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reply to SurfCityTom

Tom, all of the official procedures in the effort to secure the pardon have been followed. Building public support is part of the way the system works, too. Legislators trying to pass a bill hold hearings and invite the media to cover them. I could go on, but you know how it works. That is what the NAACP is doing, just like any other citizens trying to persuade their fellow citizens and their elected representative of something they believe should be done.

I am sorry, but perhaps I was not clear enough. It seems we are talking past one another. I want to understand your point and I think that I am clear about your view. What I am saying is that, while the NAACP does actually do some of the things you are saying it should do--it has youth programs and tutoring programs, for example--its main purpose is as a social justice or civil rights organization. In the same way that the National Rifle Association seeks to protect the 2nd Amendment, the NAACP has its particular role protecting the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, and the 1st Amendment, for example.

I did not mean that you said the police should tutor children to read. I only meant that what you are asking the NAACP to do is like expecting the police to teach reading. The NAACP does, in fact, tutor children to read. The police in my community actually do have a tutoring program, too. But we don't want all the cops to do that all day. And we don't need to NAACP to stop its important activities as a civil rights organization.

If you believe in segregation, then you don't owe the NAACP, you're right. If you think only white people should be permitted to vote, then you and the NAACP are even. If you don't think women have a right to equality before the law, then you don't owe the NAACP. But the NAACP has been defending the Constitution for more than a hundred years. It fought to stop mobs from torturing people to death in the public square, which occurred several times a week during the many decades that the NAACP fought lynching in this country. The NAACP fought to allow all citizens of voting age the right to vote; this was not fully established until 1965, and they started that struggle in 1908. It took a long time. Many NAACP members were murdered for registering to vote or encouraging others to register to vote. The NAACP fought segregation for about seventy years. When they finally passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that law included women--white women, Latino women, Asian women, black women--as well as African Americans. It has done more to help white families than black ones, honestly, not that the NAACP minds; the NAACP supports equal rights and supported the vote for white women. Today it fights for the public schools--for well-funded, diverse, constitutional schools with strong training for teachers and a stronger emphasis on math, science, reading and history--back to basics. I could go on, but much of what the NAACP does you might well agree with.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is called that for historic reasons. It is an interracial organization; the majority of the founders were white. Many of its current members are white, Latino, Asian, as well as African American. Protecting the right to vote benefits everyone, unless you don't think everyone should have the right to vote. Defending public education benefits everyone, even if you don't believe in public education; communities with strong schools have less crime and more jobs and higher income. The NAACP has a public purpose that, if you looked into it and thought about it, you might support more of it than you think.

In this instance, in any case, the racial discrimination in the Wilmington 10 prosecutor's documents, which are posted online, is so obvious, undeniable, and truly disturbing that I doubt that you would support that. If you do, well, the NAACP is not your biggest problem, but your heart and soul. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt, and just say thanks for explaining your point of view. I don't have any desire to argue with you at all, but I want you to know that I understood you and make sure that you understood me.


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