Bruce Gordon's abrupt departure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after only 19 months as president marks the end of a marriage between old-time movement idealism and new-wave corporate problem solving. The marriage now appears to have been doomed from the start.Read the whole thing.
The former Verizon executive came into office amid grand hopes that he would modernize the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. The 98-year-old organization's old civil rights mission has been diminished by the hard-won success of the civil rights movement.
Mr. Gordon had the audacity to hope for an expanded NAACP mission. He set out with a corporate CEO's sense of urgency to target, for example, the continuing crises of undereducated black males. Mr. Gordon understood something that its chairman, Julian Bond, a star 1960s movement veteran, and numerous others in the organization's breathtakingly huge 64-member board refuse to face: White racism is not the biggest problem holding back the advancement of people of color today.
Today overall black poverty is down to about 24 percent from well more than 60 percent in the mid-1960s. But since the mid-1990s, recent studies show young undereducated black males, in particular, are worse off by every statistical measure of unemployment, drug abuse, disease and imprisonment.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Sure, Mr. Page and I have different opinions on many issues, but on the missed opportunity that the NAACP just threw away, he is right on target.