The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is back in the news again. At its national meetings this year, the organization voted to approve its first ever “travel advisory,” warning minorities and other chosen victim groups not to travel to Missouri because it might not be safe and their civil rights are likely to be violated.
The key part of the NAACP's advisory states: "Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION. Race, gender and color based [sic] crimes have a long history in Missouri." Do they now? The NAACP claims SB 54’s recent passage, which tightens the requirements for employees to sue their employers for discrimination, amounts to a “New Jim Crow Era.”
Far from it, recent passage of Stand Your Ground legislation and permitless open carry, coupled with longstanding Castle Doctrine law, make Missouri a wonderful place to be a woman, or anyone else for that matter.In truth, this is a ludicrous assertion. Jim Crow evokes a very painful time in our nation’s history, but living conditions in my home state of Missouri are worlds away from that sorrowful time. The NAACP has and probably will continue to ignore the radical difference that legal gun ownership has made in the prospects of people heavily impacted by racial animus. As I said on NRATV, armed people are harder to lynch. That is the specter that is raised by the NAACP’s use of language that hearkens back to that difficult era of our nation’s history. The facts on the ground in Missouri prove there is nothing for blacks, women or other minorities to fear in the way of discriminatory animus any more than one might in another state. Far from it, recent passage of Stand Your Ground legislation and permitless open carry, coupled with longstanding Castle Doctrine law, make Missouri a wonderful place to be a woman, or anyone else for that matter.
Upon reading the announcement of the travel advisory, The National Advisory Council of Project 21 issued a press release to castigate the NAACP for its wrongheaded actions. Advisory council member Chris Arps had this to say: “Crime is so rampant in St. Louis that not only have we been named America's most dangerous city, but it's so bad that Gov. Eric Greitens recently dispatched state troopers to help supplement the local police. If the NAACP is going to start issuing politically-motivated travel advisories for St. Louis, it should first start in the crime-ridden communities it has abandoned, yet claims to represent.”
He’s right. Should blacks who already reside in Missouri pack up and leave? Are women and minorities safe here? Once we begin to go down that rabbit hole, the questions that bubble up shine a bright light on the foolishness inherent in this exercise. Missourians enjoy full and unfettered access to the Second Amendment and a wonderful quality of life, points that fly in the face of a supposed “New Jim Crow” anything.
Within hours of the Project 21 release, the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP issued a statement asking the national organization to rescind the advisory or add 38 other states to it to remove the stigma from the Show Me State. Chapter leaders cited possible harm to the hospitality industry as a reason for their opposition. This statement came on the heels of my expressing the very same concern on a local news station.
It’s been said that the NAACP has gone on past its usefulness: If travel advisories and protests are the extent of the organization’s work, I would tend to agree.This was a wise decision the likes of which I hope to see more often. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the NAACP partnered with the governor’s office to work on solutions for inner-city communities? There are so many ways to handle the toughest problems that face us all. Instead of denying access, how about creating more? Instead of driving divisive racial and demographic wedges between groups, let’s come together to realize solutions to improve our region for us all.
It’s been said that the NAACP has gone on past its usefulness: If travel advisories and protests are the extent of the organization’s work, I would tend to agree. On the ground in Missouri exists a unique opportunity to forge a new path ahead, through prioritizing results over ideology or party. One suggestion that makes sense is gun training programs for inner-city residents to enable them to legally obtain guns to defend themselves against the criminals. Initiatives like this have been shown to reduce crime. The NAACP could also adopt a new position on school choice—supporting it creates a way out of poverty for children living in economically dire straights. A partnership with the law enforcement community to increase engagement and trust between stakeholders and public servants would also go a long way in helping make neighborhoods safer.
We must hope that the NAACP moves forward in a spirit of unity to solve the problems facing Americans regardless of race.
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis. She loves God, guns, and is a member of the NRA, obviously.