Practice What You Preach, Mr. Bond by La Shawn M. Barber
"African Americans properly reject as racist allegations from others that we all think, look and act alike. Why should we impose these reactionary notions on one another?" -- Julian Bond
Now that's more like it, Mr. Bond. This is what we need to hear from prominent black people like yourself.
Julian Bond, leader of black liberals and chairman of the NAACP's board, wrote these words in an op-ed to The Washington Post (9/1/02) in reaction to the depiction of Anthony Williams as not "black enough" to be mayor of Washington, D.C. Mr. Bond rightly denounces D.C.'s black liberals who hold this stereotype. He contends that deciding on a political candidate based on their degree of "blackness" is a "foolish and dangerous phenomenon."
If he could only talk that way in real life.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bond's eloquent words don't jibe with his speech given at the NAACP's recent 93rd annual national convention. In his "Freedom Under Fire" keynote address, his commentary on race relations in America fluctuated between leftist hate speech and hypocrisy.
This is the same man who, in his speech, called black conservatives "ventriloquist dummies...[who] speak in their puppet master's voice..." because they hold views contrary to those of black liberals like himself.
Wait a minute, Mr. Bond, if it is racist for whites to imagine we all think, look and act alike, why do black liberals impose their "reactionary notions" on black conservatives by reducing the argument to name-calling?
This is the same man who, in his speech, called Ward Connerly of California a "fraud" because the man is against race-based preferences.
Mr. Bond says, "As a longtime and now nonpartisan observer of African American politics..."
Huh? Chairman of the Board of the NAACP, a nonpartisan observer?
This is the same man who, in his speech, said that a "right wing conspiracy" is operating in the White House and the executive branch.
This is the same man who, in his speech, said that black, independent thinkers are "black hustlers and hucksters" on the payrolls of those in this "conspiracy."
He adds, "...My NAACP position requires nonpartisanship."
Does he want us to believe the NAACP is nonpartisan, or just it's leadership? Now I'm really confused.
The modern-day NAACP, which stands for racial division, grievance-shopping and anti-American posturing, nonpartisan? This once-grand organization stood between real racial oppression and bigotry like a shield. Racial justice and equal opportunity were the goals, even equal opportunity for diverse opinions. Today, the NAACP is an aging organization in need of fresh blood, fresh ideas, and fresh leadership.
In his speech, Mr. Bond said, "They [white conservatives] can't deal with the leaders we choose for ourselves -- so they manufacture, promote, and hire new ones."
This is the same man who is a member of the black liberal community that selects "leaders" for black America. In his world, black conservatives are not even free to be, let alone free to choose leaders. I don't know about you, but my leaders are not of the self-appointed, old-school, race-baiting persuasion.
Unfortunately, problems of race in America are not fully resolved, nor will they ever be with "leaders" like Julian Bond. Read the transcript of his speech given at the convention, and you'll see what he thinks of black people who disagree with his notion of "civil rights."
He writes, "Silly charges about adherence to an imaginary black aesthetic based on college choices, speech patterns, clothing styles and leisure activities cheapen the political process."
Mr. Bond forgot to add that silly charges about adherence to an imaginary black aesthetic based on different political ideologies also cheapens the political process.
He correctly notes in his op-ed that the accusation of "insufficient blackness" refers not to skin color but to "language, education and personal style." He didn't go far enough. "Blackness", according the black liberals, refers also to exhibiting "black" behavior, stirring up racial tension, and voting for Democrats.
Anyone who shares these attributes have a place in Mr. Bond's organization. In his speech, he said, "...at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, we believe colored people come in all colors. Anyone who shares our values and mission is more than welcome."
Now that sounds more like the Julian Bond I know.
La Shawn M. Barber is a Washington, DC-based writer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
La Shawn Barber
Wednesday, October 30, 2002