Monday, September 02, 2002
Obviously you must have confused me with the other Julian Bond: NAACP chairman Julian Bond has an op-ed piece in Sunday's Washington Post in which he makes some pretty peculiar claims.
As a longtime and now nonpartisan observer of African American politics...
Nonpartisan? This is the same Julian Bond who said Bush "has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics."
"...he has chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."
Heads the group that ran radio ads in the 2000 election that accused Bush of condoning the dragging death of James Byrd.
But is Bond just anti-Bush or is he anti-Republican?
Julian Bond, the chairman of the non-partisan NAACP, said the Democrats should take special care to use the convention to convey the party's commitment to minorities as "more than the Republicans photo-op approach."
"Comments I've heard about the GOP convention -- 'the stage looked like Saturday night at the Apollo and the audience looked like the Grand Old Opry' -- suggest that won't be difficult," added Bond.
A google search for: "'Julian Bond' praise Republicans" turns up not a single hit of Bond actually praising Republicans.
If that's nonpartisan, I'd like to see what a partisan is.
Actually, Bond's op-ed piece is really has a positive, if faux sentiment.
Whenever African American candidates compete against each other, the allegation of insufficient "blackness" quickly surfaces. It did when I entered politics more than three decades ago. It did in recent congressional elections in Georgia and Alabama. And it has in the District of Columbia.
The accusation surely doesn't refer to skin color; everyone so charged has had ample melanin to be readily identifiable as having descended from African ancestors.
Instead, it seems to refer to language, education and personal style -- as if these attributes were or should be readily identifiable as "black" and "nonblack."
Hurrah. I'll go even further, I don't think that race should be an issue in any election. I'll hold to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s standard -- that men (and women) are "judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin."
But then Bond seems to contradict himself:
I will not endorse any candidate. My NAACP position requires nonpartisanship. But having been born black and remained black for 62 years, I am as well qualified as any to comment on this foolish and dangerous phenomenon.
Remained black? Is he suggesting that it's possible to become white? Or yellow? Or some other color (Michael Jackson not withstanding)?
Silly charges about adherence to an imaginary black aesthetic based on college choices, speech patterns, clothing styles and leisure activities cheapen the political process. They reflect an unhealthy insecurity in those who make them -- and in those who reject them, a healthy respect for democracy.
African Americans properly reject as racist allegations from others that we all think, look and act alike. Why should we impose these reactionary notions on one another?
Bond needs to practice what he preaches. Here's Bond on Californian Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative.
"Ward Connerly, affirmative action's poster child, is at it again," Bond said. "You remember he was the fraud behind California's anti-affirmative action initiative, Proposition 209," Bond said.
"Now con-man Connerly is behind the deceptively titled 'racial privacy initiative'," which would "eviscerate civil rights enforcement.
"As long as race counts, we have to count race," Bond said. "What Ward Connerly will do - unless the voters of California stop him - is to institute the denial of different outcomes dictated by race. We have to work to defeat this dangerous initiative."
Bond can oppose the civil rights initiative, but to deride Connerly as "affirmative action's poster child" -- suggesting a kind of Uncle Tom quality in someone he opposes politically -- is to do the very thing that Bond says he opposes.
I suspect the truth is that Bond is nonpartisan -- as long as both sides in the race are pro-affirmative action liberals. Conservatives need not apply.