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Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Civil Rights" Organization Pimping Black Women Too?

A week ago I posted about Rainbow Push and the National Congress of Black Women attending a Viacom shareholders meeting to protest negative portrayals of Black women in popular culture. I try to publicize all efforts to combat negative portrayals of African American women in popular culture without casting judgments about the likelihood of success or the quality of the effort. Heck I tilt at my own share of windmills.

What I didn’t share at the time was that almost a month ago, I informed the National Congress of Black Women about DL Hughley slurring the women of Rutgers AGAIN on the Tonight Show. They never responded in anyway, not even an automated e-mail saying they got my e-mail. Because I don’t expect everyone to do what I ask them to do, I was content to let it go because I had done my part by letting them know about the situation, what they did at that point is on their conscience. The only person that I called out at the time was Al Sharpton. I wanted a focussed campaign and I picked him at random.

However, one of the comments on the post about the Viacom protest asked a simple question; What happened after the meeting? After some research the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Which caused me to ask; Why are they talking to VIACOM anyway? They've been attending shareholders meetings for two decades with NO SUCCESS. Does anybody remember C. Delores Tucker and Time Warner? Why aren’t they appealing to the advertisers that subsidize the degradation of African American women on BET, MTV and VH1? Imus isn't off the air because MSNBC and CBS Radio were good corporate citizens, but because his advertisers bailed.

All of this has made me wonder; do “civil rights” organizations really want to end the degradation of African American women in popular culture, OR are they merely exploiting the War on Black Women to garner attention and additional corporate donations. Based on recent actions by Rainbow Push, the National Congress of Black Women, and Rev. Al’s National Action Network ( He's collecting soap >;(), I can’t tell if they are deliberately tanking the fight or just inept and inefficient. If that is true then maybe it is time to shutter their doors.

These are hardly organizations selling fried catfish dinners to keep the doors open. Most of these organizations take in millions of dollars from dues, corporate sponsorships, and taxpayers in the name of addressing the needs of people of color. So we as Black folks have a right to expect competent leadership and effective advocacy from organizations that are taking in money IN OUR NAME.

WhatAboutOurDaughters.Org calls on traditional “civil rights” organizations to abandon seeking redress from media companies and speak directly to advertisers. We call on them to approach the top five advertisers for Viacom and appeal to those advertisers to pull their advertising from all Viacom networks. Viacom has no incentive to change its policies and programming until they have an economic reason for doing so.

The only explanation I can come up with for why these organizations haven’t focused on the likes of Proctor & Gamble, State Farm, T-Mobile, and other large advertisers on BET and VH1 is that it isn’t in these organization’s financial best interest to do so. Are they afraid of approaching advertisers for fear of losing their own corporate sponsorship? IF that is the case, we need to call them on their crap.

Hold Rainbow Push and the National Congress of Black Women Accountable! Ask them why they keep going back to Viacom when they should be going after advertisers? We can't afford vanity protests.

I don't think they actually know how to access e-mail so I am sending e-mails and snail mail. Take time to spend $0.41 and send them a note or call and leave a comment after you do it to let us know the response you received:

National Congress of Black Women, 1224 W. Street, SE, Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20020 Phone 202/678.6788. E-Mail: info@nationalcongressbw.org

UPDATE: Make sure you read the reply from the chair of the National Congress of Black Women to my open letter.

Rainbow Push, 930 East 50th Street Chicago, IL 60615-2702 ph: 773-373-3366, fx: 773-373-3571.

See my open letter to Rainbow Push and the National Congress of Black Women.