Is it ever appropriate for a group of black people to sit
down together and discuss problems facing African Americans
without the involvement or participation or approval of
white people? I mean, is it appropriate -- EVER?
That is just one of several questions that come to mind in the wake of the African American Leadership Summit hosted by the NAACP in Baltimore June 12-14. Ben Chavis, the organization's Executive Director, and the NAACP itself have come under considerable fire from Jewish Groups, the media, and certain black leaders, primarily because of the participation of Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan. To say that the NAACP and Chavis have become controversial would be an overstatement. However, the nature of the controversy is both misplaced and misguided. And the media we rely on for most of our information are inadequate to the task of providing complete, accurate and fair information to us, particularly since their aim appears to be to ferret out the controversial, and where controversy does not or should not exist, to manufacture it. Black leadership is at a crossroads. It is the intent of this essay to explore questions and issues of leadership, particularly in light of the mutually dependent controversies involving Farrakhan, Ben Chavis and the NAACP.