"The NAACP should be ashamed of itself"
Michael Meyers, Executive Director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, in this post on the NYT blog BLASTS the NAACP's misuse of the "separate but equal" analogy and concludes (correctly) that "The NAACP should be ashamed of itself":
The NAACP claims to have 500,000 to 600,000 members nationwide, and all its NY chapter could muster up to their rally in the Big Apple are 50 people? That's "grassroots"?
It is horrific that the NAACP would team up with the UFT in the guise of opposing "separate but equal"--protesting the co-location of charter (public) schools in the same buildings as larger, traditional public schools, and then also seek a court order, alongside of the teachers' union, to block the closing of failing schools, schools the Department of Education has determined are dysfunctional.
Worse, the NAACP and UFT dare to talk about the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision as a ruling that is supposedly skirted by NYC's "inequitable" delivery of educational services to minority kids. But they do not say that the Brown decision was about racially-segregated public schools--a topic neither the UFT nor the NAACP in New York has had much of anything to say in recent times--including the fact that the many "neighborhood" schools opened here--including some by their supporters--have exacerbated racial and ethnic segregation in our schools. Indeed, it is the NAACP that has supported in-school segregation of blacks in Lancaster, PA, for instance, where the NAACP supported separate homerooms for black male high school students. What hypocrites!
Worse, still, the UFT and NAACP allege that charter schools, to paraphrase the UFT President, are better resourced and oftentimes located "alongside" sorrowful public schools with "broken blackboards, crumbling facilities and overcrowded classrooms," a situation he terms "separate and unequal." But these are not black versus white schools; these are schools, charter and traditional public schools, that are mostly composed of non-white (black and Hispanic) children. That was never the context nor the meaning behind the Court's prohibition of "separate but equal" in public education. The High Court declared purposely racially segregated schools as inherently unequal, and ordered the disestablishment (and desegregation) of the dual public school systems of "white" and "black" schools and called for the desegregation of public school systems where blacks were separated from their peers of similar age and qualification--whites--separated on grounds of skin color alone. That is the meaning of separate is inherently unequal..
Today, the teachers' union and the NAACP want us to believe that they are suing to block unequal schooling by seeking to have a court keep open the failing schools that the Department of Education has decided must be shut and can't be turned around. Plainly, the teachers union in bringing this craven lawsuit is serving its own interests. But what is the NAACP doing on their side? In the 60s, the civil rights groups used to ask a single question: "Which side are you on?" Tragically, and unbelievably, the NAACP has sided with mediocrity and on the side of the teachers union that has not demonstrated any special affection much less competence in teaching minority group children. Clearly, the UFT is happy to have the NAACP mask its self-interest with egalitarian rhetoric that distorts and misapplies the commands and the majesty of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. This is on the union's and NAACP's part Orwellian double talk and shameless racial demagoguery.
The NAACP should be ashamed of itself.