Oakland NAACP president blasts pro-crime social reforms

Oakland NAACP president blasts pro-crime social reforms
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The NAACP has long been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party for all intents and purposes. Sure, they might swing a bit further left on a few issues, particularly with regard to race, but that’s kind of to be expected.

In Oakland, though, the president of the local NAACP, along with a local pastor, has decided that she’s not really interested in playing nice with certain policies popular with leftists, particularly with regard to criminal justice reform efforts such as defunding the police.

In an open letter to elected leaders, President of the Oakland NAACP Cynthia Adams, and Bishop Bob Jackson, senior pastor at the Acts Full Gospel Church, are calling for a state of emergency to be declared to address the “public safety crisis” in the city.

“Murders, shootings, violent armed robberies, home invasions, car break-ins, sideshows, and highway shootouts have become a pervasive fixture of life in Oakland,” the letter states, placing the blame squarely on failed progressive leadership and efforts by social justice movements.

“Failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police, our District Attorney’s unwillingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life-threatening serious crimes, and the proliferation of anti-police rhetoric have created a heyday for Oakland criminals,” the letter continues, going on to point out how people are leaving the city in droves.

“Unfortunately, progressive policies and failed leadership have chased away or delayed significant blue collar job development in the city, the Port of Oakland, and the former Army Base. That must change!”

Wow. That’s…not what I expected. It’s really not.

But they’re not wrong here. Not in the least from what I can see.

Basically what we’re seeing is a call for a carrot and a stick. Job opportunities represent the carrot–the chance to make an honest living at a good wage and not have to look over your shoulder every time you see a police officer–while pro-policing policies provide the stick.

Sort of.

I’m sure neither Adams nor Jackson would put it that way, but in essence, that’s what we’re talking about here, and Oakland really needs both.

The truth is that while things like Defund the Police sounded great to a lot of people, particularly after the death of George Floyd, most people never had a clue how to actually go about it. They just wanted to cut the funding and assumed everything would be hunky-dory from there.

You can’t do that, though.

Alternative efforts, things meant to actually guide people away from committing crimes, take time to achieve their goal. In the meantime, you still need a strong law enforcement presence–again, the stick–to handle those who are already so inclined.

Further, while many people seem to view law enforcement as somehow anti-Black–a view that I cannot comprehend as anything other than blatantly racist–the truth is that most police officers want to help the community. Oakland’s Finest are little different than officers anywhere else in the country.

Adams is making a lot of headlines for her stance, and it’s really not surprising. We’ve seen far too many black leaders step up and act like the police are the enemy. That’s hardly helpful, especially when your answer is to “gut the enemy” rather than correct any problems.

And I have no doubt there are problems. Police departments are full of people, which means we’re always going to have problems that need to be addressed.

What Adams and Jackson are doing here, though, is what we need to see a whole lot more of. They’re acknowledging that the problems in Oakland aren’t going to go away with a wave of progressive policies that could never achieve what they claimed, even under the best of conditions.

There’s more that’s needed and they correctly called those things out. Much respect to both, particularly Adams as an NAACP president.