July 13, 2004

NAA(L)CP attacks Project 21 and other black conservatives

I wondered how long it would take before the NAACP began to go after black conservative organizations like Project 21.

NAACP president Kweisi Mfume did just that in a speech Monday at their national convention in Philadelphia.

Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, condemned the groups as a "collection of black hustlers" who have adopted a conservative agenda in return for "a few bucks a head."

"When the ultraconservative right-wing attacker has run out of attack strategy, he goes and gets someone that looks like you and me to continue the attack," Mfume said in his opening address to the NAACP's annual convention.

"They've financed a conservative coalition of make-believe black organizations, all of them hollow shells with more names on the letterhead than there are people in their membership," he said.

Paraphrasing a line from a 2002 speech by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, he said, "And like the ventriloquist's dummies, they sit there in the puppet master's voice, but we can see whose lips are moving, and we can hear his money talk."

In a speech punctuated by cheers from the audience, Mr. Mfume said: "They can't deal with the leaders we choose for ourselves, so they manufacture, promote and hire new ones."

P21 executive director David Almasi and I had a conversation Monday afternoon about that very issue, after a reporter called him with questions over whether or not any members (myself included) were paid.

After I stopped laughing, I jokingly implored him, "Pay ME! PLEASE pay me!"

No. I'm not paid to be a member of Project 21.

I wouldn't mind being paid to write columns, and I'm slowly working on getting that under my belt, but I'm not paid to be a member or Project 21. I gladly serve on the national advisory board, and happily speak on their behalf to the press.

I do this of my own volition, hard as that might be for some folks to believe.

David Almasi, director of Project 21, acknowledged there is "probably" an ideological divide between his group and the NAACP but said Project 21 is financially independent from political parties.

"We take no marching orders from anyone," he said.

"We have received money from people who are Republican, but not from the Republican Party," said Almasi. "But think about the idea that, at one point, Jesse Jackson was getting some of his travel paid for by the Democratic National Committee."

Mind you the "non-partisan" NAACP is going to be screening Michael Moore's unapologetically partisan Fahrenheit 9/11 to their membership tomorrow.

And the NAACP, of course, still claims to be "non-partisan."

Non-partisan my eye...

Posted by mhking at July 13, 2004 12:48 AM

I like the "ultraconservative" part. Reminds me of my grandma.

Posted by: Fausta at July 13, 2004 09:04 AM

Ug, umgawa. Injun red say you speak-um white words, red man speak-um only red words. gods angry. gods send no buffalo. Red man starve.

Posted by: Michael Gallaugher at July 13, 2004 09:51 AM

You'd think these people would come up with something original to say about black conservatives. I blogged about this whole "in it for the money" thing just last month. Who do I have to talk to to get my check?

Posted by: Samantha at July 13, 2004 09:57 AM

Kweisi seems queasy about becoming irrelevant. It's going to get uglier, I'd take odds on it. It's what happens when one finds out they are truly not needed.

Posted by: Deb at July 13, 2004 11:25 AM

Look, we're messing with Kweisi's money. Once the race hustle is over, what's he going to do for a living? Get a real job? Doing what? He's fighting for his livelihood. Let's just say we're mouthpieces for the Repubs. What does Kweisi have to say about our ideas?


Posted by: La Shawn at July 13, 2004 01:18 PM

Before Almasi, the person who headed the group was named Rodick Conrad, if I remember correctly.

One email exchange we had concerned who was funding Black groups. The funding of the NAACP came up. I noted that the group, for years, was headed by white people. That's who primarily funds the group if you take into account institutions and place a race on the funding institutions.

But when you consider many Black organizations like the NAACP or Project 21, you'll find the funding isn't from majority Black sources.

When Glenn Loury gave an interview that detailed is movement from the left to the right, and then from the right, it became clear that he lost status and funding when he "left the left" and when he "left the right."

Is the charge legit in general? I can see arguments either way. At this point, I don't care.

Posted by: DarkStar at July 13, 2004 09:06 PM

Call it bad timing. He coulda run for Baltimore mayorship back in '99, but turned it down--sumfin about "fire in da belly". At least as a politician, he would have the incumbent's edge to go with the flow and "convert" if need be.

Yeah, if he gets caught holding the bag when the race hustle is over, it's back to being plain ole PeeWee Frizzell and nary a perk nor perp.

As for ideas, thy don't have any. Whatever ideas they had were sucked up by the Dems, and spat out like stale chewing terbacky juice

Posted by: Andy Foster at July 13, 2004 10:08 PM
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