "why the Republican Party continues to marginalize blacks and generally treats all people of color as second-class citizens. (The ones that are citizens, that is.)" I could ask who appointed the first two black secretaries of state in American history, but that would involve us, likely, in a discussion of who's "not really black" and I just don't want to go there.

He adds:

My interest here is less to bash the GOP for its decades’ long indifference to anyone who is not a white Christian with an American flag tattooed on their ass. That’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

If he's really interested in discussing something other than that, I'd suggest his snark just went off while he was cleaning it, and shot him in the foot.

But I'll answer that the GOP's interest may be motivated by the fact that the block of white Unitarians with Ho Chi Minh, Mao, or Castro tattooed on their ass already is spoken for. Me, I prefer to pitch my arguments on this side of the aisle. At least flag-asses can be swayed to do things for the national good by an appeal to the patriotism they've already committed themselves to, or civic pride, or the betterment of the nation. Which seems to me to explain a good deal of how we've come the painful distance we've come since 1877, though it's not the part of the story that typically gets told in PBS miniseries.

* * *

Now, having slagged Shaun Mullen for a post, I'm compelled to admit that I owe him a scraping bow of gratitude for a Thinking Blogger Award nomination. I have seen these things passed around the Internet for a long time, but I didn't think I ever was going to get one.

I don't know much about it, but it seems customary, if not obligatory, to pass it on in fives. I'm hard-pressed to think of five who fit the definition of "make me think" on a regular basis and who probably don't already have one (such as Dave Schuler), but here's an attempt:

  • Benzene 4. Infrequent posts but they make up for it in rigor.

  • Either End of the Curve. My co-blogger who, thank the gods, now serves up her best stuff here.

  • Better Living. The kind of blog written by a serious Christian that a serious atheist can completely embrace. I hope that comes across as a compliment.

  • Angela Winters. My blogcrush. She has the cutest avatar!

  • Irish Elk. Puts the "ent" in "eccentric."

Because without that, y'know, it would be "ecc-ric" which is the sound you make when you're throwing up.