Conservative Critic Blasts NAACP’s Opposition to Caucasian Student Club
By: Steve Brown Staff Writer
September 30, 2003

( – A leading conservative cultural critic took aim at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Monday. The reason: the group’s opposition to a high school student’s proposal to start a Caucasian Club.

"There is incredible public hypocrisy over the entrenched double standards that have come to be taken for granted by the American educational establishment," David Horowitz, author and president of the Los Angeles-based Center for the Study of Popular Culture told "Our (high school and college) campuses are the most segregated and racially discriminatory institutions in the entire country."

At issue is the idea presented by 15-year-old Lisa McClelland, a freshman at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif. Last month she proposed starting a Caucasian Club at her school, which already has a Black Student Union, the Latinos Unidos for Latino students and the ALOHA club for Asian students. According to the Associated Press, McClelland and some of her friends felt slighted and began circulating a petition for the club to foster diversity, not racism.

"It’s not racist because we’re not excluding anyone, and we’re just trying to solve the issues of racial disparity," the Associated Press quoted McClelland as saying. It described her ethnic background as American Indian, Latino, Dutch, German, Italian and Irish.

McClelland told reporters the club would be open to everybody of all backgrounds and would engage in activities such as fundraising and field trips to museums and other locations emphasizing Caucasian history.

But the East County Chapter of the NAACP said it was "vehemently" opposed to the name of the club, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"It’s not culturally sensitive to the community we’re addressing," the paper quoted chapter vice president Darnell Turner as saying. "The club, in name, seems like a backdoor approach to separation. From a historical perspective, this will bring up fears."

McClelland’s motives for forming a Caucasian club are not the basis of Turner’s own personal objections. Rather, Turner said he worries about how such a club might evolve.

"I think she’s doing this for the right reasons, but what’s going to happen when she graduates? What’s it going to turn into?" Turner told the Washington Times, adding that he was speaking for himself, not the NAACP.

Horowitz called the NAACP "one of the most racially divisive and exploitive of organizations in the business," said\b he would warn McClelland that the NAACP would likely come after her, but that she should not take anything "personally."

Horowitz also said he would prefer that there were no race-oriented clubs.

"Personally, I don’t want to see any clubs segregated by skin color, but they exist," Horowitz said. "I understand why people would react negatively to what this girl is doing, but I think it’s completely understandable. And I understand what the NAACP is doing too, but you cannot have a double standard."

McClelland told Knight Ridder reporters she thought she was doing something "good" that needed to be done "a long time ago." She said she was "100 percent" motivated to keep pushing forward and that if her club was rejected at the high school level she would "protest and explore legal action."

So far, according to press reports, McClelland has gathered 300 signatures on the petition, not all of them from Caucasians.

Dan Smith, superintendent for the Liberty Union High School District, which includes Freedom High, told Monday he had not yet seen McClelland’s petition, but noted that schools were on a two-week break.

"The student (McClelland) has been encouraged to work with staff members to work within the system and use the process that’s in place for establishing school clubs," Smith said.

That process, Smith said, involves finding a faculty advisor, drafting a constitution for the club and presenting it to the School Club Council (comprised of presidents of other school clubs). If approved, the club constitution would go to the Association of Student Body Leaders for review and then to the principal, who has final authority.

Debi Neely, McClelland’s mother, expressed pride at what her daughter was doing.

"If it takes one 15-year-old to make a point … that just because you’re using the word ‘Caucasian’ doesn’t mean you’re being racist, then so be it," Neely told the San Francisco Chronicle .

Neely told reporters she has always taught her children to be open-minded. And as far as bigotry is concerned, Neely told the Contra Costa Times she believes it originates in the home. "You learn it from your past, your families," she said. "Mostly, kids

[Lisa’s] age today are like, ‘Why is this still an issue?’"

Recent postings in an electronic forum on the school’s web site () were mostly supportive of the idea.

"As a European-American of mainly Italian descent, I find it upsetting that so many other racial and ethnic groups can have their own clubs, but we can’t," wrote Chris Forte. "Therefore, though I do not live anywhere near Freedom High, I support the Caucasian Club and would like to know if, as a business or "honorary member" (I’m an adult), if I can financially support it."

Another individual, identified only as Mike, posted a statement calling the club a positive idea.

"Regardless of the identity of the people behind the group, there is no justification for saying ethnicities A, B, C and D may have their clubs, organizations, and unions; however, ethnicity E cannot have one," Mike wrote. "No matter which ethnicity is ‘E’ (in this case, the Caucasians), it is a hypocritical statement to deny them what all other groups are allowed based simply on their ethnic status."

Yet another posting, from someone identifying himself only as Dan, did question the usefulness of a Caucasian club.

"What is the Caucasian club going to discuss? What special Caucasian issues are you going to be addressing? How we have the power in this country and have often abused it? How our ancestors came from Europe?" Dan asked. "I can see if this group focuses on Caucasian history, but then it should be called the Caucasian History club. Otherwise, isn’t it just a way to seperate? (sic)"

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