FEBRUARY 24, 2010
The nation’s oldest civil rights group has bestowed its highest honor upon a self-described “rowdy black nationalist” turned communist whose radical, racist history got him booted as a presidential advisor.
Van Jones, Obama’s ousted “Green Czar,” will receive the prestigious President’s Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) this week despite his controversial history. Though he didn’t last as the commander-in-chief’s special advisor for green jobs, Jones is an “American treasure,” according to the renowned civil rights group.
Far from the divisive caricature painted by some news outlets, Jones has been one of America’s most effective and inspiring bridge-builders, according to the NAACP’s president. He has successfully brought together labor leaders, business executives, civil rights champions, students and environmentalists to find creative solutions to the ecological and economic crisis.
The NAACP conveniently ignores Jones’s well-documented radical history which has been widely reported, even by an ultra liberal newspaper that serves leftwing San Francisco. The Yale Law School graduate and longtime civil rights lawyer became a communist after the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles and says he loathes capitalism because it exploits nonwhite minorities worldwide.
Jones is a committed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist who became a revolutionary after meeting “young radical people of color” in jail and views police officers as the arch enemies of black people. He publicly supported cop killer Mumia abu-Jamal (convicted in 1991 of murdering a Philadelphia police officer), signed a petition suggesting the U.S. government had a hand in the September 2001 terrorist attacks and accused “white polluters” of “environmental racism” for steering poison into poor black communities.
None of this matters to the NAACP, which dismisses it all by saying that Jones “may be the most misunderstood man in America.” His past simply includes some “missteps,” says NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who reminds those who criticize Jones that a defining trait of our country is our collective capacity to practice forgiveness and celebrate redemption. This is a nation built on a second chance, Jealous claims.
Touchy-feely statements aside, crowning a contentious figure like Jones with its highest honor will undoubtedly earn the group extensive media attention. Perhaps it will help overshadow a separate scandal involving the NAACP’s executive director in Georgia who last month was charged with embezzling more than $275,000 from the organization over six years.
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