The civil rights issue with black criminalization around the drug trade is ultimately not centered on the amount of arrests made in the black community, as changing the definition of ”crime” does not change the conditions of these men. Instead, the civil rights issue missed by the NAACP is centered on the conditions that make the drug life more appealing and available to young black men than education, family unity and career advancement–all items that the NAACP used to be more focused on than legalizing crime and community decay.
All three instances exhibit a growing willingness of black leaders within America to leverage the legacy of successes of the civil rights movement and use the historical weight to guide the pursuit of American civil rights away from equality and justice and toward self-prescribed definitions of what is right and wrong based on pop politics and eroding social values. The power driving the civil rights movement of the 20th century was its incorruptible view of justice, a trait that allowed its leaders to appeal to the conscience of the world while leveraging the timelessness of the Constitution to forge past the injustices black people suffered. Today, the call to secure civil rights for people has been spread to political and social offshoots that would make our ancestors cringe should they witness the subjectivity of such contemporary matters–all while we miss grand opportunities before us to stand for civil rights and true justice even if the choices to do so are difficult as they were years ago.
These current decisions to ”advocate for civil rights” only works to corrode the moral authority that black America garnered over the course of history with the abolition movement, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow Era and the civil rights movement of the 20th century. We are in need of a new civil rights movement–in politics, social activism and community redevelopment–but not one that pursues civil rights in the modes recently displayed by the White House, the Department of Justice and California’s NAACP.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the author of the book, Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative). He is featured regularly on outlets including CNN, Fox News and XM Radio. Follow him on Twitter.