July 16th, 2009
05:37 PM ET

The NAACP at 100: Much more work to do

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/21/chimp.cartoon/art.todd.jealous.cnn.jpg" caption="The NAACP's Benjamin Todd Jealous believes racial disparities still plague the U.S."]

Benjamin Todd Jealous
Special to CNN

As the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People prepares to celebrate its Centennial in New York, the city of its birth, I'm confident that we as a nation have turned an important corner on the long road toward racial and economic equality for all Americans.

Established in 1909 by a core group of black and white Americans, the NAACP's mission has been clarified and sharpened during our first 100 years. We have covered a lot of ground in the march to improve the lives of millions of Americans, but there remains much more work to be done.

The NAACP's legacy of accomplishment is rich, and cannot be dismissed or subjected to gainsaying in the wake of the election of President Obama.

Yes, we are energized and emboldened by the historic election of America's first black president. We were not surprised that Americans, at long last, voted to choose high-quality ideas, soaring spirit and bright vision over the racial, cultural and class distinctions that have so long divided us. The multi-ethnic coalition that coalesced around Obama is familiar to us, indeed.

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Filed under: Race in America
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Robert

    James (above post), I care that the father of the President of the United States of America was not an American, regardless his race, color, or nationality. President Obama is viewed by many as our first "Black" president. In fact, he is our first bi-racial president.

    Culturally speaking, he is more White than Black, and his American experiences have been through the prism of his White American roots. Obama was acceptable to many White voters for these reasons. It is very doubtful if any black American descendant of African slaves could have been elected president in 2008.

    July 17, 2009 at 4:10 am |
  2. Mark from Saint Louis

    The NAACP supports only one race of people. Does that make them racist?

    July 17, 2009 at 1:00 am |
  3. Mark from Saint Louis

    When Obama was running for president, many Black leaders said he wasn't "Black" enough. Is he "black" enough now?

    July 17, 2009 at 12:59 am |
  4. Lori

    Many boys between the ages of 8 and 13 have trouble in school. The situation is fairly common with my son and his peers and is not related to race. The problem is that they do not get the attention they need in school. They have a different way of learning and require more attention and care from teachers, parents, and administrators. Teachers do not have time or willingness to work with these boys and the kids get in trouble and labeled. Their parents are busy, running single-parent households, and lack resources to provide the extra help that is needed at that time, and the boys are left behind academically. They find it difficult to catch up later. It's a problem for everyone and more closely related to economics than anything else.

    July 16, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  5. Chris in TN

    The NAACP focuses it's time on racism and discrimination to all ethnic groups other than white americans. By having these types of rules, that is a type of discrimination against the white population. Within today's society, we are turning into the minority instead of the majority. You always hear about others being discriminated against, but you never hear about a normal white person. Why is that?

    July 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  6. Bre'

    james, james, james

    there are still groups of whites who do the same thing except they hide because of what they promote.

    let me see, the leadership before this one sort of, kind of, took america to its breaking point, also i might add in 8 years.

    and your comment is?

    July 16, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  7. Don Edmond, Esq.

    This African American attorney in Washington DC is waiting to hear President Obama's excuses for failing black America on so many levels. Obama's failure to step up and speak loudly for African Americans for fear of losing political capital in white America is very telling as unemployment, crime and poverty continue to wreak havoc at a disparate rate to opportunity for ordinary black Americans. I make no excuses...on election day 2008, I wrote Hillary Clinton's name on my ballot and cast it.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  8. James

    The NAACP is a racist group and I thought that we wanted to get away from racism. This is a group that supports and promotes one race over others, that is racism. It is time we stop the double standard. Robert your blog above is racist also. Who cares if President Obama's father was a slave or not? It is time we stop focusing on all this stuff. Judge the man (President Obama) on this leadership which I think is very poor. I don't care if he is black or white. Poor leadership and poor politics doesn't have a color.

    July 16, 2009 at 9:38 pm |
  9. Wanza

    The NAACP was founded by Dr. W.E.B. DuBois in 1909 to address the social & racial inequalities of Black people. His social vision was ahead of his time. Thank you to the NAACP. Congratulations on your 100th year of existence!

    July 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    The NAACP article stated that its work was on a "long road toward racial and economic equality for all Americans." Then it listed a bunch of other racial/ethnic groups that are members. I didn't see any white members – if NAACP is working towards racial and economic equality for all Americans wouldn't this include poor whites as well? I know some very poor white families who could use the type of help the NAACP says it gives.

    July 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  11. Robert

    Mr. Jealous is spot on. There are "disparities that still plaque us in the United States." Obviously, the election of Barack Obama is an encouraging sign that racism is diminishing, but is far from being eradicated. The truth is: the election of Barack Hussein Obama was a fluke - or, very similar to winning a multi-state lottery.

    Obama was not born on the mainland. He was raised in basically foreign locals, and did not come to the mainland until he was an adult. Unlike 95% of black Americans in his age group, the man who would become president is bi-racial - an African American. However, it is significant to note that the American half of him is White. His blackness coming from a Kenyan, who was on America soil for a brief period. Obama was raised by his White mother and her Indonesian husband and his White grandparents.

    While technically it is true that Barack Obama is our first "African" American president, it is also true that his American lineage has no direct connection to black American descendants of slaves. It is highly doubtful that any descendant of black American slaves could have been elected President of the United States in 2008. Obama does not look like middle-eastern. He talks like a Harvard (not Howard) elitist. There is nothing in his background connected to any kind of civil rights protests, and most probably, he never suffered than same kind of racial discrimination that most blacks endure on a daily basis.

    Barack Obama married a black American woman. Frankly, that is his only connection to the black community. The same holds true for many White men that marry black women.

    July 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  12. Mike in NYC

    "... ending lynching and mob violence..."

    Which nowadays are almost always committed by non-Whites against Whites. Such crimes also far outnumber the much-bewailed attacks committed by Whites against non-Whites in the past. (They're also committed against people who are innocent, unlike many of the latter.) Non-White on White attacks are never called "hate" crimes, though. I wonder why.

    The negative social indicia listed by Jealous can all be traced to the failings of AA's. Really, this is getting boring.

    July 16, 2009 at 6:02 pm |