Conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman compared the NAACP to the Ku Klux Klan, claiming the civil rights organization has a racist agenda.
A Monday panel on J.D. Hayworth’s “Newsmax Prime” convened to discuss the NAACP in light of controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal, a woman whose apparent dishonesty about her past and whose complex relationship with race have transfixed America, and prompted her to step down from her job as head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane Washington.
Panelists included Ari Rabin-Havt, a former senior advisor to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and Newsmax contributors Burkman and Larry Elder. On a panel of four men, including the moderator, Elder was the only one who was black. The other members appear to be white, though Burkman briefly jokes he’d like to self-identify as “Asian” for what he perceives are associated societal benefits.
“The problem,” according to Burkman, “is that we have organizations dedicated to race at all… Why do we have an organization that’s dedicated to the advancement of a group of people with a certain skin color? Forgive me, but that sounds like something awful. It sounds like the Ku Klux Klan is what that sounds like.”
Thus does Ari Rabin-Havt, who is streaming into the show via Skype, bring his face closer to the camera and confront Burkman. “No, no, no. Wait a second. Are you really comparing the NAACP to the Ku Klux Klan?” Rabin-Havt demands.
“No, but they have elements,” Burkman clarifies “I’m comparing them in one sense. In one important sense…”
“Really?” Rabin-Havt interrupts. “Really?”
“They’re both racist organizations in that they are all about advancing a group of people with one skin color,” Burkman declares, further enraging Rabin-Havt, who Hayworth then promptly shuts down.
“Hang on here. I’m the moderator,” Hayworth reminds the panel’s lone liberal. “Time out. Time out. I need to bring in Larry Elder.” Hayworth has his hands in a t-shaped sign, reminiscent of time out calls during athletic competitions.
Elder says he does not think the NAACP is racist. He does suggest the civil rights advocacy group rename itself the “National Association for the Advancement of Certain People” because, according to Elder, the organization “only [wants] to advance people who are left-wing and black.”
“I agree with that,” Burkman concedes. “But I want to press this point. There’s a very important point here. If you are an organization whose sole purpose by definition and by your name is to advance a group of people of a certain race, you are necessarily by definition a racist organization. There’s no two ways about that.”
Jack Burkman runs a conservative lobbying outfit, named after himself, and made headlines last year for trying to keep gay athletes out of the NFL.
The NAACP says in its mission statement that it “[fights] for social justice for all Americans.” Since its founding, the organization’s leadership has been racially diverse and has included white members in senior positions. The NAACP is factually not an entity that advocates only for the interests of one racial identity in America.
The KKK, meanwhile, says it is committed to “solidarity in white communities around the world.”