Asking the question; Will Africa become America's next colony?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ben Jealous, The Scott Sisters and the NAACP Southern Strategy

There goes the relatively new NAACP President Ben Jealous, speaking with a forked tongue once again. This time he has an Op-Ed in the Afro-American Online Newspaper, taking credit once again for work that the NAACP did not do with the case of the Scott Sisters.  Continuing to diss black bloggers, blogtalkradio host, and black internet activist.

AAP says: "I'm glad to see the staff of the Afro-American Newspaper, see it the way I see it, and are questioning Ben Jealous' ill advised and immature southern strategy in the editorial: We Owe the Mississippi Gov. NOTHING! No Props, No Gratitude"

Ben Jealous

All over the internet Ben Jealous is proclaiming the great work that the national NAACP has done for over a year to support the release of the Scott Sisters. Well the record is not what he contends. From all indications the NAACP became involved in the Free The Scott Sisters movement just a few months ago. Candidly, I must say, I don’t remember the NAACP joining the Day of Blogging for the Scott Sisters, I don’t remember the NAACP joining the efforts of hundreds of African American bloggers and blogtalk radio host engaging communities across America to learn more about the Scott Sisters. The fact of the matter is the national office of the NAACP was encouraged by this blogger to become involved in the Scott Sisters case. The record shows that the NAACP are again, Johnny-come- lately to the issue of the Scott sisters, as they were Johnny-come-lately to the case of Dunbar Village, and Johnny-come-lately in the case of Shirley Sherrod.  Yet, when they become involved, they misspeak, generally screw-up, and become media whores.  Taking credit for work they have not done.

At some point, one must wonder where was the NAACP over the past 16 years while the Scott Sisters were serving two consecutive life sentences each after being convicted of luring two men to a deserted spot in Scott County where three teens ambushed them, hit them with the butt of a shotgun and robbed them of wallets containing anywhere from $11 to $200, depending on the source. Where was the NAACP years ago, when the Scott Sisters mother, Evelyn Rasco of Florida called on the local and national office of the NAACP for help?

Where was the NAACP when Ms. Evely Rasco and her critical supporter and right hand  in the national Free the Scott Sisters effort Nancy Lockhart needed their support years ago?  Where was the NAACP when black bloggers asked for their support? Where was the NAACP when the grassroots, Poor Peoples Campaign headquarted out of Chicago, asked them to "stand up "in support of the Scott Sisters years ago?

As international black political activist Francis L. Holland noted in his blog: "So, why does the NAACP always show up on the scene at the last minute and ask the public to contribute money to the NAACP, instead of doing what others groups do:  ask the public to contribute to the defendant(s)' legal defense account?" More HERE

It's so interesting that as NAACP President Ben Jealous tweeted his approval of Gov. Barbour even though the Gov approved the attaching of conditions to Gladys Scott’s release. It's also interesting that on Wednesday night. Ben Jealous "Spoke to Governor Barbour praising the governor outright. "This is a shining example of how governors should use their commutation powers." he told The Washington Post. Interesting... So... Which Ben Jealous should we believe?

The Ben Jealous who writes in the Afro-American Op-Ed, " Many have objected to Gov. Barbour attaching a condition to Gladys Scott’s release that she follow through on her promise, long blocked by the Mississippi penal system, to donate her kidney to her sister. We share these concerns. We would fight anyone who ever tried to activate such a clause and we would win."

Or the Ben Jealous who writes: "Spoke to Governor Barbour praising the governor outright.”This is a shining example of how governors should use their commutation powers."


Well, if this is the NAACP's new southern strategy, of kissing up to bigots,  it appears that Ben Jealous has a credibility problem.  You see, it is actually Governor Barbour who he has been praising as a "shining example" of how governors should use their commutation powers that he will fight as he activates the clause.

But,  I'm not the only one concerned. The good folks at Jack & Jill Politics are concerned as well.

