Is the NAACP a racist concept?

A couple of definitions from


  1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
  2. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

I don’t know enough about the organizations activities or policies to formulate an informed opinion, but on the surface it sure seems that it is.

I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.


I do not see how the NAACP is about discrimination or some superiority of people of African descent.

It is about advancing the interests of colored people. Given historic suppression of this group of people they seek to remove inequalities.

Neither your definitions 1 or 2 have anything to do with the NAACP. When it was founded, one of its goals was to reduce the widespread discrimination against black people. Do you consider that racist? It clearly had nothing to do with government, except to try to eliminate racist government policies prevalent when it began and up to 50 years ago or so.

Maybe you can do a little research about the NAACP, its history, and the history of race relations in the US before you start hurling groundless accusations.

I thought the OP was going to ask if the organization is racist because it’s title includes the words “colored people.” (From a technical standpoint that’s no longer true, since they only use the acronym now.) I guess this is a little better but it’s still completely wrong. They do not argue that black people are superior and do not promote discrimination.

It’s certainly a racialist organization, one that intends to promote the interests of one race whether or not there is racism to push against. (IE their support for the Crystal Mangum of the Duke lacrosse case, long after it became clear that she was a liar.) I would say it’s orthogonal to racism - since their activities wouldn’t change, its existence and rhetoric gives zero information as to whether racism is a problem or not.

That makes it useful when racism is a problem and harmful when it’s not; there’s no inherent merit or demerit of the idea (except inasmuch as tribalism is objectionable in general.)

You offer definitions of racism, but don’t bother to offer their mission statement, which is far more relevant.

Their mission statement

So yea, not exactly a black version of the Klan. to mission statement
From there:

I was kind of hoping the OP would look it up for himself, and then quietly ask that the thread be closed.

Maybe he’s reading through the website and deciding whether or not to join?

You win the forum.

I don’t believe I hurled anything, including groundless accusations.

I did review the site, as I had planned, after I posted. I wanted Doper input as well. I could not find the mission statement on the site, but I did find where they support such causes as helping those who have been incarcerated integrate back into society (no mention of race); also, they have an initiative to help support firefighters, law enforcement officers, and teachers.

My original query arose because the name of the organization clearly states that its purpose is to ‘advance’ one group based solely on the color of their skin.

And closing this thread would only stifle further conversation about the topic.

ETA: They do not use just the acronym, at least not in their logo or on their website.


Fair enough, then. Consider that at the time the NAACP was formed, its primary goal was a bit different. Blacks were de jure third class citizens, while other nonwhites enjoyed at least some of the privileges white people did.

The founders of the NAACP were largely white (and to a lesser extent, Jewish). There was originally only one African-American on the steering committee, W.E.B. DuBois.

In the thread title you asked if the NAACP is a racist concept. That looks like hurling an accusation to me (the fact that you framed it as a question doesn’t make it a non-accusation). And now you’re saying you hadn’t bothered to check into the organization, which covers the groundless part.

It doesn’t look like it to me.

And as explained, my question was based (grounded, if you like) on the name of the organization.

So I guess we disagree.

I’m surprised they have not considered re-naming the organization.

ETA: did a poll, the results of which indicated that most respondents prefer a name change.

The NAACP is in a sense a racist organization. It was formed to deliberately help a group of people who were without good options. The existing organizations did not help them. So they formed an organization to try and give that group a leg up in education. There is nothing wrong with that. They needed help.
What was wrong, were all the organizations that excluded them,. but that was the reality they lived in.

Name recognition is important, and they don’t want to lose it. They do call themselves the NAACP and do not use “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” anymore.

You said

No, even on the surface it isn’t… Advancing one group which is behind is fostering equality, not racism.

I suspect the “colored people” part is far more of a reason than the “advancement” part. They are hardly the only organizations whose originally name now has issues - who uses “business machines” in speech or writing today anyway?