My thanks to Brother Gilson for bringing this to my attention. "Mission creep"? More like Mission Creeps.
Mission Creep and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Misguided Focus
Carol M. Swain
Political Analyst, Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University
Posted: August 10, 2009 06:34 PM
In case you missed the story, last November 4th a polling precinct in Philadelphia, PA was patrolled by an organization called the New Black Panther Party, a Marxist group that in 2000, was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a racial hate group. Video footage shot in 2008, show Black Panther precinct workers intimidating white voters. This was covered by the news organizations, and resulted in charges being filed by the Bush Department of Justice, whose job it is to defend and protect the voting rights of all Americans.
What should have been an open and shut case has become something more troubling, after the Eric Holder-led Justice Department dropped charges against the Black Panthers, who supported President Obama. Currently, this decision to drop the charges, is being challenged by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, (an organization with which I am affiliated).
Now this is the part where things really get interesting.
The SPLC has been mum on the issue, despite the fact that in 2000, it included the New Black Panther Party among its annual list of hate groups. In fact, what is most shocking is that the SPLC has spent far more resources hounding conservative organizations, such as the Center for Immigration Studies, and prominent citizens like CNN's award-winning anchor Lou Dobbs, than it has protecting the civil rights of American voters, which includes white people as well as black. The unrelenting attacks on Mr. Dobbs and others are shameless. The once venerable organization wages war against conservative individuals, principles, and organizations. How unfortunate for America. How unfortunate for the organization's founders.
There is a name for what has happened. It is called "mission creep." Mission creep occurs when an organization strays beyond its original purpose and engages in actions antithetical to its goals. Rather than monitoring hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become one.
From her bio:
Carol M. Swain is a Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. Professor Swain’s work on representation and race relations has earned her national and international accolades. Her highly acclaimed book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress (1993, 1995 Harvard University Press; reprinted in 2006 by University Press of America) was named one of the seven outstanding academic books of 1994 by Library Choice Journal, received the 1994 Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book published in the U.S. on government, politics or international affairs, the Hardeman Prize for best scholarly work on Congress during 1994-1995, and was the co-winner of the Key Award for the best book published on southern politics. Black Faces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Johnson v. DeGrandy (1994) and by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in Georgia v. Ashcroft (2003). Her most recent book, Debating Immigration, is a collection of 18 essays by Swain and other scholars that explore the nuances of contemporary immigration and citizenship in the U.S. and Europe. She has also written and co-authored books on White Nationalism.
A widely recognized expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership and evangelical politics, she is a member of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and was recently appointed to the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her opinion pieces have been published in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and USA Today. She is a regular contributor to CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, and her media appearances include BBC World News, NPR, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Fox News Live, PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The Washington Journal and ABC’s Headline News, among other media.
Before joining Vanderbilt in 1999, Professor Swain was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She is a foundation member of the Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.