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Color Me Kweisi

The NAACP Marches Into Irrelevance

For a quick fix on how a particular organization sees itself and its purposes, inspect its official name, especially if the organization dates from a more forthright and transparent time, when assorted reformers wore their hearts on their letterheads. The purpose, the raison d'être, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded in the last month of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency, is—well, what else would it be? To "advance"—to push forward, aggressively but lawfully—the interests of Americans who in former times called themselves "colored" and have come to prefer "black" or "African-American."

I know it is an obvious point. I raise it just to show how little sense it would make to expect the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to spend time and resources "advancing" the Celtic or Hispanic or Albanian interest Or, for that matter, the interests of plain old unhyphenated Africans (although the NAACP, as self-designated voice of the diaspora, gives occasional lip service to the concerns of the homeland).

Inevitably, and you might even say commendably, the NAACP performs the job it believes its charter stipulates. But it would hardly be honest to let the matter rest right there—not with all that is going on now at the NAACP under President Kweisi Mfume.

Whatever the...

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