Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Chairman of NAACP, Julian Bond visits

<sday, October 8, 2009, Julian Bond, current chairman of the NAACP, gave the inaugural speech of “The Broom Lecture in the American Demographic Experience” lecture series at Carleton. The speech was entitled, “Civil Rights: Then and Now”.

Bond’s lecture was about what may appear to be the changing climate surrounding civil rights in the United States. The speech comes during a national debate on whether the fight for civil rights is necessary, especially pertaining to African-Americans. In the wake of the election of the first African American President, many argue that issues of racism and civil rights are no longer relevant national issues and race-based institutions have outlived their necessity.

During Bond’s visit to Williams House this past Tuesday, he was asked whether he still thought there was a purpose for the NAACP. For the past 100 years the NAACP has been fighting for the civil rights of individuals, and as long as those issues still exist there is a place for the NAACP, Bond said.

His lecture was about the changing face of civil rights and racism in the United States. He spoke of the children in Little Rock Arkansas who, despite violence and ridicule, fearlessly integrated the public schools in the 1950s. Although Barack Obama is president, Bond said, race trumps class. He noted that some sixty years after the Civil Rights Movement, there are still social ailments that leave African-Americans at a disadvantage. Blacks are more likely to be poor and at 15%, the unemployment rate for blacks is significantly higher than the national average. According to Bond, the loss of subprime mortgages for African-Americans was “the largest loss of wealth for African-Americans in History.”

To make matters worse, “hate groups have risen 54% since 2000,” Bond said.

A further difficulty, according to Bond, is that people are more reluctant to call situations racist, which means society is combating an evil it cannot name.

If we can’t call racism or oppression by name, what do we call them? Then how do we fight them? Bond asked.

What made the Civil Rights movement so powerful, Bond said, was not that Martin Luther King and Malcolm X led it; it was a “people’s movement.” It was the mobilization of large numbers of people that made it profound and a movement that could not be ignored.

Nowadays it is not only the civil rights of African Americans that need to be fought for it — is also those who are immigrants, gay/lesbian/bisexual, falsely accused prisoners , etc. His last words of advice for those seeking change are: “It will be up to all of us that America lives up to the it’s promise.” Bond asserted that young people must mobilize like the people of the 1960’s and “be the change we wish to see,” or like recently freed slaves, they will find “that our old masters still control our fate.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *