Friday, June 18, 2004

Desperately Seeking Relevance

Organizations like the NAACP, with an intense collective memory of more august days, feel a need to replicate the "Great Struggle" in our day even if the era of great struggles is over. Battles for legal equality have already been fought and won. What remain are the thornier problems of social and cultural reconciliation. While that may include policy and legislative advocacy, the bulk of the work rests not in voter drives or lobbying but in the transformation of neighborhoods and families from within--the one thing the Nation of Islam got right.

Unfortunately, the NAACP has found in Catholic University an easy target to reassert its dream of the "Great Struggle." NAACP sees only another big, bad, white-dominated, socially conservative institution, not a representative body of the Holy Catholic Church struggling amidst its own unique set of political circumstances to hold on to its identity. If Kweisi Mfume stirs any group of NAACP protesters into a frenzy of "We Shall Overcome" refrains on the steps of the Basilica, I'm gonna puke.