In his reply to my recent column defending Charleston County School Board member Nancy Cook, Charleston NAACP Vice President Rev. Joseph A. Darby wrote the following: "I have no problem whatsoever with Mr. Hunter speaking his piece, even when his words are woefully misinformed. He may be the Southern Avenger, but in the New South, everyone can have their say — even those whose words used to be violently stifled by 'southern avengers' who imposed and meanly enforced Jim Crow laws."
The point of my piece was that while Cook said something stupid, her frustration was understandable. In an earlier column, Darby made virtually the same point concerning the controversial comments of Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I thought both were identical and elementary points; one need not endorse emotional outbursts to understand the emotion behind them.
But Darby gave no quarter, instead suggesting that someone named the "Southern Avenger" must be two steps from Jim Crow, segregation, and all the rest.
Mirroring Cook, Darby voiced his own frustrations, citing discrepancies in public education that favor the affluent, the federal government's recent bank bailout, corporate monopolies on government contracts, and the trickle-up economics of the S.C. Education Lottery.
As a conservative, my solution to these problems would be to abolish the Department of Education and do away with the income tax and the IRS. I would allow citizens the same freedom to profit from gambling their government enjoys. And I would toss out every federal measure not explicitly mentioned by the Constitution, including welfare and affirmative action. I suspect these are not solutions Darby would agree with.
But if successful, what do you think the NAACP might call me? My desire to abolish affirmative action alone would likely be considered an exercise in white supremacy rather than a policy disagreement.
In fact, we already know what Darby thinks of folks who harbor conservative views. Darby wrote: "I'm frustrated by open-mouthed and narrow-minded callers to 'talk radio' shows like the one that features the Southern Avenger — people who avoid facing their own faults and failings by ranting and raving about what they see as the faults and failings of others."
While Darby believes we should understand the frustration of black Americans like Rev. Wright, frustrated white Americans who call talk radio are "open-mouthed," "narrow-minded," and probably racist to boot.
When I suggested that Cook's comments only became racially charged because the NAACP saw fit to make them so, Darby wrote, "Mr. Hunter needs to learn a bit more about the NAACP." Nonsense. A lifetime of living in South Carolina has taught me everything I need to know about America's oldest so-called civil rights organization and their modus operandi.
In recent years I have become interested in certain aspects of Black Nationalism, and I've found that once white conservatives like me can get past the blatant — and justified — anti-white racism of men like Malcolm X, they might find much to agree with. In a speech to a black audience, Malcolm said he wanted to "instill within our people the incentive to stand on our own feet" and to "solve our problem ourselves."
Racial separatism aside, Malcolm X's call for self-reliance and independence is more similar to my own views on eliminating government and promoting liberty than the big government liberalism associated with groups like the NAACP and the Democratic Party. Substitute the word "government" for "white" (which were one and the same for black nationalists in the '60s) and the slain black leader sounds more like Ron Paul than Barack Obama.
I mention this because unlike their predecessors, I honestly believe alleged "civil rights" groups like the NAACP have little interest in the advancement of black Americans. Their leaders use the specter of "racism" to bully politicians, businesses, and public figures simply to flaunt their political muscle and enjoy the spoils of power. As with their never-ending battle against the Confederate flag, the NAACP is more interested in justifying its own existence with high profile publicity stunts (like attacking Nancy Cook) than working on the problems that plague the black community most — education, crime, illegitimacy, poverty, etc. That the main theme of Darby's reply to my criticism of his organization was to imply racism and narrow-mindedness is par for the course for the NAACP.
The NAACP is to black Americans looking for real advancement what the Republican Party is to conservatives looking for real advancement — a corrupt, entrenched bureaucracy that gains too much from the status quo to ever challenge it. "Fight the power?" Don't mind if I do.
Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the "Morning Buzz with Richard Todd" on 1250 AM WTMA.