NAACP.pngProbably the greatest advantage the United States has had over most other countries up until now has been its pragmatic and ever evolving definition of what it means to be an American. This constant and dynamic redefinition by yet the latest wave of immigrants has taken its strength from incorporating the unique positive differences of these rich and diverse cultures in reinvigorating what might otherwise have become a declining and complacent American society, like all those other failed societies that have already preceded us. This strength is what I call the inherent positivity of ever evolving diversity, which remains a prerequisite for any society that desires to remain viable over time.

Negative diversity, on the other hand, is something else this country has also experienced. And there is no greater example of how negative diversity functions then in examining how African Americans have and continue to be treated in this country over the last 400 years. Like other components of this country, African Americans have made their exquisite and uniquely positive contributions in many areas. But they have done so inspite of the neverending negative social and economic treatment and stigma that is unprecedent with any other human component of this country's population.

The social institution and primary mechanism for maintaining African Americans in their place at the bottom of virtually every list of positive components of human well being defined by such things as life expectancy, health, economic success, and integration into American society is a purposefully failed and yet segregated public education system.

Under slavery, it was a crime to teach a slave to read. And after slavery ended, segregated minority schools, given the resources available to them, were unable to educate their students to their highest potential, which was and remains the unchallenged and taken for granted goal of every integrated predominantly White school.

In 1896, Plessy vs. Ferguesson established the fantasy notion of "separate but equal" education for African American, Latino, and other minorities in segregated schools. It has only taken us 58 years, until 1954 and the Brown vs. Board of Education case, for the Supreme Court to finally take cognizance of what had always been the glaring reality that, "Separate but [was and always will be] inherently unequal." A belated end of story? Not by a long shot. We are now 64 years after the Brown case and our schools are more segregated now than they were before the Brown decision.

So you would think that this might be of interest to an organization like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund? Nope, they're too busy going after Harvard for alleged lack of diversity in their admissions policy, that at best has de minimis result when determining how many African Americans get to be one of the 1600 new students a year Harvard takes as incoming freshman. Is this more important to the NAACP than the millions of Blacks and Latinos trapped in substandard still de facto segregated public schools, where literally no attempt is made to educate them to their potential in a timely manner?

At the beginning of the week I went to UCLA to hear African American attorney Michaela N.Turnage Young, senior counsel for the NAACP Defense and Education Fund and lead attorney in the diversity admissions case against Harvard. When I asked her why the NAACP Defense and Education Fund choose to pursue Harvard as opposed to going after the yet blatant segregation in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and other inner city public school systems, I got silence from Attorney Turnage Young.

Could it be that they didn't want to offend their corporate foundation donors by going after LAUSD et al? Or might it have actually been the greatest repudiation of racist sterotypes by showing that when push comes to shove, when anybody of whatever ethnicity gets a six-figure salary, they turn momma's picture to the wall?

If you still think as I do that these folks have their priorities screwed up, you might just get in touch with them to let them know how you feel:

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

40 Rector Street, 5th floor New York, NY 10006

(212) 965-2200

And if you are really motivated, you might just go to their "Request for assistance form" and fill it out asking the NAACP to finally address our purposefully failed inner city segregated public schools that continue unabated to make African Americans 14 times more likely to be incarcerated, since the majority exit schools without the education and skills necessary to be gainfully employed productive taxpaying members of our society.

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