NAACP President Ben Jealous Should Resign for Assisting in the Sherrod Assault

ben jealousIn late July 2010, Ben Jealous, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, denounced Shirley Sherrod, a black woman whom Jealous said “in her position at USDA [the Department of Agriculture]… mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race.” Jealous knew this because a right-wing website told him so.

Ben Jealous committed two mistakes, and one crime. First, Ms. Sherrod was not working for the USDA at the time of the incident, but for an organization specifically dedicated to black farmers; and in fact, according to the white farmer, Sherrod saved his farm. But what if Sherrod had said what the Right Wing claimed she said? What if Sherrod really had not used “the full force” of her office to help the white farmer?

That’s not “mistreatment,” even if Ben Jealous pretends it is. It was even argued in the Supreme Court that “a police officer who came upon four people beating someone could stand by without intervening”.

Still Jealous was not done. “Her actions were shameful,” he said of Sherrod, and, channeling Senator Joe McCarthy, Jealous promised, “We will be looking into the behavior of NAACP representatives at this local event [where Sherrod told her story] and take any appropriate action.”

Interesting. According to Jealous’s own definition, I was “mistreated”―by the NAACP. Specifically, by Ben Jealous.

On November 20, 2002, when I was a professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, I wrote in the city newspaper that a relatively new, local, taxpayer-funded statue honoring the founder of the Ku Klux Klan should be torn down. The death threats commenced.

Both the head of my university, Gordon Gee, and the university spokesman, Michael Schoenfeld, defended the Klan founder―Gee called the Klan founder’s supporters “old friends,” and denounced me for having criticized the Confederacy. Obama White House Fellow Samar Ali, then a student at Vanderbilt, even said that, in criticizing the Confederacy, I had engaged in “hate speech,” that criticism of the Confederacy was “racist.” Math Department chairman Mike Mihalik said any hostile letters he received about me from Klan supporters would be put in my file and forwarded to the dean, but not shown to me, and Dean Richard McCarty subsequently threatened my job.

As a Life Member, I went to the NAACP for help.

The head of the NAACP in the southeast, Reverend Charles White, was apprised of the situation but said the NAACP could only take action after considering the matter at its next board meeting―in three months. The president of the Nashville chapter of the NAACP, Reverend Sonnye Dixon, even said it could be good for Vanderbilt to have a building called “Confederate Memorial Hall” on its campus.

Ben Jealous’s wife, Lia Epperson-Jealous, worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and at my request informed a colleague of hers, attorney John R. Harper; but when I asked Harper for help, he did nothing. Ben Jealous later blamed me for having “asked for” the attack.

The Nashville NAACP did, however, give Gordon Gee an award in 2003. Which he declined to pick up.

Overall, no one in the NAACP or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund gave me “the full force of what they could do.”

Will Ben Jealous call the actions of Ben Jealous “shameful”? Will Ben Jealous call for an investigation into the actions of the Nashville NAACP?

No, because you have the right not to do everything you can for someone.

Jealous’s second mistake is that the NAACP is not the National Association for the Abolition of Color Prejudice. It is not the NAACP’s mission to protect the civil rights of white farmers, just as it is not the mission of the American Poultry Association to investigate whether cell phones cause gingivitis. In theory, if there were such creatures as black supremacists, the NAACP would represent them, too, over, say, Barack Obama’s mother or Ben Jealous’s father.

But that wasn’t Jealous’s crime. His normally sluggish organization, which took three months even to discuss what to do, if anything, when a Life Member was receiving death threats from Klan supporters, reacted in one day when racist liars, who wanted a black woman’s head, ordered the heir of W. E. B. Du Bois to step and fetch it.

NAACP president Ben Jealous should resign for slavishly serving right-wing racists, and the now embarrassingly useless NAACP should disband.

Jonathan David Farley

Jonathan David Farley is a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Institut für Algebra of Johannes Kepler Universität Linz in Linz, Österreich.

About Jonathan David Farley

In 2005, Seed Magazine named Dr. Jonathan David Farley one of “15 people who have shaped the global conversation about science”. He is the 2004 recipient of the Harvard Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award, a medal presented on behalf of the president of Harvard University in recognition of “outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of mathematics.” He obtained his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University in 1995, after winning Oxford’s highest mathematics awards in 1994. Jonathan Farley graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1991 with the second-highest grade point average in his graduating class.

Dr. Farley’s mathematical work has been profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education, in Science News Online, in The Economist Magazine, in USA Today, on Fox News Television, and on Air America Radio. In 2001, Ebony Magazine named Dr. Farley a “Leader of the Future.” He has also been profiled in Jet Magazine, in Upscale Magazine, and on the cover of the NAACP’s Crisis Magazine.

Dr. Farley has been an invited guest on BBC World News Television, BBC Radio, and U.S. National Public Radio. On November 18, 2001, Dr. Farley was an invited speaker at the “Stop the War” demonstration in London, which drew 100,000 people. His essay, “My Fellow Americans: Looking Black on Red Tuesday,” appeared in Beyond September 11: An Anthology of Dissent, which also featured essays by Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky. Dr. Farley has written for Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Guardian newspaper, Essence Magazine, and the hip hop magazine The Source.

The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts (home to both Harvard University and MIT) officially declared March 19, 2004 to be “Dr. Jonathan David Farley Day”.

Comments

  1. My mistake:BTW says:

    BTW Edit.  My Mistake in typos and dealing with extremists,n right or left.  

    Maureen Dowd is the pretensious “extreme left “her approach to journalism, pseudo journalism, in my book. And yes a conservative in the same vain as some from the far right. Writing a full blown article that Obama isn’t “black enough” is the journalism of those who claim he’s born in Kenya.   
     
    But Ms Dowd’s  plagiarism scandal is a known fact. Why does Faye use this piece of garbage  to gain credibility in her stance. Perhaps,n anything affiliated with the NY Times will do?

  2. Faye Anderson’s back at it again but oddly enough there is nothing substantial to build up what she hopes to be a credible blog discrediting the NAACP and Ben Jealous.    
       
    I found it curious, number one, she mentioned Maureen Dowd, a known joke in the in-crowd of the NY Times.  ( known for plagiarism and exrreme right wing politics).    
       
    The other is none other than Farley, whom we easily google and note he falsely accused Vanderbilt’s President Gee of racism. then proceeded to do the same with the NAACP for refusing him help.  She, Faye, makes a big to-do about Farley’s credibility based on mathematics credentials from Harvard and Oxford. In reality, Farley is an adjunt part timer looking for work, though supposedly employed as a part timer in another university system.  So much for Touting the ivy leagues, Faye. It’s what you do with it that counts     
       
    There are other references to blogs and highly recognized news syndications, which fail on all counts if you check the sites for what is actually there.     
       
    Faye is angry, desparate, and grasping. She is out work, and looking for employment (advertised on her site). Quite charming she didn’t ramble on about Wells Fargo like she usually does. She’s got her talons out like the rest, and must feel certain she no longer has to use this debate to bring the NAACP to it’s knees.    
       
    She again joins George Curry, Gina, Amy, et. al. for unproductive ranting.    
       
    The girl who cried “wolf.” yes, that’s Faye.’

  3. Found on a NPR and the Root says:

    Revealing more after a little googling. The truth always surfaces.

    Thomas Carlson
    I’m outside of the fray, not a part of the NAACP, but a concerned citizen who wants the best for all of us.  Following the powerful TParty speech of Mr. Jealous, the events surrounding Sherrod gave credence to those who had a prior “bone” to pick with either President Jealous or the NAACP.    
     
    How am I aware of this, being an “outsider”?  I googled the names of those requesting Jealous’s resignation.  Most came up with long term personal issues, viewed as “petty and full of innuendo” – were Curry, Farley, Faye Anderson, Ellison, and a few others such as Amy Alexander (and a fairly uncredible rabid one called Gina). By all appearances, they are looking for any snake under a rock, or slip-up from Ben and his support team.  The Sherrod  incident gave them substantial material to launch their anger from, other than blatant gossip.  
     
    I noticeld Curry disliked and attacked Mr Jealous from the moment of his appointment with the NAACP.  It seems he had an issue with the lightness of Ben’s color hinting this was a principle reason Julian Bond chose him. There are quotes within his blogging trashing anything and everything involving the leadership of the NAACP for the last two years.  
     
    Then there is Farley, who tried to discredit President Gee of Vanderbilt as a racist or being a “buddy” with a Klan member, largely in part because this president didn’t defend him when opposing a confederate statue. Infact, Gee was underfire form the KKK and southern extremist for omitting “confederate” from a university hall.  There is nothing racist about him, but Farley continued to discredit him and it seems requested support from the NAACP.  When he was refused, he began his vitriolic blogs criticizing the NAACP.  One such blogpis simpatico with Curry’s issue surrounding the color of Jealous’s light skin.  “The Return of the Mulatto: The Green Eyed Monster.” Pardon me, Aren’t we in 2010?  He currently blogs about the need for the NAACP to disband and Jealous to resign, using the Sherrod debacle as his latest platform.  
     
    Faye Anderson seems to have had a beef with the NAACP for sometime, Her latest blogs have been focused on Wells Fargo and it’s partnering with the NAACP.  She never writes of it’s victories, only it’s maladies, and I have no doubt she’s already joined in the bashing-Ben Jealous-bandwagon.  
     
    Gina of WAOD appears to be a very self loathing angry individual with a nondescript blog that mirrors this.  She desparately wants traffic and notoriety. Her blog has the pretensions of supporting AA women, yet there is nothing constructive or celebratory. It also attracts a number of conservative black bloggers who have their own agenda.  She has been knocking the NAACP for sometime.  
     
    Amy I feel pity for.  
     
    Their blogs need a substqntiql launch pad for their petty grievances.  The Sherrod debacle gave them this. However, like the manipulation within Breitbart, I’m not sure it worked. The truth always comes out in the end,  
     
       

    • Now it is confirmed: This “Thomas Carlson” person is nothing more than an NAACP shill.

      Posts by “Thomas Carlson” have turned up at just about EVERY SINGLE SITE that covered this sad but important story on how Benjamin Todd Jealous is an Empty Suit.

      This is reinforcing what all smart people already know: The current leadership of the NAACP is bankrupt and the top ranks of its Communications team is idiotic, trifling, and possibly, on a sick mission to actually sabotage the NAACP.

      Do not be fooled by these fakers like “Thomas Carlson” and this oither Serial Poster, “Btw,” or “Mary” or “whiterosebuddy” they all are NAACP ass buddies!

  4. Tcarlson says:

    This comment is pending approval and won’t be displayed until it is approved.

    I’ve been rereading your post, in particular your comments concerning Gordon Gee. I don’t know this individual but I did take the liberty to google him, and understand the issues to which you speak.

    It appears in 2002, he requested the word “Confederate” not be on the title of this particular hall that was being debated. He then came under quite a bit of fire for wanting change. Around this time there were also charges his wife was smoking marijuana in his office? And strangely, he seems to have support among minority leaders and students.

    Though I’m not discrediting your personal experience, nowhere is it to be found where he is rubbing elbows with the Klan. If anything, he came under attack from the southern bureaucrats. Obviously, your take is one that is more intimate, as is with Jealous.

    But then that brings up Jealous’s refusal with you, which may have been based on the credibity of this man, Gordon Gee.

    Sherrod let bygones be bygones, and her defamation suit is directed at Breitbart not the NAACP, USDA, or Obama. That in itself says something about where focus needs to be.

    FYI. I wouldn’t take very seriously anything Gina has to say on her blog, for there is nothing constructive but nonstop ranting dressed up as genuine concern for AA females. She’s got a strange mixture of black conservatives using the blog for their own agenda, along with sincere folks . . .

    This too shall pass.

  5. Marshall says:

    I would offer a question. If the south had not attempted to leave the union and form a new country, what and when would the cure for slavery have been? How long would it have taken? Who would have been the leader? Abe stated he was not for changing the slave laws. Sometimes the greatest gifts come form the hardest of times. My great grand father fought in the war between the states. Should I think less of him because he fought with Stonewall Jackson than Grant? I will say this about that war. Lee’s southern forces did not burn and steal from the northern farms like union forces did in the south. Union forces made war on the civilians and CSA forces did not. look up pow camps in the north, look for those in new york.

    I did notice that Beck took up for her while the NAACP did not, funny that happened.

  6. concerned in portland says:

    Your story is compelling. I have never lived in the south, but I did witness the insanity of a klan member as he told a group of about 10 angry black men who had come to confront his spreading of lies about the superior white man. I was glad that they kicked his but. People like that tend to populate and spread ignorance and hate.

    I would have stood with you against the actions of honoring the Confederacy and any of it’s representatives. This country was not built to allow slavery. I have ancesters who lived in the south. I do not know if they had slaves, but if they did it was wrong!

    I know little about the NAACP. I call them once in 2005 when I was arrested along with a black employee of mine, whom I was attempting to protect from racist police officers who provided false information to obtain an arrest warrant. They said they would not help me because I am white, but they would look into the matter for my employee.

    Racism is just wrong, no matter who committs the act. Ms. Sherrod was wrongfully slandered by the playing of a short portion of the tape. What surprised me was the attack of the NAACP, because they had the entire tape.

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