Commentary: NAACP's Call For Boycott Embarrassing
On Monday, Charlotte NAACP President Kojo Nantambu led a protest in Uptown Charlotte. He's upset that CMS had a snow make-up day on Martin Luther King Day. He referred to Charlotte as a "racist bastion" and called for organizations to boycott the city. Toreka James of Charlotte isn't impressed with his comments, and recorded this commentary. Please listen, leaders of the Charlotte branch of the NAACP. I am appalled and embarrassed by your recent comments and actions, especially your call for groups to boycott Charlotte over the school district's decision to hold school on the MLK holiday. You call CMS racist for doing so, when in fact it is you who has dishonored the memory of Dr. King. Dr. King stood for the betterment of our people not just through integration, but the pursuit of education. His dream was that our youth would rise up and surpass the limitations put in place by white society to denigrate blacks; that our future generations would not just have a future, but control their future. And he believed this could only be done through the constant quest for knowledge. I'm positive that were he alive today, not only would Dr. King be in agreement with CMS requiring schools to be in session, he'd also oppose having schools closed AT ALL in his honor. The youth of today best pay tribute to Dr. King by pursuing knowledge and furthering themselves, not by having a "day off." Part of your argument is that CMS would never choose Easter or Christmas to use as a make-up day. This is a poor comparison. Do you compare the mortal accomplishments of Dr. King to the veneration of the Christian God? Again, I believe Dr. King would be in disagreement with this opinion. CMS students missed nearly a week of schooling due to weather. This time must be made up; these lessons must be taught. Parents have the right to keep their kids home if they're that concerned about them being in school on the MLK holiday. Do not fault the school system for requiring that children be in school. You condemn CMS for a decision that numerous black and/or Christian private schools also made. Are they also racist? Have they too dishonored Dr. King by believing children should continue their studies on his holiday? Shall you hold demonstrations in front of these facilities as well, or is CMS considered to be the only offender? Your call for organizations to boycott Charlotte will in fact harm the very people you claim to hold in your interest. Conventions, tournaments, and the like are an economic boon to the city, one that we cannot afford to have passed over because your delicate sensibilities have been upset. When Charlotte has budget shortfalls, city and social services are often on the chopping block, and the people who need aid the most will not get it. How does this honor the memory of Dr. King? I understand your disdain for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. I followed the reports of the school closings, and agree that there was perhaps an undertone of disregard toward those of certain racial and social economic backgrounds. But not everything CMS does is racist, and not every fight the NAACP chooses is just. Your stance to have children skip school sends the message that schooling is a penalty placed upon us rather than a privilege that we had to fight for; we should not encourage our children to miss out on education for any reason, ever. I urge you to reconsider your stance, and to redirect your energy and attention to more significant issues that truly affect the advancement of colored people.