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What It’s Like To Be ‘Conservative’ In The NAACP

Image courtesy of Hassan Giordano

By Emmakristina Sveen | The Daily Caller

A leader in the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who has been an active advocate since long before the Freddie Gray incident is critical of the black civil rights group’s politicization of their own mission.

Blind allegiance to the Democratic Party hinders true civil rights progress, Hassan Giordano, chairman of the Baltimore NAACP’s Criminal Justice Committee, told The Daily Caller in an exclusive interview.

“The NAACP — on a national level, not necessarily a local level — has this liberal machine they bow down to that does nothing to help them in the long run,” Giordano said.

Giordano, who is also a contributor to Fox News Radio, identifies as a conservative independent. Although he says that if he had to choose, his allegiance would lie much more with the Republican Party rather than the Democratic Party.

“I’m not the average conservative. I’m Muslim, I’m black, I’m from the hood, I got a criminal record,” Giordano told The Daily Caller. “So you would think, ‘Oh, he’s definitely a typical Democrat.’ But I’ve never identified with the Democratic Party. Ever.”

And while he holds true to the fact that he is not a member of either party, Giordano reflects on how he has been forced to combat this “liberal machine” and defend Republicans who have expressed interest in helping the NAACP.

“When National found out that I was bringing the governor [Larry Hogan, a Republican], the lieutenant governor [Boyd Rutherford, a Republican], and Dr. [Alveda] King to Baltimore and the Sandtown NAACP office, they literally called and said, ‘There’s no way in the world they can come into our office,’” Giordano explained. “Then the Mayor [Democrat, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake] — who kind of gave the us the NAACP office in Sandtown — called and said, ‘No, you’re not allowed.’”

“And then, the president [of the Baltimore NAACP branch, Tessa Hill-Aston] called me,” he continued. “And she said, ‘You know they’re having a fit because you’re bringing in too many Republicans.”

Giordano got involved with the Baltimore NAACP, particularly in the field of criminal justice, after he was in and out of the criminal justice system himself. However, after three years on the branch’s executive board and consistent frustrations with the national organization, Giordano has submitted his letter of resignation to pursue his civil rights activism in the political sphere.

“[This] is what I hate about NAACP national: it’s more media-driven than being productive to help people,” Giordano said. “I’ve always stayed away from it because of that. And even being a part of it now kind of turns my stomach at times.”

Giordano elaborated that the NAACP — from a national perspective more-so than on a local level — is habitually so focused on its public image that it has politicized its mission to fit a “liberal prototype” and will avoid anyone that could compromise that image.

“It’s this liberal machine that [the NAACP] bows down to which does nothing to help them in the long run,” Giordano said. “Actually, it kind of hurts them.”

In fact, Giordano says that while the left is not active in helping the NAACP further its mission, the Republican Party has been trying to help and get involved. But their altruism is almost always being denied so that the NAACP can mold to the liberal public image.

“Through all of [the aftermath of Freddie Gray], our biggest benefactors and the most volunteers who signed up to help us do stuff for the [Sandtown] community were white Republicans,” Giordano recalled telling Hill-Aston. “So if you want to go and sell out to them and say we’re not gonna allow [Republicans] to come through, then fine. You’ll appease National.”

“But guess what,” he added, “Everything you’ve been doing thus far is not without the help of white Republicans.”

Giordano believes that the NAACP tries so hard to maintain its image of the “liberal” stereotype that it doesn’t actually hold the Democratic Party accountable for not actually assisting in its mission, and has become blind to the opposite side of the political aisle who are actually trying to help further the NAACP’s message.

“They act like we have to fit some prototype in order to be beneficial in the community,” Giordano said. “But when we were out in Sandtown giving out resources, not one person said, ‘Well, I’m not taking that because it’s coming from a white Republican.’ I’ll tell you that much.”

Especially frustrating for Giordano has been that the individuals reprimanding him for hosting “too many Republicans” are Republicans themselves, he says.

“Cornell Brooks [president and CEO of the NAACP] is a very intelligent man, very well-educated. He’s a Republican, mind you. Roslyn Brock, our chairwoman for the National Board of Directors, is a black Republican,” Giordano told The Daily Caller. “And that shows me that they don’t care about the ideology, they care about the image of the branch.”

Brooks ran for Congress in 1998 as a Democrat and also served on the transition team for New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie when he was first elected governor. TheDC could find no evidence Brock is registered as a Republican.

Giordano has witnessed this same bias come into play with the NAACP’s communication with the media.

“When it’s effective for them, National will sweep certain issues under the rug and move on to different issues,” Giordano said. “And honestly, those issues will only help the NAACP as a brand, and not do anything to help its membership or cities.”

When asked why he thinks this politicization within the NAACP — an organization that prides itself on its progress in the black civil rights movement — is so prominent, Giordano responded: “I guess they think that the Republicans will drag that image of the NAACP through the mud. It’s a mindset we’re battling.”

Giordano continued, “It would do so much outside of the race, as well as empower our own race, to stop thinking that Democrats are the end all be all.”

Throughout his three years as an elected official on the executive board of the Baltimore NAACP, Hassan Giordano has fought to rid of the politicization that haunts the organization. And despite these frustrations, he is still passionate about spreading his message: today’s civil rights and racial equality movements should not discriminate. Regardless of race, or political party affiliation everyone can be an important asset to the advancement of civil rights.

“The NAACP is typically a liberal-leaning machine, and that’s what I’ve tried to eradicate for years,” he said. “But once people see outside of race, they’ll say: you wanna know what, people are people regardless of party affiliation.”

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