It has recently been announced that the 2014 National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons (NAACP) National Convention will be held in Las Vegas.
The joint announcement was made by officials with the NAACP and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority officials at the conclusion of the NAACP conference in Orlando, FL.
The NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization that champions for the rights of African Americans.
Many write-ups concerning the NAACP tout them as an organization that fights for the rights of all Americans, however the focus has and will apparently remain on African Americans.
Race is such a touchy subject.
If a white person attempts to move forward with the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP), for example, racist labels start flying, yet it is seems on the flip side that is is perfectly OK to have an awards show for all people and than have a black awards show.
Here’s a great example to better illustrate.
Before writing this article, I was researching an inmate that is incarcerated for murdering her family and wrote a letter to her, just a few moments ago, asking for an interview.
While I was looking up the necessary information as to where to send the letter, I went though the rules and regulations of the prison system regarding mail, phone calls and visitation.
The reason I conducted this research is that I wanted to be knowledgeable about what is allowed and what is not, in the off-chance that the person that I requested an interview might actually want to speak with me.
When I got to the part about phone calls, I was very surprised to see how very expensive it is to communicate with an inmate and was thinking to myself, “Wow, it seems that the prisons are charging extremely high rates for inmate phone calls”.
That was a general thought. It is expensive for people in prison to communicate with the outside world.
I did some further reading and found out that you have to use a particular service, that is sanctioned by the prisons, and cannot just buy a prepaid calling card.
I mentally filed that information and right after I completed that task, the next task on my list was to produce a piece about the NAACP holding their 2014 convention in Las Vegas.
I had heard about it but wanted to see what information has officially been released, and I just happened to come upon this tweet on the NAACP site, which changed the entire scope of this article.
Here’s the tweet
— Peter Wagner (@PrisonPolicy) July 22, 2013
I thought to myself, how coincidental since I was just remarking about how expensive it is for prison inmates to make phone calls only moments ago.
Excitedly, I clicked on the link given,
since I was genuinely interested in reading more about how we can protect the rights of prisoners communicating with the outside world and see if there is anything I can do.
The link took me to his address, http://www.prisonpolicy.org/phones/NAACPprisonphonesresolution.pdf
and here is what is on that site
7. NAACP Supports Proposed Rule by the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) to Stop Exploitative, Predatory Phone Rates for Incarcerated People
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO
Concurred as amended
WHEREAS, racial and ethnic minorities, and specifically African Americans, are vastly
over-represented among the prison population; and
WHEREAS, although African Americans are just under 14% of the overall population,
we are over 40% of our nation’s current prison population; and
WHEREAS, 1 in 9 African American children have an incarcerated parent today; and
WHEREAS, African Americans are also vastly over-represented in terms of Americans
who live below the poverty line; and
WHEREAS, telephone calls are a critical tool to protect civil rights—to improve the
likelihood inmates have a chance to become productive members of society after
incarceration, to enhance the safety of prison facilities, and to help ensure that the civil
rights of people who are incarcerated are not abused; and
WHEREAS, studies have demonstrated and common sense dictates that maintaining a
connection with loved ones, friends, and families while incarcerated is a key component
in reducing recidivism; and
WHEREAS, sadly, some prisoners and their families have been charged exorbitant,
predatory rates for phone service. Costing up to 24 times a normal call, these
unscrupulous phone service providers have been known to charge more than $3.00 per
WHEREAS, given the importance of phone calls to inmates and their families, friends,
and loved ones, and the disproportionate impact that targeted, high cost phone service
has on African Americans, the NAACP has worked independently and with other groups
across the political spectrum and from the religious, civil rights and human rights
communities for over 10 years advocating that the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) reduce and establish a cap on the cost of prison phone rates; and
WHEREAS, on December 28, 2012, the FCC announced a proposed rule to help the
hundreds of thousands of prisoners and their families by reducing and capping the high
I cannot tell you how disappointed I was after reading through the above.
My intention was to become further educated and see how I could help.
Until I got to the site above, not once did I think about race. Not once. Race was simply not a factor and should not be a factor for a inmate being able to make affordable phone calls.
The factor, or point, should be that it appears that the prisons seem to have some kind of monopoly on inmate phone calls and it is taxing on both the inmate and the inmate’s family.
Race was the farthest thing from my mind. Race NEVER entered the equation at all.
That is until I read the the wording of the NAACP Supports Proposed Rule by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to Stop Exploitative, Predatory Phone Rates for Incarcerated People.
It was only supported by the NAACP after it was amended by the NAACP and the NAACP is the group that added race into the wording at least 5 times.
Does the above illustration paint the NAACP as a champion of civil rights for all or, does it come across as the NAACP trying to stop the high prison phone call rates only because it is applies to black people?
Also, could some of the real and perceived racial tensions and problems in this world be caused by well-meaning organizations, such as the NAACP, because they are the ones who are actually making everything about race when race was not, or should not, have been a factor.
What about Norfolk NAACP President, Tristan Breaux who is being barraged with calls to step down because he had an opinion that did not entirely favor Trayvon Martin? Last time I checked, this was still America.
Whether he is black, white, yellow, orange or anything in between, he is entitled to his opinion.
Breaux, who, so far the NAACP is supporting, said,
I wonder why is it that we are always willing to say someone who clearly had a shaky past, was the victim. Are we blinded about why Trayvon was at his dad’s house in the first place, and why he wasn’t at home at the time he was shot? Please think logically and not racially.
Now back to the original intention of this article. The 2014 NAACAP National Convention will be held in Las Vegas.
Let’s hope that race will not be forcibly injected into each and every conversation because this can cause problems. Especially when some people are not even seeing race, (I can’t be the only one not seeing race), until it is constantly pointed out to them and stuffed down their throats.
People are People and should be treated as such.