The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is one of the greatest American institutions ever formed. Today’s leaders stand on the shoulders of giants who went before them like W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Thurgood Marshall.
It, therefore, brings me no joy to say this once venerable, storied, and courageous group today debases itself as a Democrat advocacy organization. Its unserious activities nowadays are good mainly to advance the already high social and economic status of upper crust virtue signalers of every race and color. Its generous funders should, and can, find a better place to direct their resources.
Recent evidence of the NAACP’s sullying of its good name is a May 20 “travel advisory” its Board of Directors issued against the state of Florida. A Board, mind you, chaired by a longtime Florida resident.
In its warning, the organization claims black Americans need to “understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans.” It goes on to state that because of the restrictions Governor Ron DeSantis has placed on teaching children controversial subjects such as queer theory as black history—a required grade school subject—and limiting state funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in colleges, Florida is “openly hostile toward African Americans.”
As a black Florida Man and civil rights lawyer, I can attest that this could not be further from the truth. But don’t take my word for it.
Recently, the Brookings Institution issued a report on what it called “A ‘New Great Migration.’” The report showed that between the years 2015 and 2020, black people were reversing the “Black Migration” of the early to mid-20th Century by moving back to the South in droves from urban areas mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. In that period, tens of thousands of black people moved to Florida making it among the top 3 most popular relocation destinations in the country.
Moreover, in 2019, PEW Research found that Florida had the second-largest black immigrant population in the country. The growth in that demographic since 2000 is larger than the entire 2019 black immigrant populations of Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Nevada, and Washington combined.
Florida is also home to the 0% income tax, one of the lowest black unemployment rates in the country, has a crime rate that has trended downward for half a century, and is a leading state for school choice. Don’t get me started on the weather and natural beauty.
It seems, then, black people are perfectly happy moving to, living in, and enjoying prosperity in Florida. In fact, some black business owners in Florida are more concerned about the loss of commerce the NAACP travel advisory might cause than the state’s alleged dangers.
So, why would an organization created to advance the lot of black Americans peddle in such harmful disinformation? One word: politics.
The NAACP has turned into an elite progressive arm of the Democrat political apparatus that chafes at a state functioning very well under exceedingly popular Republican leadership. And with the recent DeSantis presidential announcement, it seems eager to tarnish that reputation lest it be elevated to the national consciousness.
One could forgive the rank partisanship of the NAACP if only it also issued advisories for truly bad places for black people to visit or live. Places like, say, Chicago where blacks are more likely to be shot and killed than almost anywhere else in the country. Or Baltimore—where the NAACP has maintained its headquarters all of my life—where overwhelming numbers of black kids can’t read or do simple math. But no, that would irritate its Democrat friends who have run those places into the ground.
Or one might turn a blind eye to clear partisanship if the NAACP actually focused on “the challenges faced by African Americans” that it slanders Florida of devaluing. Challenges that we know disproportionately include poverty, maintaining the nuclear family, and educational opportunities for children. Instead, its focus is on radically ideological matters such as climate change and skin-deep diversity and other identity politics measures that mostly benefit the wealthy and well-off.
Above all, its mainstay is to preserve racial grievance, guilt, and division such that a U.S. president might make such a silly and ingratiating claim as white supremacy being the greatest terrorism threat to the country. It’s no wonder the working class has all but abandoned the Democrat party.
Good meaning people joined the NAACP, funded its activities, and continue to do so. I say stop. The group has failed to live up to the proverb that to whom much is given, much will be required.
Support is badly needed, instead, for organizations serious about ensuring progress for poor and disadvantaged Americans, many of whom happen to be black, by offering alternative methods and approaches for closing achievement disparities and promoting equality for all.
Devon Westhill is the president and general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity.
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