There is an excellent book titled, Betrayal By Any Other Name, written by Dr. Khalid Al-Mansour, in which he notes that the original charter of the NAACP prohibited the ownership of land by that organization. thus, in light of that historical reality, let’s look at one example of what Dr. Mansour says about the differences between the solutions offered to solve Black problems versus those offered to solve similar problems faced by White people.
One example Mansour uses centers on the problem of the establishment and maintenance of a viable economic infrastructure for White and Black organizations. He cites the solutions that White organizations implemented included “investment of private capital, government incentives, establishment of banks, trade and exports, development of infrastructure, and great emphasis on business, education, vocational training, and strong leadership.”
Solutions offered by the NAACP included the “elimination of segregation, desegregate, vote, and own no land.” According to Mansour’s book, the NAACP charter prohibited that organization from owning land. Now, you figure this one out. If the majority of those who established the NAACP were White, and we know they were, why did they insist that the organization not own land, the very basis of economic empowerment? Too often we allow our organizations to fall into the role of puppet because we take money and assistance from those who would “keep us in our place.”
There is a similar situation occurring in “comedy central USA,” Cincinnati, Ohio, that will culminate in a confrontation between pro boycott groups and the Black organization known as the Cincinnati Arts Consortium. For more than 10 years, the consortium has held a Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast in downtown Cincinnati, at the Hyatt Hotel. This year’s event will be on Jan. 20 and will find itself embroiled in national controversy and massive local protest.
The organization will hold its celebration in the boycott zone despite, of all things, a personal request from Martin Luther King III asking them not to do so. As of Jan. 6, the organization’s “board,” made up of different people, White and Black, but funded primarily by White-owned corporations, the consortium has refused to comply with King’s request.
The main reasons given for its refusal is (wouldn’t you guess it?) money. First of all, those sponsoring the breakfast are surely behind the scenes calling the shots. Just as we experienced with our local NAACP and Community Action Agency, there are those, Black and White, who hold these organizations hostage by threatening them with withdrawal of their precious sponsorship funds if they do not conform to corporate desires and motives. The national office of the NAACP called our local office and told them not to hold their annual dinner in the boycott zone; they ended up moving it. The Community Action Agency, did not comply with the wishes of the boycotters because its corporate funding was threatened by corporate lackeys, one of which is former federal Judge Nathaniel Jones, who is on the Toyota “diversity” advisory board that was formed after Jesse Jackson threatened, of all things, a boycott of Toyota.
My point is this: We just celebrated a series of days called Kwanzaa, one day of which was dedicated to self-determination. How self-determined are we when we allow organizations that are suppose to benefit Black people to be co-opted by corporations that do not have the best interests of Black folks in mind? Where is our self-determination when we submit to the demands and commands of puppet masters? All money is not good money, especially money that is attached to a rope with which to hang our people.
My contention is that we must create revenue streams that give our organizations long sustainability and viability. Sure it’s all right if some corporation wants to assist, but if they also seek to control our organizations, it’s time to give them their money back or just say “no” to it.
Additionally, if our organizations are doing what their mission statements descr