fbpx

Why Doesn’t The NAACP Go Hard In The Paint For Reparations? Here Is Their Official Position

Why Doesn’t The NAACP Go Hard In The Paint For Reparations? Here Is Their Official Position

NAACP reparations

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson addresses the 110th NAACP National Convention, July 22, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Activists and some Black politicians are pushing for federal reparations to be paid to native Black Americans, but some are wondering where the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stands in the fight.

The organization’s official position on reparations is, “The NAACP strongly supports the creation at the federal, state, and local levels of commissions to study and develop proposals for potential reparations to descendants of enslaved people and those impacted by slavery.”

It is a one-paragraph statement of position along with various other issues such as paid sick leave, affirmative action, and racial profiling by law enforcement.

The NAACP has issued statements on reparations and has a fact sheet on its website, but it doesn’t seem to campaign strongly for reparations. By contrast, the 113-year-old organization has given a lot of attention to the cancellation of student debt.

According to its reparations fact sheet, the NAACP National Convention passed a standing resolution in 1993 supporting “The Conyers Bill” or H.R.40, which calls for a commission to study reparations but has yet to be passed. The late Congressman John Conyers first introduced the legislation in 1989.

In 2021, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said during an interview with CNBC that the organization still supported reparations when asked about H.R.40. “At the NAACP, we supported that effort then, we continue to support the effort, it’s something that’s needed and necessary for many, many individuals who have been harmed due to strict structural barriers to be made whole,” said Johnson.


Are you interested in getting smart on Life Insurance?
No Doctor Visit Required, Get Policy for as low as $30 per Month
Click here to take the next step

He continued to say that the NAACP has always backed H.R.40. He said, “At the NAACP we supported that effort then, we continue to support the effort, it’s something that’s needed and necessary for many, many individuals who have been harmed as a result of strict structural barriers to be made whole,” he said.

Also in 2021, the NAACP Mystic Valley Area Branch in Massachusetts recently sent every member of Congress a copy of the book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.” Written by reparations scholars William Sandy Darity and A. Kristen Mullen, “From Here to Equality” is considered the preeminent book and argument for reparations.

But this was not a move made by the national office, but a regional chapter.

While the NAACP has verbally put its support behind reparations, its efforts to get student debt canceled appears to be much stronger. There are several press releases and fact sheets on student loan debt on its website, and there is an official NAACP campaign to push the issue. The campaign, “50K & Beyond,” is a full-blown effort to get a larger amount of student loan debt forgiven.

The campaign states, “$10,000 is not enough, we’re calling on our elected officials to cancel federal student loan debt with no means-testing. Canceling a minimum of $50,000 in student debt for Black borrowers would: Provide Black borrowers with opportunities to pursue homeownership; develop economy-boosting discretionary income; and fuel upward mobility in the Black community and equitable efforts to close the racial wealth gap.”

The campaign has several partners, including the Hip Hop Caucus and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

In 2021, Johnson tweeted a direct appeal to President Joe Biden to cancel student loan debt. The tweet read, “If you can afford to pause student loan payments over and over again, you can afford to cancel it.’

“There are no paths forward to closing the racial wealth gap without first addressing the student loan crisis in a substantial way,” Johnson said in a CNBC interview in 2022.

Others like Johnson believe that cancellation of debt would help close the racial wealth gap. And since it would address the wealth gap, the cancellation of student debt would, they argue, be a form of reparations for Black America, as Black students hold a disproportionate amount of debt.

Black families have just $5 in wealth for every $100 in wealth that white families have. Because Black students have less wealth, they are more likely to borrow to attend college, Forbes reported. Black students borrow for a bachelor’s degree at a rate 17 percentage points higher than their white peers.

Photo: NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson addresses the 110th NAACP National Convention, July 22, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)