What’s the Opposite of Advance?

The NAACP has a lot of explaining to do, and it goes way beyond their plan (now cancelled) to honor Donald Sterling a lifetime achievement award next month:

Indeed, the NAACP seems to suffer from amnesia. Almost exactly five years ago, a similar controversy arose when the civil rights group honored Sterling with the same award! At the time, Elgin Baylor, who served as the Clippers general manager from 1986 to 2008, had just filed an age and racial discrimination suit against Sterling. According to Baylor, Sterling had a “Southern plantation” view, preferring to field a team of “poor black boys from the South … playing for a white coach.”

Despite the controversy, the NAACP proceeded to give Sterling its award, even though the billionaire’s track record of housing discrimination against African Americans, compounded by the brouhaha with Baylor, was already well-known. To justify the 2009 award, the president of the Los Angeles branch told the Los Angeles Times that Sterling “has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A,” revealing that the owner donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game.” (Of course, Sterling may simply have wanted to fill the many empty seats at the woeful Clippers’ home games).

The NAACP’s love affair with Sterling apparently knew no limits. The group had already given Sterling its Presidents Award in 2008, according to Sterling’s own website, which is primarily devoted to a long list of the many honors bestowed on him by various charitable groups to which he’s contributed.

Sterling’s remarks to his ex-girlfriend are trivial compared to the damage done to African Americans by his real estate companies, which was well-known by the time the NAACP started showering him with honors.

69 replies
  1. 1
    Ash Can says:

    This is reminiscent of when the VFW endorsed Peter Roskam over Tammy Duckworth in 2006 — a WTF moment so jarring that it all but destroys the bestower’s cred.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    you speak the truth.

    the utter truth.

  3. 3
    Morley Bolero says:

    Good grief.

  4. 4
    Morley Bolero says:

    Good grief.

  5. 5
    big ole hound says:

    Sorry but this oldtimer is under the impression that the NAACP has been underwhelming as a spokesperson for anything. No real clear leader with a constant message has ever come forward since MLK. Jesse Jackson tried but seemed hesitant and grandstanding. This mess should bring someone to the forefront. Maybe.

  6. 6
    Ash Can says:

    And in other, better news, Rep. Michael “throw-reporters-off-the-balcony” Grimm has been arrested. (H/t LGF commenters)

  7. 7
    Seabe says:

    Same reason I cannot get behind HRC. These groups exist these days to award gold stars to celebrities and millionaires, and to fundraise to…give gold stars to millionaires and celebrities. There’s no organizing on the ground to actually enact change that the groups supposedly support. Institutional rot runs deep throughout society writ large. Can’t say every chapter of the NCAAP is this way, but a lot of AA friends of mine weren’t surprised in the least by this.

  8. 8
    Lolis says:

    The LA chapter’s response to Sterling when the story broke was just mind-boggling bizarre. I think they used the word disappointed and refused to say if they would cancel Sterling’s award. I’m sure Sterling gets a nice tax deduction for his donation of seats that would have been empty anyway. The NAACP LA branch look like chumps here.

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    Sunday, April 27, 2014

    What has brought the Bundy’s and Sterling’s out of the woodwork? (updated)

    Lately it can feel like: another day, another racist unleashed. All the oxygen these days is being soaked up by the recent remarks of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. But the truth is – over the last few years we’ve been exposed to a pretty endless stream of this noxious stuff.

    Its no coincidence that this is happening on the heels of electing our first African American president and as the demographics of this country are rapidly changing. But I’d like to look a little deeper and ask what it is these milestones have unleashed.


    The Civil Rights Movement certainly threatened that entitlement. When the dust settled though, most white people went back to normalizing it with what remained of their tradition, economics, religion, etc. And an awful lot of people of color got busy utilizing the doors the movement had opened up for them.

    The next thing you know…we have everything from a Harvard-educated African American POTUS to a basketball player-turned-entrepreneur challenging the hold the 1%ers have on the NBA (why Donald Sterling is threatened by Magic Johnson but not his mixed-race girlfriend). All of the sudden the despised “have the power and wherewithal to not go along with – the perceived entitlement.” The rhetoric of superiority is failing and the hatred is exploding.


  10. 10
    Paul in KY says:

    I would surmise that he has cut them some big checks in the past. Certainly not because of his effective speechifying on behalf of African-Americans.

  11. 11
    Paul in KY says:

    @Seabe: What does Ms. Clinton have to do with this?

  12. 12
    Anya says:

    NAACP is losing credibility over this and they better clean house or they’ll be done. It’s sad to see the decline of the oldest civil rights organization.

  13. 13
    Belafon says:

    @Paul in KY: I think he/she’s talking about the other HRC, the Human Rights Campaign.

  14. 14
    Gindy51 says:

    @Lolis: More than chumps, they look bought, is what they look like.

  15. 15
    some guy says:

    Orgs like the NAACP, or Human Rights for Some Watch, can and should be held accountable by members and contributors, rather than simply the latter.

  16. 16
    some guy says:

    Edited gor phone double post

  17. 17
    Paul in KY says:

    @Belafon: Oh…..nevermind :-)

  18. 18
    JGabriel says:

    Ash Can:

    And in other, better news, Rep. Michael “throw-reporters-off-the-balcony” Grimm has been arrested.

    So how long before the GOP cuts their losses, calls Grimm a liberal, and throws him over the balcony?

  19. 19
    JGabriel says:

    @Paul in KY:

    What does Ms. Clinton have to do with this?

    Context: HRC = Human Rights Campaign.

  20. 20
    Botsplainer says:

    The NAACP is proving that they’re the real racists by throwing Sterling under the bus and declining to support Cliven Bundy’s free speech. And Jefferson Davis was not wrong but he was a Democrat, the KKK is a leftist group, MLK was wrong but he was a Republican (like the freedom crushing tyrant Lincoln). Oh, and black folks call each other “nigger” all the time and get all inexplicably angry when white folks do it as their free speech.

    You can learn a lot from Free Republic.

  21. 21
    Belafon says:

    @JGabriel: First, they’ll convince him to saying something racist, maybe by making a donation to his newly needed defense fund. Then they’ll publicly cut him off.

  22. 22
    Paul in KY says:

    @JGabriel: Reading too fast, I guess.

  23. 23
    Yatsuno says:

    @Paul in KY: Heck I’m gay and didn’t get it as anything but Hillary on first read. So not just you. I blame Monday. And needing moar coffee.

  24. 24
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    It’s not just the national organization, either, sadly. I came to the local branch of the NAACP in the 90’s when a (now former) employer told me I couldn’t hire a highly qualified black woman for a position she applied for because his customers “just aren’t ready to deal with black people.” I offered to sign affadavits, wear a wire, set up a sting, whatever we needed to do in order to document and prosecute. They wanted no part of any action that might attract the notice of the local white business community. It’s the civil rights version of regulatory capture, in which organizations that were founded to guard the rights of the minority become too comfortable in their relationships to the dominant power structures to challenge their monopoly on power.

  25. 25
    Botsplainer says:

    I almost forgot – Algore is fat and lives in a big house, and George W Bush wasn’t a true conservative.

    Oh, and every true conservative is an independent and not beholden to the GOP, even if they’ve voted straight GOP for 50 years.

  26. 26
    JGabriel says:


    First, they’ll convince [Grimm] to saying something racist, maybe by making a donation to his newly needed defense fund.

    I’m pretty sure Republicans don’t really need any convincing to say something racist. It just comes to them naturally, like bird shit on a car window.

  27. 27
    JGabriel says:

    Paul in KY, Yatsuno: Honestly, it was my first impulse to read it that way too. Then I readjusted when it didn’t make any sense. It would have aided reading comprehension if the commenter had put a the in front of HRC.

  28. 28
    Patrick says:

    @The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion:

    Your example and this award begs the question; what’s the purpose of the NAACP these days? They didn’t want to offend the white community and they give an award to a proven racist.

  29. 29
    doug r says:

    @Paul in KY: There is an election in 2014. How about we concentrate on that first?

  30. 30
    Seabe says:

    Yeah sorry for any confusion but given the context of “groups” who fundraise and give gold stars I didn’t think it would be read as Hillary Clinton. I’ve many reasons for not gettin behind her as well, but that’s for another topic.

    The only groups that seem to fundraise and back up their words with actions and organizing are the ACLU, PP, and NORML.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    The linked article states in the second paragraph that the NAACP has withdrawn the planned award. Doesn’t mean I disagree with most of the comments here about the organization in general, their leadership and past decisions, but they did the right thing in promptly announcing they were rescinding the Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Judging by the comments here, including mistermix’s very first sentence, you all sound like you think the award is going ahead.

