IW resident charges NAACP with agitation

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

To the Editor:

The local Isle of Wight branch of the NAACP has now regressed from being a staunch and noble advocate of civil rights to maliciously indicting the entire leadership of the county as co-conspirators circulating racially charged material among county staff and other private citizens.

At the last regular monthly meeting of the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors, I was presented with a document containing very offensive, racially and sexually explicit pictures and words that included instructions from an anonymous sender to “Note the sender and the recipients.” These recipients were myself, the entire Board of Supervisors, several county senior employees and others unknown to me. The implication was clear that all the recipients were guilty of invidious racial discrimination as well as sexual perversity, or, at the very least, extremely bad taste. This document was distributed by the head of the local NAACP.

In 2009 our local NAACP branch attempted to incite racial division in Isle of Wight by publicly advertising a forum that invited people to testify about racial discrimination at Smithfield High School. This effort came to naught when the only substantive complaint came from a white male who stated he was told by SHS officials that he would not be hired for a particular job at SHS because the position was reserved for a “minority” employee. Since no other real complaints were received, no action was taken and it appeared to many that the NAACP considered race relations in Isle of Wight County to be OK, since the only people being discriminated against were non-colored.

In 2010, the local NAACP sponsored a public forum advertised to assist convicted felons in restoring their voting rights. The principal speaker stated that the reason for disenfranchisement of felons was “racism” and her intent was to show convicted felons how to “beat the system.” As far as I am aware, this effort to stir discontent and create racial division in our community also failed.

Now, back to my being libelously included, along with the entire county Board of Supervisors and many others, in the aforementioned list of “co-conspirators.”

After an insensitive “joke” was uttered by one of our elected supervisors (unfortunately mine!) in a public forum on the school budget, our school superintendent, who is black, reacted like a petulant middle-schooler and left the room. It appeared to many that she had just played the “race card” in an effort to discredit an opponent of her budget and nullify his opinion. Up to this point I had been an enthusiastic supporter of our superintendent because she had demonstrated not only professional competence and expertise, but an excellent demeanor in getting along with the various factions competing for my taxes.

But, not only do two wrongs not make a right, but then, to make matters worse, our local NAACP latched onto this “tempest in a teapot” (apologies to our historic 1800 courts building by calling you a teapot!) and this embarrassing incident went “viral” with local TV crews descending in droves on sleepy Isle of Wight County. By last Saturday, our little local dispute was on the front page of one of our regional daily newspapers and letters began appearing in other local media. I have not seen it on CNN yet, but I’m waiting.

In any case, our local NAACP branch has chosen, since they can’t find any real instances of racial divide, to manufacture one and announce it to the world, much to the dismay and embarrassment of our proud county. We know we have done wrong in the past. Two-hundred fifty years of chattel slavery and 100 years of “Jim Crow” are our historical legacy here in Virginia. But we are now sincerely trying to get along and be fair with each other. The NAACP’s continual agitation to create problems where none exist is truly regrettable.

My reluctant conclusion is that our local NAACP branch should either disband or change their name to the “Association for the Advancement of All People” rather then just “Colored” as their title now states. I promise to join this new association!

Albert Burckard
Carrollton, Va.