In re: The Advancement of Colored People

If there’s one thing that 2016 has taught us, it’s that there’s no downside in seizing on every opportunity to cast people in the worst possible light, especially when it advances your political cause.

So when a governor can’t get his opponents to agree that providing an adequate public education to mostly African American children trapped by poverty and failing schools is a worthwhile and important goal and that Governor points out the hypocrisy of an organization opposing his goal by hoisting them up on their own name –it’s just an opportunity to use the most overused term of our era and call him a “raaaa-cist.”

What Governor Deal said was “The irony of some of the groups who are opposing doing something to help these minority children is beyond my logic. If you want to advance the state of colored people, start with their children.

The group to which Governor Deal was referring was the NAACP, an acronym that stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Maybe Governor Deal should have hammed it up a little more, and raised his hands to put sarcastic air quotes around the word “advance.” But he’s a Governor, not some late-night comedy clown.

Let the historical record note that even though it was not Nathan Deal who gave the NAACP their name, he’s now being pilloried because he dared to point out that a group that names itself with words is not in fact doing those words.

The NAACP isn’t “advancing” anybody’s lot in life by opposing the Opportunity School District amendment. They’re just being self-righteous hypocrites.

These remarks were made over a month ago -which makes them, much like Dale Russell, pretty old for news. But let’s review the media rules for proper speech again.

In this country, there are only two colors: “White” and “African American,” but white is not colored.

Any person, even a white one, may use the term ‘people of color’ or ‘person of color,’ as long as they are not describing a white person.

The NAACP shall be referred to as only the “En Double-Ehh See Pee,” and any attempt to use the organization’s name in any form other than an acronym shall be “racially charged.”

The “C” in “NAACP” stands for “African American.”

Pointing out that “Advancement” was once a part of the NAACP’s name and mission is racially insensitive, especially when they aren’t doing any of it.

Trying to solve problems of racial inequity, income inequality, or lack of educational opportunity by proposing something will never be as important as manufacturing phony outrage.

And most importantly: Never let a genuine solution get in the way of a juicy headline.

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edatlanta
edatlanta

“If there’s one thing that 2016 has taught us, it’s that there’s no downside in seizing on every opportunity to cast people in the worst possible light, especially when it advances your political cause.”

Sorry you had to lose your naivete this year.

Jared
Jared

Your point is well made, but it’s a two-way street. As you describe, Governor Deal publicly characterized the NAACP as hypocrites who are violating their own mission statement by opposing his plan. Isn’t that casting people “in the worst possible light, especially when it advances your political cause”? Deal doesn’t exactly have the high ground here.

Benevolus
Benevolus

Premise: “So when a governor can’t get his opponents to agree that providing an adequate public education to mostly African American children trapped by poverty and failing schools is a worthwhile and important goal…”

Anything to back up this statement? Who did not agree with this goal?

And by “opponents” do you mean opponents to OSD, or is this meant more generally. The statement isn’t clear about that.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Thanks for the whitesplaining, Mike. I know people of color are often confused about how they should feel about issues like these and it always helps to have a white person around to tell them whether or not they should be offended. You’re doing the Lord’s work. You do realize, however, that you’re using the logic of “well if they can say the n-word, why can’t I? I mean, the group isn’t called African Americans With Attitude.” The NAACP was founded in 1909 and “colored” was the most positive descriptor out there at the time. Just like the United Negro… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

Thanks for doing some clarification, ACP. Also, Mike, when I read your post, what I heard was an awful lot of frustration premised over a word choice and the response, themselves built upon the foundation of the strong opposition to the Amendment. But you used the opportunity to get into detail about how you perceive racially-conscious policy and political concerns, and how we communicate about race. On one hand, I give you credit for your honesty and for starting a conversation. On the other, I hope you explore some of your frustrations on a very deep level, to make sure… Read more »

gcp
gcp

Deal’s remarks were obviously in reference to the NAACP but yes he could have worded his statement differently. Now I will divert slightly to relate a personal experience. Several weeks ago I was at a work site in metro Atlanta (it was not a construction site). The work group (approximately 17 or 18 males) consisted of blacks, whites, Hispanics and one Asian. While on break I was seated near a group of three black males one in his mid twenties, the other two early thirties. Their conversation included frequent use of that word commonly referred to as the “N” word.… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

This is not that hard to understand once you accept the premise: You can get away with a lot if it is not delivered in antagonism.

Love is the answer.

gcp
gcp

Nothing wrong with an opposing of view but it’s just that some folks can get away with saying certain unacceptable things while others are criticized for saying something that is much milder.

Benevolus
Benevolus

Well we certainly can’t have that.