SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah politician raised the ire of the NAACP in a tweet about the organization Tuesday.
It all stemmed from the recent condemnation of Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling. Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation. Sterling acknowledged he was the man on the tape, Silver said.
Tuesday afternoon, Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, tweeted: “We should have known Don Sterling was a racist when he gave money to National Association for Advancement of Colored People.”
Lifferth defended his comments.
“Any organization that is set up for the advancement of a specific group of people or individuals based on the color of skin should be no longer acceptable in today’s society,” Lifferth said. “There may have been a time in the past where society accepts something like that, but in today’s age, in 2014, we should be well beyond judging people by the color of their skin.
The president of the NAACP's Salt Lake branch said he doesn't understand the organization.
“I’m just really surprised that someone with his position, being a representative, would be so ignorant more than that of the work of the NAACP,” said Jeanetta Williams. “We by no means are a racist organization.”
The organization invites anyone, regardless of race, to become a member and get involved, she said. “We help anybody that feels that they have been discriminated against, regardless of color.”
Lifferth said that would be honorable, but that’s not what he understands the organization stands for.
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“My understanding is they are the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, so that it specifically identifies people of color. If they were to change their name to something like the National Association for the Advancement for All People, then it’s something I can get behind and support.”
Williams says the organization is inviting Lifferth to attend one of its meetings in the hope he might be more familiar with the goals of the NAACP.
“We should love all people regardless of the color of their skin,” Lifferth said.