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Bob Woodson: Civil Rights Movement Has Been 'Hijacked'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 05:03 PM

The civil rights movement has been transformed into a forum for whiners and liberal groups and is hurting the African American community, according to Bob Woodson, founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

"What has happened to the movement, it's really been hijacked and really morphed from its original [goals]," Woodson told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It has become a race grievance and an extension of the Democratic Party and as a consequence it's just whining and complaining all the time and to the detriment of the black community. They keep invoking Dr. [Martin Luther] King's name but Dr. King was a man who first of all believed in challenge and debate within the movement."

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Woodson, whose Washington, D.C.-based group helps residents of low-income neighborhoods address the problems of their communities, said in today’s civil rights movement, "everyone else has priority . . .

"It’s as if blacks who tilled the ground, planted the seeds, everybody else comes to the harvest and low-income blacks and the blacks of all races are ignored in this current climate."

Woodson’s remarks came on the 50th anniversary of famous "I Have a Dream" speech by King, the civil-rights maverick he called "morally consistent" and a far cry from many of those speaking for the black community today.

"[King] was opposed to the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, but he opposed with equal vigor the retaliatory violence of the Black Panther Party … But this current crop of so-called black spokespersons are really polarizing this nation in a way that King never would have," he said.

"The very fact that only 27 young blacks die at the hands of non-blacks a year in America and every six months, 3,000 blacks are killed by other blacks so we have a 9/11 in the black community every six months. And they're going to tell us that the major problem facing black men today is the potential for being murdered by some non-white person? That's ridiculous."

He said the reason that today’s so-called spokespersons for the black community are actually deflecting attention away from more critical issues.

"For instance, why if racism was a major problem, why are so many black children failing in school systems run by their own people? Why are they failing in social systems run by their own people?" Woodson said.

"Dr. King said that the highest form of maturity is the ability to be self-critical. And self-criticism and self-examination is what the black community needs more than anything else, but we're never going to get there."

Woodson added that he feels it is "very dangerous" for the civil rights movement to continue to harp on the trial of George Zimmerman, the Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted in the murder of black teen Trayvon Martin.

"It can provoke a backlash in the white community. What happens if a group of whites decide to take the pictures of this white toddler who was shot in his face in Georgia or the World War II veteran who was beaten with a flashlight for $50 or this Australian student who was shot?" he asked, referring to three recent crimes involving black suspects.

"What would happen if they collected these three names and asked for justice for these folks and, therefore if the defendants went to trial for them to say they're guilty before they even tried?"

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