  32. 32
    kindness says:

    The Clippers owner is abhorent. Which leads me to wonder how his bi-racial ‘girlfriend’ could stay with him? The only reason I could imagine is money. So what makes her different from a paid worker?

  33. 33
    Joel says:

    The NAACP seems to have entered the “Orson Wells doing jug wine ads” stage of its existence.

  34. 34
    Joel says:

    The NAACP seems to have entered the late career Orson Wells stage of its existence.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    @kindness: Well, what makes her different from his wife then?

  36. 36
    Patrick says:


    I suppose one could same the same thing about Sean Hannity doing the right thing in withdrawing his support of Cliven Bundy.

    Neither entity would have done so if this stuff hadn’t become public.

  37. 37
    eric says:

    Mo money, mo money, mo money. No other explanation.

  38. 38
    El Caganer says:

    What surprised me was finding out that the local NAACP has known what this guy was about for a long, long time – very unsavory rep in housing discrimination, for starters (and you’d think that would blow any potential award right out of the water).

  39. 39
    maya says:


    So what makes her different from a paid worker?

    Apparently, from the lawsuit filed against her by his wife and family, she’s just a yoyo on a golden string. CA is a community property state and he’s been giving Ms Saviano money and real estate that isn’t exactly his to give. Wifey wants it back. They also lost a son who died of a drug OD last year. That family has problems. Ms Saviano didn’t do her homework. Kinda like the NAACP.

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    Clearly local NAACP organizations vary. Remember, it’s the NC NAACP’s William Barber who has helped create & lead that state’s Moral Monday protest movement against the right wing assault on North Carolinians.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I suspect, strongly, that Sterling has made a great number of contributions to the NAACP LA chapter.

    Hence their gratitude.

  42. 42
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yeah, that wasn’t actually my point. I completely agree that the NAACP shouldn’t have announced an award for Sterling in the first place (because of his awful history), and that their rescinding the honour yesterday was both “too little too late” and done only because his horrible racial views became public at an untimely (from their viewpoint) moment.

    My point was that just about everyone on this thread, including the FPer, was discussing it as if the award were still going ahead, and I was pointing out that it had been withdrawn. That’s all.

  43. 43
    Amir Khalid says:

    Shrug. Their relationship isn’t what’s relevant here, nor is the purity of her soul. She has (or maybe had) her reasons for being with him; they probably do include money at that. And he has/had his reasons for keeping her around. That’s really nobody’s business but theirs.

    What’s more worrying is that it looks like Sterling bought a defence against justifiable accusations of racism with his donations to organisations like the NAACP over the years. When rich people seek to whitewash their reputations like this, should a body like the NAACP stand up to them and refuse the money, or accept it and use it for their work?

  44. 44
    feebog says:

    These guys are not just “coming out of the woodwork”. There is a substantial percentage of people in this country who hold these racist views. Most of them know enough to not overtly share their views with people they don’t know, or with people they know will disapprove of their views. In Bundy’s case he is so insulated he most likely did not understand the furor his comments would cause. Plus he was emboldened by the fifteen minutes of fame syndrome. Sterling on the other hand, knows he has to watch what he says, as he is a public figure. His comments were recorded by his girlfriend, possibly as retaliation, because of the lawsuit his wife and family filed. He did not expect his conversation to ever become public, which in a way makes it worse than Bundy.

  45. 45
    Paul in KY says:

    @doug r: I can multi-task.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @El Cid:

    Clearly local NAACP organizations vary.

    That was going to be my question, because the linked story was not at all clear: was this an award given by the national organization or the local (Los Angeles) one? The NAACP is not a monolith and there are a lot of local and state branches.

  47. 47
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I don’t think it’s going ahead, and I updated the post to clarify that.

  48. 48
    tesslibrarian says:

    Lately, poor decisions by non-profits have made me not want to donate to anyone at all. Just a couple weeks after I made my annual donation to EFF, they publish a pro-Tea Party post. Media Matters may be trying to crush unionization, just as I was about to do my annual donation to them. And now this from the NAACP.

    If anyone has terrible news about Doctors without Borders, maybe give me a week.

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    Bundy and Sterling: a couple of wealthy, entitled old white male pricks who live in their own cocoon. How is that news in this country? It wouldn’t even qualify as news on my street.

  50. 50
    eric says:

    @tesslibrarian: they are french!!

  51. 51
    slag says:

    I liked that article because it talks about how the problems with our current culture around non-profits and public services are much deeper than just the NAACP.

    Where’s Kay? Did she abandon us indefinitely? This was her bailiwick and reading that article last night made me wish she would come back.

  52. 52
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Shame on the NAACP. Seems like Sterling gave them a little $$$ and they were willing to award him despite his racist actions.

  53. 53

    Lately, poor decisions by non-profits have made me not want to donate to anyone at all.

    @tesslibrarian: I’m down to Planned Parenthood.

  54. 54
    geg6 says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I think he means the Human Right Campaign. If so, I wholeheartedly agree. What a sham.

  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Is the answer to the title question “retard”?

  56. 56
    WaterGirl says:

    @Amir Khalid: That’s the great thing about BJ. I try to read the comments before I comment, and even if I come to a thread late, I usually find that someone has already written what I wanted to say. Both of your paragraphs did that for me this morning, so .. thank you, Amir.

  57. 57
    WaterGirl says:

    @tesslibrarian: I find that Southern Poverty Law Center is a great place to donate. They take extremists to court, they have a teaching tolerance program, they provide lots of good information a out extremists to law enforcement. Always a safe bet!

  58. 58
    kc says:

    “Why is the NAACP in Bed With Racist Donald Sterling?”

    Same reason his mistress was, I’m guessing.

  59. 59
    Heliopause says:

    I’m surprised at the general surprise being widely expressed about this. Sterling donated tickets that probably totaled millions of dollars in value over the years to minority kids. It’s also possible that Sterling has donated boatloads directly to the NAACP or similar organizations. Rich people, racist and non-racist alike, have PR departments that make these decisions and then make sure that community organizations are aware of these decisions. This is how rich assholes burnish their credentials and community organizations go on existing. Also happens to be how our political system works; does anybody vet every penny that goes into the campaign fund?

    Sure, maybe the NAACP should be policing their benefactors a little better. Doing so involves more administrative overhead, of course.

  60. 60
    slag says:

    @tesslibrarian: Wow. I just forwarded that link to the SO. No more EFF donations from this household. That piece revealed an organizational underbelly that no one should see. It was almost Komen-worthy.

  61. 61
    tesslibrarian says:

    @slag: NO KIDDING. I sent them email telling them they’d never get another donation from me after I read that. I haven’t had any sort of response, which sort of makes me feel like a sucker because they used to be one of our larger annual donations.

    @WaterGirl: I’m looking at them now, too. They have tangible outcomes that benefit society.

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: PP is my only sustainable donation.

    @eric: Eh, my great-grandparents were born in Paris. Besides, I first learned about MSF in my high school French class, which is how I think of them, except when I’m typing and am not in the mood to recall accents. ;-)

  62. 62
    tesslibrarian says:

    Also: FYWP.

  63. 63
    The Red Pen says:

    Recently saw a post on Free Republic concerning positive remarks the NAACP made about Rand Paul.

    The comments were pretty predictable, especially the one that basically said, “I guess if this makes liberals mad then I support it,” thus validating Cleek’s Law explicitly.

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @geg6: I just missed it. Should have noticed the context.

  65. 65
    burnspbesq says:

    @El Caganer:

    What surprised me was finding out that the local NAACP has known what this guy was about for a long, long time – very unsavory rep in housing discrimination, for starters (and you’d think that would blow any potential award right out of the water).

    You might think that if you didn’t know about Sterling’s history of writing big checks to charities in LA. Sterling likes having his ego stroked in public, and has been willing to pay handsomely for the privilege.

    Not condoning the NAACP’s slowness to react, but it’s understandable in context.

  66. 66
    SectarianSofa says:

    Fuck the EFF. Broad overlap with glibertarians and freedom cranks. This does not surprise me.

  67. 67
    SectarianSofa says:

    Nice EFF mention here:
    “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet”
    Cyberlibertarianism: “EFF… came out against an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act. ” Out of context, but really, the EFF doesn’t care about you (if you aren’t them).

  68. 68
    another Holocene human says:

    @big ole hound: Ben Jealous did a good job. This was a regional chapter, which is a different matter.

  69. 69
    drkrick says:

    Two “Lifetime Achievement Awards” to the same donor recipient should have never passed the smell test in the first place.

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