Kweisi Mfume is leaving his job as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and his resignation should be a source of rejoicing for not only the membership of that civil rights organization, but for all Americans black and white.
For all of the nine years he has served as the NAACP’s head, Mfume has been one of the nation’s most divisive voices. Under his leadership the NAACP has become nothing less than a rabid race-baiting group. During his presidency I have heard little else from Mfume other than his incessant repetition of the canard that every problem plaguing the world, and the black community in particular, can be blamed on white America.
Along with Jesse Jackson, Mfume has refused to face the real problem from which their African-American brothers and sisters are suffering, and it isn’t solved by blaming everything on slavery. The issue is fatherless homes. And their failure to speak out about children being born out of wedlock should not be surprising; neither one of them has the credibility to discuss it, both being guilty of fathering children out of wedlock.
So rather than talk about that burning issue, they rant and rave about the white man’s guilt for slavery, an issue settled over a century and a half ago, when hundreds of thousands of white men died to put an end to it.
If the NAACP has any hope of really advancing the prospects and the welfare of the black community, it has to stop blaming white America and start facing the problem of kids growing up without the love and guidance of a father in their homes. And they need to have a leader who has both the credibility and the courage to tackle that issue head-on. One who won’t blame whitey and will tell black America to look in the mirror and ask what they can do to help their own people and be honest about the issue of fatherless homes much in the way as Bill Cosby has been honest with his fellow African-Americans.
Cosby chastises the African-American community for its rates of juvenile delinquency, its parenting, the coarse language of its youth. You can do better, he tells his fellow blacks. Don’t let yourself be victims, and especially don’t let the poorest in the community let themselves be victims.
“This is about little children … and people not giving them better choices,” he told Paula Zahn in an interview for CNN’s Paula Zahn Now. “Talking. Talking. Parenting. Correctly parenting. That’s what it’s about. And you can’t blame other things. You got to — you got to straighten up your house. Straighten up your apartment. Straighten up your child.”
Getting this across is not an easy job, as the courageous Cosby has learned. None of us wants to face reality, to look at ourselves as we really are. It’s easier to play victim, and the Mfumes and the Jacksons have been all too ready to help convince black America of their victimhood. And it keeps the money rolling in.
The victim’s mantra goes like this: “It’s comforting for us to avoid taking responsibility for our self-created problems by proclaiming that that we are the way we are because of you. We are way we are because of what happened in the 19th century. It’s not because we lived in a fatherless home and there was no strong hand to help raise us. We are what we are because somebody to whom we might be related to was once enslaved.”
And what Mfume’s NAACP has done is to foster that lie. It’s time to do a makeover and replace the “blame whitey” chorus of the Mfumes and Jacksons and Al Sharptons with the Bill Cosbys and get people who understand what Bill Cosby is saying and act on it.
If the NAACP really wants to empower the advancement of African Americans they’ll find leaders who have the best interests of their fellow blacks and are willing to raise their voices to help the black community face and solve their own problems.
I have a couple of candidates. How about replacing Mfume with Bill Cosby or Jesse Lee Peterson from BOND or even Colin Powell who’s about to be at large. They have the credibility and the guts to face the problem head-on.
©2004 Mike Reagan. You must contact us if you would like to print this column in your publication or post on the internet. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561