The Tea Party and the NAACP -- Who Are the Real Racists?

Is it just me or does it seem like people just can't play nicely in the world of politics anymore?

Okay. They never did -- that was just a figment of my optimistic imagination. But it feels a whole lot nastier these days since the Tea Party came on the scene.  Signs show up at Tea Party rallies calling the president the "N" word, suggesting that our president is really in league with terrorists with dark skin, completely forgetting that his mother was a white woman who was born and bred in Kansas.

On top of that, Tea Party chapters admittedly sponsor anti-Obama billboards comparing him to some of the world's most infamous tyrants, like Hitler and Lenin.

It's clear that for those in the Tea Party who want to be media visible, their movement isn't just about taxes, the Constitution and smaller government -- some of them have a race issue. So shouldn't the leaders of that party be held accountable on some level?

It's undisputed that Tea Party members have hurled racial slurs at black members of Congress and shouted anti-gay slurs at Congressman Barney Frank. An African-American Missouri state representative was spat on by Tea Partiers at the same event. Yet, when the NAACP, the organization that has championed civil rights for people of color in our nation, called the Tea Party on the racist actions of some of its members, Michelle Malkin (let's not forget, a woman of color herself), mocked the legendary institution, calling it the "National Association for the Advancement of Coddled People."

Seriously, I have to ask -- if we, as parents, don't accept ugly name calling when our kids do it to others, why do we let it slide in the name of political free speech?

The political right is all up in arms about the NAACP resolution condemning racist actions by some in the name of the Tea Party, claiming that it can't do anything about its "fringe" members. Sorry you TP head honchos. That's like punting when your kid is the playground bully, claiming that you weren't there so you couldn't do anything about how your kid turned out that way. Parents and leaders are expected to take responsibility for certain actions, whether they were directly responsible for them or whether they turned a blind eye and just allowed them to happen.

Whether they've been invited to the "party" or not, there's clearly something about the Tea Party that's attracting those who feel there's nothing wrong with hate speech -- like a billboard that compares Obama to Hitler and Stalin. There will always be people like that and there will always be some kind of organization that either welcomes them with open arms or that at least tolerates them without objection.

As the mom of a Chinese-American daughter, I'm more tuned into racism these days because, as comedian Chris Rock once said, he's wary of the slippery slope of  "accepted racism." As he put it in response to the Iraq War, first it was acceptable to hate the French, then the Arabs, then illegal aliens. He held his breath about when that acceptable racism would catch up with "blacks & Jews" because, as he put it, "That train's never late."

If you believe the argument that the Tea Party doesn't encourage its supporters in using racist signs or comparing Obama to despots, that it doesn't turn a blind eye to those who spit on black elected officials or condone anti-gay rhetoric in the name of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, it does give them a safe haven. And that's the extremely scary part.

There were a lot of people who looked the other way when African-Americans were getting lynched and when Asian-Americans were being put in internment camps. In the end, it doesn't really matter which party or organized group is going along with racism like that. In probably the only time in my life I'll ever agree with Ed Rollins, actions like that shouldn't ever be tolerated by any party or organization. Period.


Image via Greg Williams/Flickr


Joanne weighs in every week on the political world here at Speaker of the House.  You can also find her musings or rantings (depending on the day of the week!), at her place, PunditMom.

discrimination, in the news, politics, barack obama, tea party


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jeann... jeannesager

Just because we have the "right" to say something doesn't mean we should say something. Yes, we have the right to be racist . . . it doesn't make it "right."


Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

That photo is so disturbing.

Sheri... Sheridonia

It's only considered racist because Obama is black. If it was a white president it would be a different story.

jeann... jeannesager

Sheridonia, if he was white, they wouldn't use the "n-word." Which is um, racist?

nonmember avatar SKL

When you say "racism should not be tolerated," what exactly do you mean?  What do you propose should be done to overt racists in a given category of individuals?

Because whatever it is, it needs to be done in a big way in the Democrat party, which is notoriously full of individuals who have been (historically and recently) guilty of all manner of racist slurs, innuendo, and actions.  Even Barack Obama and his sidekick Biden have been guilty of this in public, multiple times.  And the offensive sexist things Democrats have said about Palin are even worse.

No group should sponsor or support racism.  But when you say "tolerate," it sounds like you are thinking the tea party should discipline people or kick them out or something.  The tea party is not a membership organization.  People show up at the rallies - including plants from the SEIU, etc. - and do whatever they do.  It is unfortunate that some of them are racist, sexist, and just plain ignorant.  That, however, does not mean the tea party's philosophy is racist

nonmember avatar SKL


Also, if comparing a politician to Hitler, etc. is racist, then Bush was a victim of racism.  Interesting that it only offends "certain people" when the "victim" is on their side of the aisle.

You'd have more credibility if you examined the actual tenets of the tea party, instead of using these fringe people as a distraction.  If you won't argue the substantive issues, I assume that means you'd expect to lose the argument or sully your brand.

lovin... lovinangels

Nope, no racism has ever been commited in the name of the democrats. Just the tea party. Got it.

nonmember avatar JMHO

The problem here is the repeated information that the Tea Party said these things. