Ted Shaw, director-counsel and new president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, had an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post, the point of which was … well, I’m not exactly sure what the point of it was.
He doesn’t exactly disagree with Bill Cosby’s criticism of irresponsibility in the African-American community, but he’s very grudging about any agreement. He is, in particular, unhappy that “conservatives are applauding Bill Cosby for saying that the problems of the black community stem primarily from personal failures and moral shortcomings.” He himself responds to overwhelming problems in that community with regard to, for instance, crime by pretending that any criticism in that regard is somehow counterbalanced by isolated instances of police misconduct in the “war on drugs” (his scare quotes). He lauds “single mothers” who “work for low wages,” ignoring the fact that illegitimacy (seven out of ten blacks are born out of wedlock) is the greatest single problem among African Americans. He wants the U.S. to join “much of the world” and enforce “human rights protections against discrimination on the basis of economic status”–meaning what: that it should be illegal to refuse to sell to someone who can’t pay?
The fact is that most of the problems facing African Americans today cannot be credibly blamed on white racism, and there is no way to solve them except by taking to heart the points made by Mr. Cosby. But many in the civil rights establishment, including Shaw, remain in denial about this fact.