One of my favorite bloggers. Jill, from Jack and Jill Politics makes some interesting points of her own when she wrote:

“I’ve heard from others in the black netroots some concern and frustration of possible NAACP attention-grabbing over an issue around which black bloggers worked hard online. Plus there’s the whole concept of getting in bed with Gov. Haley Barbour who, just before the holidays, scandalized the nation with his defense of known white supremacists and his attempts to re-write his own history on civil rights. I mean, it’s good I suppose that Barbour realizes that he needs to reach out to the black community in a positive way. Certainly getting a thumbs up from the NAACP is a great way to show how much black folks love you despite your tendency to say stuff that’s kinda racist, right??? Good to have the NAACP’s backing to move the Scott Sisters’ case forward but once again, they are a day late and a dollar short given the efforts of the black bloggers on this without giving much credit where it’s due. Hmm…shades of Jena 6, anyone?" More HERE

AAP says: As noted in the Francis Holland Blog, The NAACP already has a bad reputation for trying to take political credit and solicit financial contributions from the public in cases that the NAACP ignored until the national press moved in.  In the case of the Jena Six, it was discovered that most of the contributions the NAACP received when it sprang on the scene were spent not mostly on the legal defense for the Jena Six, but rather half of the money was spent on NAACP internal administration.  So, public giving to the NAACP did not help the Jena Six directly as much as it helped the NAACP. Jack and Jill Politics said at that time, quoting Yobachi's  TheJena6Blog,

There is more, as Earl Ofari Hutchinson, author and political analyst, wrote in the Huffington Post:

"Barbour's release of the Scott sisters though layered with conditions such as one sister must donate a kidney to the other sister who requires daily dialysis must be placed in that light. The case was the perfect storm of race, gender, politics, medical compassion, and a racially skewered criminal justice system that came together to cry out for redress. Barbour deserves credit for taking the step to right a colossal legal wrong. But taking that step can't absolve Barbour, the GOP and the white South of its ugly racial history; a history that is certainly no shining example of racial justice and fairness."

AAP says; Maybe Mr. Jealous should think before opening his mouth, his mouth got him in trouble when he urged the firing of Shirley Sherrod, now he has again put his foot in his mouth, by endorsing a governor’s plan, before he knew all the particulars.

Yes Mr. Jealous, Earl Ofari Hutchinson is right, The Mississippi Governor is no shining example of racial justice and fairness.

Maybe, Ben Jealous should read the recent editorial by the Afro American Newspaper staff who write:

In recent days some have heaped accolades on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour for indefinitely suspending the double life sentences unjustly leveled against Gladys and Jamie Scott for their alleged role in a 1993 robbery.

What seems to have been lost in the celebration is that Barbour’s action does not grant a full pardon, a clemency or a commutation of their sentences that sets them free forever. Barbour’s action also does not guarantee their suspended sentences will never be reversed resulting in their return to prison. To add insult to injury, as a condition of Barbour’s release, Gladys Scott must give up a kidney to her older sister Jamie, not to save her life, but to save the state money in dialysis treatments.

The women have already served 16 years of two consecutive life sentences each after being convicted of luring two men to a deserted spot in Scott County where three teens ambushed them, hit them with the butt of a shotgun and robbed them of wallets containing anywhere from $11 to $200, depending on the source.

The sisters, now 38 and 36, have always maintained their innocence. They, however, were not eligible for parole until 2014.

Willie Simmons, a Mississippi state senator, reportedly characterized Barbour’s actions as a “bold step" and “a courageous move.”

Really? These “props” are woefully premature. Barbour does not deserve our gratitude for being courageous. His actions bespeak not of honor or humanity but instead reek of self-serving political cover with respect to his aspirations for a higher office.

Don’t forget: Barbour has been governor since 2004 and has not deemed it necessary to do anything about the well-publicized Scott sister case until now. Also be aware that Gladys’ request to willingly participate in the transplant was previously denied by the parole board several years ago.

Some assume Barbour may be able to save face with Black voters with this long overdue gesture while at the same time appease Whites by maintaining a law and order image along with an economically conservative stance. It is Barbour who makes the point that the Scott Sisters were not released because it was the humanitarian thing to do, but instead because they “no longer pose a threat” and one of them, Jamie, is costing the state too much money for her dialysis treatments. In the course of completing this absurd picture of Southern justice, Mississippi now has established a precedent that one may achieve freedom in return for giving up a body part.

Barbour shouldn’t be praised for his two-faced attempt which does nothing but adds insult to the injury the Scott sisters have already suffered from the application of so called Mississippi justice.”  More HERE

AAP says: I'm glad that others are standing in the gap, and seeing what the national office of the NAACP seems to be too blind to see.

Read more opinions:

More on the recent history of the NAACP with black women issues

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