Q: You gave a thought-provoking presentation at the NAACP's forum on hate. But I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that you did not mention that the organization was giving an award to Kid Rock the following day. He performs with confederate flags on stage.
--Eller Jones - Detroit, Michigan
A: I shudder to think what race relations in the United States would be like had not the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and others – for example, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Congress of Racial Equality, and National Urban League – worked to gain civil rights for African Americans and other minorities. From its inception in 1909, the NAACP has been a leader combating injustice; you need look no further than its courageous battle against lynchings in the first half of the 20th century, and its sustained fight against forced racial segregation and institutionalized racism. The NAACP has an earned reputation as an organization committed to social justice. For these reasons, I have a great deal of respect for the NAACP.
When I heard that the Detroit branch of the NAACP was honoring Kid Rock (born Robert James Ritchie) with a "Great Expectation Award" at its annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, I was, in a word, befuddled. The NAACP is a politically liberal organization dominated by Christians. The organization has a long history of fighting racism, including racist imagery. Kid Rock is a politically right-leaning, hard-partying hedonist, who regularly performs with an oversized Confederate flag –www.youtube.com/watch?v=irpAL80Fkjs. "True it is," wrote Charles Dudley Warner in 1850, "that politics makes strange bedfellows."
For the complete answer to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia Question of the Month, visit:http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/question/june11/