By Raynard Jackson
As I have reflected on the year just ended, I noticed everyone doing their usual year-end lists of the biggest winners and losers of the year. I am not a big fan of these lists, but I will acknowledge that the Black community was the biggest loser of 2012.
I have been very critical of how media-appointed groups/individuals have been labeled as the leaders of the Black community. It’s funny that the media doesn’t use similar language when referring to the White community. Who are their leaders?
Last year, Blacks gave President Obama 93 percent of their vote against Mitt Romney (Black women voted 96 percent for Obama), yet they sat quietly by as Obama gave goodies to illegals in the country and created new rights for homosexuals. What did Blacks get from Obama?
NAACP President Ben Jealous ignorantly went on national TV last week and stated that newly sworn in U.S. Senator from South Carolina, Tim Scott, did not support civil rights. It would have been more accurate to say Senator Scott does not support “liberal rights.”
Last month, I wrote about the band of Black women who courageously took a principled stand in support of Obama nominating Susan Rice to be Secretary of State. Yet, these same principled women were so blinded by Obama’s race that they could not bring themselves to criticize him for throwing Rice under the bus.
A lot of these liberal groups and individuals complain that I am too critical of them. Interestingly, they never complain about the accuracy of what I write, just the fact that I put my thoughts out in the marketplace of ideas.
So, for my first column of the New Year, I will offer some suggestions to these groups as to how they might begin to become more relevant in 2012.
One way the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) can begin to address the perception that they are a liberal professional organization is by providing at least two college interns to both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee every summer. These students should be given a stipend and living expenses. I don’t want to hear any excuses about lack of funds for this. If their leadership is not willing to reach into their own pockets to help these students, then why should corporate America? They need to be what they are looking for.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) rarely if ever engages in public policy hearings on the congressional level. They have many engineers with relevant expert knowledge, but are totally invisible to most members of congress. When New Orleans had the oil spill a couple years ago, why was NSBE not contacted and asked to provide a list of chemical and environmental engineers from their membership to testify before congress? The answer is a very simple one. They have never positioned themselves as an organization that has any value to add to any public policy discussion. Furthermore, why do they not provide interns for their students with congressional committees that have oversight over various issues relating to engineering? Can you imagine a student graduating with a degree in engineering plus internships with the private sector and a congressional committee on their resume?
The NAACP, The National Urban League, The Congressional Black Caucus still can play a role in our community – if they decide to become relevant. They and other Black professional groups can have a bigger impact within our community, but they must be willing to step up and not continue to be viewed as groups that primarily throw a lot of parties.
If any of these groups were hauled into a court of law and accused of being an effective advocate for their respective communities and staying true to their missions as stated in their bylaws—would there be enough evidence to convict them?
The problem with most of these groups is their leadership lacks creative vision for a 21st century world. They have become stale and dated. What does it say about these groups that they are all funded by White corporate America? Do they lack such relevance that their own community sees little value in them?
The days are over where you support a group because it has “Black” (or “National) in their name. In today’s tight fiscal climate, what is the rationale for anyone to support them? What is the deliverable? What is the call to action? What is the value they provide that can’t be obtained elsewhere?
If these groups don’t have a positive answer to these questions, then they are deserving of being on next year’s biggest loser list.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.