Why an NAACP? Because Racial Inequality Remains.

Monday, April 27, 2009

We look forward to when we can agree with why we should get rid of the NAACP ["Ten Things We Should Toss," Outlook, April 19], but unfortunately that day has not come.

The unemployment rate for blacks remains twice that for whites. Yet studies reveal that there is no variable -- neither education, test scores nor experience -- that provides a scientific rationale. In two studies, white employers preferred white males with criminal backgrounds to equally qualified African American men without them. Take any indicator, and a portrait of racial inequality is painted.

Surprisingly, we are multiracial. The NAACP's first president was a white woman. Today we have chapters that are predominantly Native American, Asian and Hispanic. Our Maine prison chapter is predominantly white. When we wage our battle against injustice, we expand democracy for everyone. When we ended lynch mobs, we also ended the mob violence against Catholics.

Today, our efforts against banks would make them accountable and transparent to all. Our struggles against using incarceration to address social problems such as drug addiction and mental illness would benefit millions, regardless of race.

Until the illusory promise of our nation can be real for all, there is an urgent role for the NAACP.


Chairman of the Board


President and Chief Executive



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