Is the NAACP Boycott Against South Carolina Failing?

BabyTateSenior Writer ISeptember 18, 2008

The story has been discussed before, the idea has been bantered back and forth, and seemingly everyone in America has a view on the matter.

In 1999, the NAACP decided to impose a boycott on the state of South Carolina. This boycott requested that family reunions be held outside the state and that entertainers and sporting events avoid the state.

This action sought to bring attention to the Confederate Flag flying atop the State House Capitol. The requested result was to "bring that flag down."

In 2000 the SC legislature voted to bring the flag down. Case closed.

Not hardly.

The flag was placed on a thin pole on the capitol grounds, where it is easily seen by passersby.

There is also a new monument that details the contributions of prominent African-Americans in the state—and there have been many, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The Reverend twice ran for U.S. President and blazed a trail followed by subsequent African-American candidates for higher office.

Should the outrage of varying groups regarding the flying of the Confederate Flag in front of the state house in South Carolina result in the continued boycott of athletic and media events from being held inside the state borders?

In 2002, an opening round of the NCAA Basketball tournament was held in Greenville, SC. Attendance was lukewarm for the Thursday night session but outstanding for the Saturday games. Following the tournament, the NCAA confirmed a previous announcement stating they "wouldn't be authorizing future events in South Carolina until certain issues were resolved."

The following year, a group of business venture capitalists decided it would be wise to hold a football bowl game in the Palmetto State. Shockingly, outside the state interests waned when presented with the "problem that hadn't been resolved."

Without certain capital infusion from the outside interests, it fell upon the state government to provide funds for increasing the size of the chosen stadium in Charleston. Following several discussions, it was considered to close the matter. Finances played a part, but how much did outside pressure play?

In the last political cycle, members of a major political party refused to spend the night in the state due to the NAACP boycott, despite the fact they took part in a nationally broadcast discussion of the issues in a location within South Carolina.

Who did this hurt? The busman who was due a tip from the wealthy entourage of political fat cats? The waitress, the maid, the cook who need their employer to keep them on a 40-hour workweek?

What does all of this mean? Is the NAACP boycott having any effect other than to discomfort citizens of the state who have already had their legislative representatives iron out a reasonable and agreed-upon compromise?

The flag was removed by law from the state capital. It sits on a separate pole, not far from a park area detailing the progress and history of African-American leaders of the state. This matter is settled.

Who is the boycott helping? More importantly, who is it hurting?

Is it helping the child who wishes to see basketball heroes in person but is denied and treated like a second-class citizen because he "lives in the wrong state?" Then what is the purpose of having any freedom of choice concerning actions?

The boycott brought attention to a problem that needed resolving. The matter was dealt with by state citizens and settled as a matter of law. The Confederate flag came down from the state house and was placed elsewhere on the grounds.

It is completely indefensible that any group continues to put pressure upon the NCAA to not recognize South Carolina as having a legitimate right to be considered for events and be due all the opportunities of any other state in this country.

It is time for the boycott to end. It has served its purpose, a fine purpose in the beginning, and was helpful in defining the issues of conflict. Instrumental in bringing attention to a problem that cried out for resolution, let us salute the courage and creativity of those who worked hard to focus the issue and concerns among state citizens.

But this continued, confusing situation is only hurting the citizens whose interests should be protected. Someone needs to look in the mirror: Who is the NAACP protecting now?

You have an organization that needs to have an argument to fight a cause. One can bend the arm and the ear of the citizenry, by force if necessary, but the inner feelings and thoughts of an individual will not be legislated. Knowledge is the key to changing opinions, and sometimes knowledge only confirms what people are thinking all along.

Was this ever about the helpless children who sit with tear in eye, wishing they were considered to be living in a state equal to the other venues where enormous sporting events can be held without worry from vested interests?

There was once a term for this kind of behavior—it was called separate but equal. Sad to see who is behind the most recent variety.