Tag Archives: NAACP

Amarillo school may get an ID change

Amarillo public school officials are about to jump with both feet into a national debate over the naming of public buildings after Confederate icons.

At issue is the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School, which sits in the midst of the city’s African-American community.

Amarillo Independent School District trustees are going to discuss on Monday whether to change the name of the school.

My own preference? Change the name.

This entire Confederate name-change discussion erupted in the wake of that riot in Charlottesville, Va., when counter protesters clashed with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen who gathered to protest the taking down of a statute of Gen. Lee.

The Amarillo NAACP chapter favors changing the name. No surprise there. NAACP chapter president Floyd Anthony says Gen. Lee’s name on a public building that serves a hugely African-American student body — and their parents — is a slap in the face to those residents.

He makes a good point.

Gen. Lee led the Confederate States of America army that fought against the United States of America. They committed an act of treason by seceding from the Union. Why did they secede? They fought to something called “states’ rights,” which was code for allowing states to continuing the enslavement of human beings.

They were black human beings.

The war killed 600,000 people. It was the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history.

More than 150 years later, the vestiges of that war remain with these public monuments to the men who stood foursquare against the Union.

And spare me the “heritage” argument. The Confederate battle flag has become the very symbol of hate groups such as the KKK. Do we want to honor the Klan? I think not.

To the Amarillo ISD board members, I wish them good luck as they ponder their potentially huge decision.

I hope it’s the correct one.

‘Diversity’ needs a broader definition

Rachel Dolezal has quit her post as head of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Why is that big deal? She’s the white woman who ran the organization, declared she is African-American, even though her obviously white parents say she lied about her racial identity.


She’s going to move on, I guess, to pursue other interests, as they say.

Here, though, is where I think this story needs to be told in fuller fashion.

Why is it such a bad thing for a white person to head an NAACP chapter? The only serious misdeed here has been Dolezal’s lying about her race. She changed her appearance over many years. She darkened her skin, curled her hair, married an African-American man, with whom she had two children. She “identified” more with black Americans than with white Americans. That’s all fine.

But she lied about her race.

Back to my point. Why did she have to lie to become accepted by the Spokane NAACP chapter?

I’ve noted before that the organization’s name doesn’t stipulate any racial requirement. Individuals can become champions for the “advancement” of a race of people, even though they aren’t of that particular race. Can’t they do that?

The NAACP has white people in its rank-and-file membership. These are individuals dedicated to the cause of advancing the fortunes of Americans whose ancestors once were enslaved by other Americans. Theirs is a noble cause.

It also speaks to the issue of racial diversity. If we are to proclaim the need to diversify the ranks of, say, elected bodies, such as Congress, to include more African-Americans or other “people of color,” then it stands to reason that we could issue calls to diversify the leadership of organizations dedicated to helping ethnic and racial minorities. That would include the NAACP.

So what, then, if Rachel Dolezal is white. Had she merely been truthful about her background, her DNA, her heritage, there ought to be no problem at all with her serving as head of an NAACP chapter.

However, she’s a liar, and liars aren’t to be trusted, no matter their race.


Clear it up, Rachel: Are your white parents lying?


Rachel Dolezal is going to set the record straight Monday … she says.

The head of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is going to tell us whether she’s white or black.

This clearly is one of the stranger stories any of us — white or black — has seen in, oh, since the last strange story burst on the scene.

? http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/naacp-leader-to-speak-monday-parents-say-she-lied-on-race/ar-BBl53nJ

Dolezal’s parents, from whom she’s estranged, says their daughter has been lying about her race. She claims to be black. Her parents, who are white, have produced pictures of her as a fair-skinned blond girl. Her hair now is curly; her skin is considerably darker.

She’s been strangely coy about answering a direct and succinct question: Are you white? He answer to a question from a Spokane Spokesman-Review reporter: “That question is not as easy as it seems. There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.”

“We’re all from the African continent.”

What the … ? My head is about to explode. Actually, the question seems more than “easy.”

The NAACP is backing Dolezal. Her parents, who live in Montana, said she’s been misrepresenting herself.

I’ve noted already that the NAACP’s very name doesn’t require one to be African-American to join, let alone assume a leadership position. Indeed, the organization was founded by a white person.

But as I look at Dolezal’s picture as a little girl — that’s her in both frames attached to this blog post — she looks pretty darn white to me.

Please, please, Rachel … explain yourself.


It’s the lying, Rachel, that causes problems

Rachel Dolezal’s secret is out.

She’s not black. She’s white. Yet she heads the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The question of her race/ethnicity has prompted a tempest in the Pacific Northwest.


My view? It’s not that she’s white that ought to be so troublesome. It’s the lying.

She’s contended she’s black. Both of her parents are white. Her childhood pictures show her, as described in the link, as a “pasty blonde” girl. Her appearance today looks much different.

This story might even be weirder than, say, the Dennis Hastert alleged cover-up about hush money.

One question keeps gnawing at me: Do the NAACP membership requirements stipulate someone has to be a “colored person”?

The very title of the organization doesn’t say categorically that NAACP members must be African-American. It says it works toward “the advancement” of “colored people.” White people can do that, too, correct?

The saddest part of the story perhaps is that Dolezal’s parents are revealing the lies as well. The NAACP stands behind her — so far.

As for the question posed to her recently about whether she’s African-American, she offered a sly answer, which is that all humans hail from Africa.

My head is spinning over this one.

When is a debt ever repaid in full?

Shari Thomas committed a terrible crime.

She was sentenced to prison. She served 18 years behind bars. Her debt to society was repaid. She was released and she has sought to get on with her life.

Then something got in her way. It was her past.


Thomas’s story is not uncommon among those who have been sent to prison.

In her case, she killed the man who she said had abused her as a child. The crime took place a quarter-century ago. Now that she’s out of prison, she has sought to restart her life. Employers, though, still see her as a criminal. She cannot escape her past.

Her record is clean. She earned a master’s degree while behind bars. Thomas has sought to improve herself and by all accounts she’s been a model citizen since stepping out from her incarceration.

As the Washington Post reported: “In the past few years, perhaps because of the nation’s abiding fear of crime, its litigiousness, or the Internet’s ease at churning up background information that may not have surfaced before, Thomas has been rejected or terminated from several high-paying jobs.

“She had been making $150,000 six years ago. Now she is on food stamps. Sheetz, Wal-Mart and other retailers have turned her down for jobs. She could lose her Cecil County, Md., home.”

Is that fair? I think not.

The Post reports that Thomas is one of about 600,000 former prisoners who are let out each year. Many of them end up back in prison. “Thomas is not the only ex-convict asking for a second chance. But because she was a violent offender, her path to acceptance is hardest, even as Americans reconsider long-standing views of crime and punishment,” the Post reports.

Thomas asks: “When is enough enough?”

One idea being considered, is a move to “Ban the Box.” According to the Post: “To break the cycle, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and other organizations have been pushing ‘Ban the Box’ legislation that would prohibit employers, during preliminary screening, from disqualifying job seekers on the basis of a criminal record. Fourteen states and the District have signed on to such policies, as have 100 cities and counties, according to the National Employment Law Project.”

Sure, employers ought to know as much as is relevant about prospective employees. But why disqualify someone automatically if they check the “the Box” that says they served prison time?

If they’ve been model citizens, such as Shari Thomas, then their debt to society is repaid in full.

Correct? Then let them back fully into society.

Sharpton charged with racial discrimination? Oh, my!

Who in this world ever saw this one coming?

Al Sharpton, the rabble-rouser turned civil rights activist has been accused of discriminating against black-owned companies. Sharpton has earned much criticism over many years for a variety of issues, but this one caught me by surprise.


A lawsuit alleges that Comcast and Time Warner discriminated against black-owned companies and then paid Sharpton and other civil rights activists significant sums of money to “whitewash” the practices of the media giants. The suit also names the NAACP in its complaint. I cannot even catch my breath after reading this.

Sharpton’s fiercest critics have leveled “race-baiter” charges against him. Indeed, the head of the National Action Network burst onto the national stage by alleging some New York City police officers brutalized a young African-American woman, Tawana Brawley. He leveled despicable allegations against several officers — naming them publicly — in defense of Brawley.

Well, it turned out young Tawana made it up. She wasn’t sodomized, as she had contended. The officers sued Sharpton for defamation of character — and won! Sharpton to this day has not apologized for his role in this terrible story. But he managed to shed the infamy he earned from that event and has become a civil rights icon of sorts. He shows up everywhere, taking up for those who have been victimized by those who commit acts of racial discrimination. Now we have this matter with which Sharpton must contend.

According to the Washington Post: “The lawsuit, seeking $20 billion, was filed in Los Angeles federal court Friday by Entertainment Studios, a television company founded by black producer and comedian Byron Allen and the National Association of African-American Owned Media (NAAAOM). The complaint, which comes as regulators mull a $45-billion merger between Comcast and TWC, alleges that Comcast has refused to do business with Allen and other black media executives.” Sharpton, of course, denies the allegation.

His MSNBC “Politics Nation” talk show, which he has hosted since 2011, already has been suffering from poor ratings. Whether he remains on the air is up to the network, of course.

But back to my original question: Who saw this one coming? Not me. Something deep down there is telling me Sharpton’s TV career is on the ropes.

New poll: O.J. did it

Time has a way of healing wounds, they say. It also has a way of changing hearts and minds, apparently.

A new CNN poll says that most African-Americans now believe O.J. Simpson killed his former wife and her friend in that gruesome knife attack 20 years ago.


The poll was done by CNN/ORC International, a reputable polling outfit.

So, why the change in heart?

A couple of things come to mind.

* A new generation of Americans has come along since the so-called “trial of the century” acquitted Simpson after an eight-month circus act in that Los Angeles Superior courtroom. You’ll recall the video recorded reaction to the acquittal, which a jury reached after just four hours of deliberation.

White Americans were crushed; African-Americans were jubilant. Many white Americans sobbed; African-Americans cheered, laughed, high-fived and embraced.

The state of race relations wasn’t good in southern California at the time, you’ll also remember. A black man, Rodney King, was beaten senseless by some white police officers, who then were acquitted of wrong-doing in that beat down. The verdict enraged African-Americans, who then rioted.

Three years later came the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

O.J. went on trial and the rest is history, correct?

That brings me to the second reason for the change in attitudes.

* Despite the jubilation felt in the African-American community over Simpson’s acquittal, it became immediately clear that Simpson was not going to give back any of the love and affection he felt from his fellow African-Americans. He sought to return immediately to the life he enjoyed prior to the murder. Did he avail himself to troubled black youth, or did he work as a violence counselor with minorities? No. Was he a high-profile presence at, say United Negro College Fund events or at NAACP gatherings? Nope.

He played golf at exclusive courses and sought to ingratiate himself with gambling interests.

How do you think that looked to those who cheered his acquittal? I’m betting it didn’t look good at all.

He ended up getting sued in civil court by the Goldman family, who won a multimillion-dollar settlement after a jury determined Simpson was responsible for the deaths of Nicole and Goldman. And after that? He was arrested for assault in a case involving the recovery of some keepsake items. Another jury convicted him of that crime and sent him to prison, where he remains to this day.

And remember when Simpson said he would move heaven and Earth to find the “real killers”? He had the chance before getting tossed into the slammer. I’d bet real money he didn’t lift a finger.