The Register's Dec. 8 editorial , "NAACP weaves Itself back into the community," indicates that the Sandusky NAACP has been "reborn." The word "reborn" indicated that the NAACP was dead. The members of the NAACP voted in Darwitt Garrett, who was the choice of the majority of those who voted. Thereafter, a decision was made to change leadership. The NAACP was no more "reborn" with a change in leadership than the United States was "reborn" when President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew were removed from office and replaced by an "un-elected" vice president.
Your article states that Garrett played the "race card" too often, "to the point where he couldn't be taken seriously." Let your readers know when it was that Garrett played the "race card," and you took him seriously, and what you did about it. There had to be a first time that Garrett played the "race card." Did you believe him then? What about the second time? The third? Let's be frank, when has your paper ever agreed with the NAACP, before or after Garrett's tenure, that a public or private institution was racist or discriminatory? When has your paper ever come out and indicated that someone, who didn't admit that they were discriminatory or racist, was in fact discriminatory or racist? Whether garrett played the "race card" one or a million times, at no time did you believe him. It is not about Mr. Garrett, it is about the NAACP and your view that the whole local organization should be pacifists.
Garrett put the "civil rights" back into this venerable civil rights organization. You labeled Garrett as too "confrontational" and "militant." Confrontational means to confront. Militant means "engaged in warfare or combat; fighting aggressively active (as in a cause); combative." In the civil rights struggle that is exactly what you want, a fighter. Are you saying that it is proper to be confrontational, just don't be too confrontational? When confronting racism and making allegations of racism against institutions, Garrett never used violence, he only used words. If Garrett did not engage in violence, how could he be too "confrontational and militant"? How can words be too "confrontational and militant"? Why does the Register advocate for a non-confrontational or non-militant leader for the NAACP?
Your editorial stated, "The group should continue to look for balance between social activities and social action. It is good for the health of group to have some light activities where the main thing being worked on is fellowship. These activities will make it fun for people to join." You can't be serious. Perhaps a better choice of words would be to "dilute" social action with social activities. I would remind your editorial staff that the black community has numerous churches for "fellowship" and numerous organizations for social activities. However we have one civil rights organization, to be just that, regardless of what the Register feels it should be.
To think that NAACP should "balance social activities and social action" and have "fun" is to demean the hundreds of people who have sacrificed and died for the goals and aspirations of the NAACP. The purpose of the NAACP is the achieving of civil rights. We as a people, black people, were raped, enslaved, lynched, discriminated against in a country that was built on "freedom." We had to sue, sit in, demonstrate, fight, die and do a host of things just to get to the position we are at now. Because of man's inhumanity to man in the United States of America an organization such as the NAACP was created. It wasn't created so that it would be "fun to join." It was created out of necessity to fight the evils of racism.
What statistics do you use as a guide to think that black children will not join the NAACP unless it is "fun." Apparently you believe that black children are not committed unless there is a jovial fun-and-games atmosphere. Once again you have no concept or basis upon which to opine your misguided statement. You belittle all the hard working responsible mothers and fathers who raise their children to do the right thing, by thinking only "fun and games" can get our children involved in activism and civic activities.
On Nov. 25, New York police fired 50 rounds at a car of unarmed men leaving a bachelor party at a club, killing the groom on his wedding day in a shooting that drew a furious outcry from family members and community leaders. You cannot name a month that a young black man has not been killed at the hands of the police in the United States of America. How much "fun and games" do you think the groomsman will need as motivation to join a civil rights organization to redress the death of the groom? Your take on the NAACP is that it should trivialize the historical background and turn the organization into a "fun" organization is reprehensible. Not only is utterly shocking and insensitive, it proves the point as to why there should be more Darwitts. The fact that a paper in 2006 would state that the NAACP should cater to "fun," underscores the fact of how ineffectual the NAACP has become and how far it has fallen.
You close your editorial by stating, "We also applaud the NAACP for reaching out to people of all skin colors. Input from people of different backgrounds in necessary and can be productive." Since when has the NAACP been a closed organization? Once again you miss the point or just utterly failed at doing any meaningful research or homework on the subject matter. The NAACP was started and created by whites, Jews and African Americans. There is no need to "reach" out to people of "all skin colors" because whites and Jews were and are an integral to the very fabric of the NAACP. Most of the NAACP awards are named for those valiant whites and Jews who helped create the organization. Has anyone from the Sandusky Register been denied membership in the NAACP?
You say "the fight for equality is not finished." If that is the case what are you doing to see that the fight is won? Why is equality just a NAACP issue and not a local, state and national issue? Is the Register part of the "community" that the new NAACP is weaved into? Are we not all included in the fight for "equality" in Iraq? Why does the fight for equality have to stop at the United States border? When is the Register going to be confrontational and militant about the racism and lack of equality in editorial? What is the Sandusky Register prepared to do? Why can't the Register "out" some of these governmental offices in Erie, Huron and Ottawa County that do not hire blacks and minorities proportionately? Perhaps the new NAACP and the Register can get together and have a list of private industries and business that hire 10 percent minority and those that do not. You could list the businesses like the health department lists restaurants as "acceptable" and "unacceptable" in their hiring practices. That would be "informational" and "non-confrontational" and it could even be "fun."
All the Ida Alexanders and Darwitt Garretts combined can not do as much as the Register can do to eliminate and expose the fraud and corruption of racism, along with the inequities that you readily admit are apparent. What is the Register's excuse for its inaction in the civil rights struggle? I once read:
"Muckrakers, those great investigative journalists who expose fraud and corruption in high places. Let them not only expose frauds and corruptions, let them also be the moral guides and leaders of the society, writing with a deep love for people of this world, and forever fighting for their rights and freedoms!" (paraphrased)
If you admit that the fight for "equality is not finished" then your help is needed. Is investigative reporting and exposing inequities only for papers like the New York Times and Washington Post?
The Register enjoys the same constitutional freedom of the press as the larger newspapers so why not the same type of activism? I urge the Register to join the NAACP and be part of its community.
If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.