While I’m not one of those to say that because we now have a black president – there is no need for a civil rights movement – I do agree that the civil rights movement has lost its way. I have no doubt that there is still plenty of room to improve as far as race relations – but I’m not sure the NAACP is the right organization to lead that charge.
Case in point – the Arkansas House of Representatives is currently considering making failure to use a seatbelt a primary traffic offense, meaning, you can get a ticket just for not having a seatbelt on. The NAACP has objected to this bill over racial profiling concerns. I just don’t see the racial angle in this bill. I can’t see that this has anything to do with race as it obviously applies to everyone. Can you imagine having a march to protest this bill ? ( not that anyone has suggesting a seatbelt law protest march) It seems to me that the NAACP is more paranoid about giving police a reason to pull people over than they are public safety of everyone who drives a car. Such a narrow focus makes the organization appear irrelevant – especially if the bill passes overwhelmingly.
That being said – the police have been known to use minor traffic violations as a reason to pull people over. However, at night I would feel confident saying they don’t know the race of the person who they are pulling over. I’ve had police tell me that they let most of these minor offenses slip until midnight – because after midnight, people are more likely to be out drinking, looking for drugs, and are more likely to be caught with weapons. Meaning, if you are a in a high crime neighborhood diving a car with expired tags, don’t be surprised when you get pulled over.
I can think of lots of areas where the NAACP could more effectively lobby. More drug treatment centers, more options for juvenile offenders, greater transparency in hiring. But they should really stay away from something as race-neutral as a mandatory seatbelt law.