The NAACP is officially irrelevant.
That became crystal clear a few days ago when the Los Angeles chapter of the 100-year-old civil rights organization put its collective credibility in jeopardy in a campaign against... a Hallmark card.
The ostensibly offensive greeting card in question was meant to congratulate new graduates with an astronomy themed, rah-rah, job well done message. The grads are now poised to "run the universe," the card says.
When opened, the audio message chirps, "And you black holes -- you're so ominous! And you planets? Watch your back!" (The use of "ominous" is sardonic, as if to mean, "You black holes, with your massive gravitational fields, you're not the boss of me!")
An NAACP official took to the airwaves to call the black holes reference demeaning to African American women. And, in an idiotic burst of political correctness, the card was actually pulled from store shelves, according to a Los Angeles TV news station. It had been on sale without complaint for three years.
Mind you, this is from the same organization that facilitated the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and Brown v. Board of Education, accomplishments that go directly to the heart of its mission "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination." Accomplishments that directly paved the way for the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama.
They're making a mockery of themselves.
We're not talking Don Imus, viciously attacking and demeaning all of African American womanhood with his disgusting "nappy headed hos" quip. We're talking two squeaky-voiced cartoon characters bantering about intergalactic domination.
Even with my rudimentary knowledge of astrophysics, I'm guessing Hallmark meant no offense.
What's next, a protest of the traditional Thanksgiving postprandial shopping spree known as Black Friday? A demand that the term "black gold" be immediately removed from "The Beverly Hillbillies" theme song? How about those black dwarf stars? Certainly there must be some interest group to defend actual black dwarves the world over from this calumny.
I would have to be so thin-skinned as to bleed to death every time I shaved my legs if I let myself be insulted by a talking card. To look for racism in such an innocuous message is not only risible, it's embarrassing.
Ten years ago, a Washington, D.C. official apologized and shortly thereafter resigned under fire after using the term "niggardly" when describing how to handle the city's budget. At the time, Julian Bond, then chairman of the NAACP, responded by rightly criticizing the "hair-trigger sensibility" as regards perceived racial offense, saying that people should not have to censor their language to accommodate "other people's lack of understanding."
That episode was ridiculous. This one is just plain sad.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has a proud history. And it should be proud, like those graduates, of a job well done. But if we are now reduced to manufacturing controversy over a triviality, it would appear that the NAACP's job is, in fact, done.
A version of this post originally appeared on the Daily Caller on June 14, 2010.