It's also important to keep in mind that ACORN's workers are coming from the same low-income neighborhoods the organization serves, with all that entails -- poor schools, high crime and the sorts of social problems that have been documented for decades.
So the flaws conservatives are pointing out about ACORN are not so much problems associated with that organization per se but more about the problems of being poor and minority in urban America.
NPR has been accused of racism by Liberals (see comments on the NPR website) and conservatives alike who deny that this is what black culture is all about. Yet look at the videos. The ACORN personnel don’t bat an eye to these proposals. No “are you sure that you should be doing this?” Not “what you’re proposing is illegal.” No disgust at the open discussion of selling young children to sexual predators for profit.
To deny the fact that there is prostitution, that children are exploited, the banks are scammed and that there are tax cheats is to deny the obvious. The shocking thing about the videos is the casual way the ACORN workers set about helping these things get done. Looking in the tax code for euphemisms for prostitute, suggesting taking a tax benefit from employing teen aged sex workers, recommending ways to hide the dirty money, ways to lie on the bank loan application. The women look ordinary, yet they seem to have no qualms about telling people how to best to lie, cheat and create teen aged sex slaves. The phrase “the banality of evil” comes to mind because these people are so ordinary, yet stand ready to abet something not just criminal but truly evil.
Commentators, Left and Right, are reacting with outrage that an entire class of people should be demonized even as Frank James tries to give them an excuse. But that reaction to James could due to political correctness. Unless ACORN specifically chose its employees to be criminal facilitators (like the Mafia), or these employees chose to work for ACORN because of a “do anything” corporate culture, James may have a point. Black culture – or certain parts of it – may not see anything wrong with pimps, “Ho’s” and importing teen aged Central American children for sexual exploitation, not to mention cheating on your taxes and lying to the bank. It does explain a lot of black music videos on MTV.
So if the commentator from NPR is right, and these people are representative of a culture that finds nothing wrong with pimps, whores, and child prostitution, we have a problem.
We have to ask how this culture was created and what we can do about changing it. Liberals like to point to historic discrimination and deprivation of Blacks in American society. Pointing to historic discrimination does not answer the question because the activities shown in these videos seem to be worse than those engaged in by the Black underclass during Jim Crow days. We have a Black president thanks to the votes of millions of white people.
I have also been told by people, like Thomas Sowell, who is old enough to know, that the pathology demonstrated by the ACORN films was not a common feature of the days of Jim Crow. So what happened? What is causing this cancerous growth on American culture that seems to infect this group and will it metastasize? What is the cure?
The primary actors on Black society since segregation have been well meaning government programs like Affirmative Action and the War on Poverty. Could these be in part responsible for what we are witnessing?
If NPR is right, these are questions that must be asked …. and answered.