By Raynard Jackson
I was once told, “Be what you are looking for. If you want friends, go be a friend; if you want love, go love someone and if you want happiness, go make someone happy.” As I have reflected on this simple, but yet profound statement, I have found most of the major Black organizations are woefully hypocritical. They refuse to be what they are looking for. Groups like the NAACP, The National Urban League and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) constantly complain about the lack of diversity in corporate America.
These groups claim they are always told by corporations that they “can’t find” minorities for board or employee positions. They, in turn, accuse the companies of not being serious about diversity. To a large extent, these groups are right. But what I find amazing is that these same groups do the very same thing they accuse corporate America of doing. The elections this month showed that America is becoming more diverse and that diversity is here to stay. But, what is ironic is that within Black organizations, there is no diversity of thought.
The aforementioned groups pretend to be non-partisan or bi-partisan. However, when you look at their leaders, they are all unabashed Democrats or very liberal in their thinking. When they are challenged on this, they claim they can’t find any Black Republicans to get involved. Sounds familiar? When they have their annual conferences, they will put one token Black Republican on a panel (against five or six Democrats) so they can boast about being inclusive. Sounds familiar? Mind you that no Blacks Republicans are ever involved in the planning or have any input about who will appear on a panel. Sounds familiar?
If these groups would admit to the obvious—that they have a liberal bias –at least they would be honest. But to insist, as they do, that they are not biased flies in the face of the truth. Why has Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the CBC not demanded that these groups – and their own organizations – reflect diversity? How can they in good conscious demand from Corporate America what they are unwilling to provide themselves? According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 76 per cent of Blacks identify themselves as Democrats. However, 5 per cent are Republicans and 16 per cent prefer the independent label, though many independents lean toward the GOP.
Back in the day, you had prominent Black Republicans on the board of the NAACP and the National Urban League. This forced both political parties to engage with these groups. Today, these groups have become vestiges of the Democratic Party where one party takes them for granted and the other just ignores them. Sure, they still have some Republicans on their Boards, but they are usually in the background.