Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post: What Should The NAACP Be Doing?

My friend wanted to share her thoughts on the NAACP and the Tea Party and I thought the content would elicit a good discussion.  You know how we do here at the UP.  Add your thoughts in the comment section below.

The Grio just posted an article sharply criticizing the NAACP for tracking the Tea Partiers at last week's Glenn Beck rally.  I don't agree with this post in its entirety, but I do think that the NAACP could be devoting its capital and human resources to things other than a Tea Party Tracker.

This needs to be a really quick and dirty post, so here are some suggestions for the NAACP on things to focus on:
  1. Unemployment rate
  2. Unemployment rate
  3. Unemployment rate
  4. Health care
  5. Education

Why do I have unemployment rate listed 3 times? Like the author said, the black male unemployment rate is Great Depression-like in many cities. Yesterday, the Brookings Institution stated:

"Unemployment rates are 50 percent higher among African Americans than white persons. In fact, higher unemployment rates among African Americans are apparent across all education groups, including among college graduates who, as a group, tend to have the lowest unemployment rate among all workers. Even among those who are employed, labor market outcomes between African American and white workers differ. A larger fraction of black workers are employed in low-wage occupations than other workers: 15 percent of low-wage workers are African Americans, yet African Americans comprise only 11 percent of the total workforce. In addition, among men, African Americans are more likely to work part-time than whites: 13.2 percent of black men work part-time compared to 12.3 percent of white men."

(This is under A. Differences in labor market experience)

I think that statement is suffice on unemployment.

Onto health care and education. Some elected officials are determined to repeal health care reform any way they can. Some are even threatening to allocating less funds to the department of Health and Human Services to ensure the reform fails. That's right folks, but it gets better. There are those that want to SHUT the government down. Some may not remember the 1995 and 1996 shutdown. Please visit Talking Points Memo for a trip down memory lane.  For those that don't have time to read the entire piece here's a clip:

"The first, and most immediate effect of a shutdown is furloughs -- hundreds of thousands of workers sent home without pay. That has ripple effects across the country.

Shalala ran down the list of functions that would be stopped.

"Social Security checks, Medicare reimbursements...welfare checks to the state, Medicaid checks to the state."

So some elected officials want more people to have NO income?! (Someone needs to explain to me the logic of this...) I guess all those that didn't know Medicare was run by the government during the health care reform debate will now realize it is. (I wonder if the same people that accused the Obama administration and others of creating death panels will now be responsible for creating those death panels themselves now. After all grandma's doctors won't be reimbursed for her care...)

It's the middle-class and low-income that will suffer the most. I think the NAACP should be devoting its resources to helping PREVENT a government shutdown from happening. If I was the NAACP communications office, I'd be tracking any person running for office who has said s/he wants a shut down and/or gained the support of any organization in favor of such a move. Then, I'd hit the airwaves and Internet with ads about this. I'd remind the voters that your elected official is trying to not only withhold your social security check and but also keep you from going to the doctor.

If this doesn't apply to you, do you eat? You like to know that health agencies are inspecting the farms you get your food from, right? Well, that wouldn't be happening either. If there's an outbreak, then that would count as an essential service.  I rather have my food inspected than be doubling over from food poisoning.

Finally, regarding education, the disparities between the haves and have-nots is mind boggling. I won't go into it all here, but if we want our country to continue producing the best and the brightest, then we better be ensuring every student has access to textbooks, computers, tutoring services, and good teachers (and so much more). Just because a child goes to school an elite school in the US means that s/he received a superior education to a child who went to an inner city school.

So here's my message to the NAACP:


You are making the Tea Party relevant by giving them your time and energy. The Tea Party is petulant. If you don't give them your attention, they will throw a temper tantrum that rivals that of a 2-year-old child. You can either give a child what s/he wants or pay him/her no mind. It is true that if you ignore a child throwing a fit, his antics may grow louder and more elaborate, but eventually the child wears himself out and quiets down.


A Concerned Citizen

Huge thanks to E for writing this post.
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