Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why Are Some African Americans So Eager to Tear Other African Americans Down???!!!???

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.


  1. The whole affair was embarrassing and sad. The NAACP, USDA, FOX News and bloghaters will have to deal with the humiliation and aftermath for some time.

    Kudos to the NAACP and others for apologizing, but it'll take more time to heal. Only one week ago we were celebrating the NAACP for calling out the TParty, and the Williams resignation confirmed it. Then the extreme right attacked in a viciously, deceptively.

    As usual, people have short term memories focusing more on the negatives than
    the accomplishments. It's easier to throw the NAACP, or what appears to be it's sitting stooge Ben Jealous , under the bus than move forward ( Ms Sherrod's words)

  2. I understand Gina's position on this one. Fox News did what they are expected to do. They "stayed in their lane." Problem is, the organization we'd all expect to check the messenger did the opposite - and bought the Fox News story hook-line-and-sinker. That's just lazy. And costly. And one of the reasons I don't have an ounce of interest/faith in the NAACP. At least this story had more substance than the attack on Hallmark. I'm just saying...

  3. Anson.

    Heads up;

    Initially, i thought the site "what about our daughters" was meant to offer support. NOT. Though there is a reflective contribution by former NAACP staff Amy Alexander, it's being used to completely discredit the President Ben Jealous and the NAACP. I do agree, change needs to happen in the NAACP, but not like this. Her blog is confusing for I've noticed a number of black conservative bloggers are on the site pretending to support women but bashing the organization at any cost.

  4. . . . Attorneymom being one example of conservative tparty black bloggers on this site. Needs to get called out. I'm under the impression the blog is a sham that does feed a conservative AA base and other devisive elemrnts. There is no mention of Breitbart or any of the right. Interesting. And then are people like me who were fooled into believing it was for AA women to make a difference.

    The claim is that Ben doesn't write his own op Ed, and sounds like the mfume chavis syndrome is being hinted at. This all being validated through the former NAACP staff Amy Alrxander's " don't call me shirley . . ."

  5. @Head ups...I have reached the same conclusion. WAOD recently posted three consecutive articles trashing the NAACP. None of them criticize FOX News or Breitbart. Clearly, WAOD and Breitbart have the same agenda, to discredit the NAACP by any means necessary.

  6. I have to admit, I added to the flames not being aware something was odd about the site. I think many AA females go to the site under false impressions, after Sherrod. I did lose a certain amount of respect for Ben after this, but greatly appreciate his courage outing the TParty and then later apologizing to Ms Shirley. I did say I thought he was self centered, and like any politician he was young and hopeful in 2008 and by 2010 he was like any other middle aged overweight politician overwhelmed with his agenda. Hence, blundering with Sherrod.

    I want to apologize for that rant on her blog. I need to think, reflect before I type, lol

    Appreciate the response

  7. Hawa Bond,

    Who are you kidding. Get real. Gina mixes fact with a lot of fiction, and not a lot of accountability from the very source Ms Sherrod might bring defamation suits against.

    Fox News didn't "stay in their lane,". They used and manipulated a personal story, Sherrod, in order to seek revenge on the NAACP. Breitbart so much as stated this.

    Sherrod accepted the NAACP, USDA, and President Obama's apology. She's not suing them, she vehemently talked of prosecuting Breitbart and co.

    If they had "stayed in their lane" she wouldn't be suing. For two years they've been in everyone elses lane except their own.

    Just saying . . .

  8. I hear you Anson... I had a conversation last night with one of my old blogger friends who routinely insults the NAACP and it's membership. (Now I didn't say criticizes - which would be fair and legitimate - but insults as in name calling etc similar to the WAOD model) I challenged him a bit about whether his questions were indeed genuine or if he was in fact being intentionally inflammatory. The brother proceeded to EDIT my comments on his FB page, reposting the edited version with his own commentary across the top. Then writes a blog post about how the NAACP Goons are attacking him and how he "banned the NAACP".

    Where I am most disappointed is that I am a member of the Afrosphere and have been for years. I was a member back when Gina from WAOD was a member. And YEARS AGO I began reaching out to Gina and Rock and that small sub-group, and talking about the need for us to begin to work together and find ways to maximize our effectiveness by combining our strengths. But they were never interested. Attacking folks was better for readership. So even the notion of us all sitting down and figuring out how these two models and these various perspectives and skills sets could be merged was ridiculed.

    Imagine though - the combined strengths of Black bloggers with incredible capacity for instant outreach, and the NAACP - 400,000 folks, 2,200 branches, sometimes awesome-sometimes awful, but still a standing army of volunteers - actual boots on the ground in cities across the country.

    But Nope... They were more interested in playing with the acronym and calling us ignorant.

    Now here we are - 4 years later - and nothing has changed... A bonafide social movement with genuinely talented actors that could have a synergistic effect on the movement remains firmly committed to a strategy of attacking our own black organizations with no discernible goal in mind other than the short sighted rewards of increased readership.

    If we could ever learn to see each other as colleagues and not competitors we would be a force to be reckoned with...