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Sunday, March 25, 2007

What really happened at the NAACP

"WHEN BRUCE Gordon became president of the NAACP 19 months ago, I bet $100 that he wouldn't last two years. I thought he'd be too pushy and too business-oriented and too straight-thinking for the 64 mossbacks on the NAACP board. Reluctantly, I just collected my bet.

"Gordon abruptly resigned from the civil-rights organization before he could guide it back to relevance, where it hasn't been for 20 years."

"Gordon's business acumen, rational philosophy, moderate politics and straight talk irritated board members used to the confrontational style of the civil-rights activists and politicians who'd led the group since its founding."

"Gordon's departure is one of the worst things to happen to the NAACP. It may not recover, seemingly unable to face an ugly reality that Gordon understands: Racism no longer is the greatest obstacle to black progress.

"We black people are our own obstacle to progress, both as a group and as individuals. Listen to
Gordon in a June 2006 interview with Ebony: 'We sometimes get so caught up in what other people aren't doing for us that we don't pay attention to what we are not doing for us. So we as a community have to find the right balance . . . It starts off with knowing the issues . . . and being able to quantify the issues.'"

"If the post-Gordon NAACP is to regain real viability, it must follow Gordon's lead and become introspective. In short, the organization must look inward for solutions to what ails black America."

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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