Was it a smart move on Donald Trump’s part to decline an invitation to the NAACP’s annual convention last month? Quite smart, according to Jason L. Riley in the WSJ.
Giving speeches to civil-rights groups like the NAACP isn’t effective black outreach. It’s a setup. Blacks open to Republicanism aren’t likely to be found at NAACP gatherings, which are thinly disguised Democratic political rallies. And younger blacks who might be interested in hearing out the GOP have little use for the NAACP. Republicans who try to reach black voters by going through the civil-rights establishment have nothing to gain, unless they like to watch footage of black people booing them on CNN.
There was a time when the NAACP was a responsible gatekeeper of black communities, attuned to their needs and looking out for their best interests. Its leadership was comprised of serious people addressing serious concerns. But those days are a distant memory. Today’s civil-rights leaders and organizations have their own agenda, and their highest priority by far is to stay relevant by insisting that white racism explains racial disparities—even if that means turning the actual problems of poor black communities into a secondary concern.
For example, it’s no secret that charter schools are among the best public schools in the country. Not surprisingly, support among blacks to traditional public schools is as strong as it has ever been, according to Harvard’s Paul Peterson. “Black respondents backed charter schools by two-to-one.”
If the NAACP is acting in the interests of blacks, as it claims to be, why then is the civil-rights organization calling for a freeze on charter schools when two-thirds of blacks favor them? “The bottom line is that teachers unions fiercely oppose school choice and are major contributors to the NAACP,” explains Mr. Riley. “Blaming racially disparate school suspension rates on white racism comports with the organization’s preferred narrative and keeps the NAACP relevant.”
Yes, of course, Donald Trump should do more to address the needs of black voters. But the same can be said, writes Mr. Riley, of the NAACP.