Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are my own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the NAACP, my associates or advertisers.
On Thursday, I skimmed a few of blogs on my list and came across a provocative article on What About Our Daughters (WAOD) titled Ben Jealous Should Resign: Ben Jealous, Roland S. Martin, White House Shank Grandmother in the Back by Gina, the Blogmother. WAOD describes itself as “unapologetic, uncompromising, and unbowed in defense of Black women and girls.” Discussing the Shirley Sherrod controversy, the article focused all of its vitriol at Black men and organizations including NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, CNN commentator Roland S. Martin and President Barack Obama.
Amazingly, the article did NOT criticize, condemn or even mention the most culpable parties, right wing Tea Party blogger Andrew Breitbart and FOX News. Mr. Breitbart posted the deceptively edited video and gave it to FOX News. FOX News repeatedly broadcasted the bogus news story and later downplayed their role in spreading the controversy. Mr. Breitbart is “unapologetic” about deliberately tarnishing Ms. Sherrod’s name. In retaliation for the NAACP’s condemnation of the racist elements within the Tea Party movement, Mr. Breitbart used the tape as a means to discredit the NAACP as “racist". As far as Mr. Breitbart is concerned, Ms. Sherrod was expendable collateral damage.
Conversely, when the NAACP discovered its error, the Association promptly apologized, posted the entire video and asked the Obama Administration to reconsider its decision to fire Ms. Sherrod. The video footage vindicated Ms. Sherrod. Subsequently, USDA Secretary Mr. Vilsack and the President apologized to Ms. Sherrod and offered her a new job. Again, WAOD oddly failed to condemn or mention the actions of Mr. Breitbart and FOX News. However, WAOD had no problem trashing the NAACP, President Obama and Roland Martin.
After reading WAOD’s article, I expressed my concerns regarding this omission. Essentially, I wondered, “Why are some African Americans so eager to tear each other African Americans down and so willing to excuse or gloss over the wrongdoings of other ethnic groups?” I asked WAOD, “Are you concerned about the racist signs and racist members of the Tea Party?” I raised other concerns as well in the comment section. See the comment section of Ben Jealous Should Resign for the details.
During the discussion, WAOD and other commentators asked me if I worked for the NAACP. I did not respond to that question for two reasons. First, I did not want to create the impression that I was officially speaking for the NAACP. I was speaking as an individual. The Association has designated spokespersons. Second, the name of my employer has absolutely no logical bearing on the validity of my arguments. Arguments stand or fall based on their logic or illogic. My intent was not to deceive. If any of WAOD's commentators clicked the link to my blog, they would have quickly discovered that I work for the NAACP. WAOD's detective work was unnecessary. Moreover, I was NOT paid or instructed to comment on the WAOD article.
In response to my comments, WAOD posted a misleading article titled NAACP Legal Goons Invade WAOD Comment Section Following Calls for Jealous to Resign. Instead of presenting a substantive, cogent response in the article, WAOD’s resorted to gossip mongering, fallacious ad hominem attacks, bully tactics and puerile name calling. As WAOD stated in the comment section, “Y'all do realize that once they start calling you names. They have run out of arguments. So you win.” It is easy to attack the person making the arguments. It is far more difficult to refute sound arguments. As stated is the Nizkor Project website, “The character, circumstance, or actions of a person do not have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made.”
To date, WAOD has not provided any substantive responses to the issues that I have raised.
I realize that sexism is an issue that the African American community must confront. I acknowledge that no organization or individual is beyond criticism. All organizations, leaders and politicians should be held accountable.
Nonetheless, the dialogue should remain civil. Brothers and sisters should not fight each other. Such conflict only benefits the right wing opposition. The extremist right wing opposition wants to “take our country back” to the pre-civil rights era. Rather than simply bashing the Nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, WAOD, as a "defender of Black women and girls", should focus at least SOME of its criticism and energy on such racist elements of the Tea Party.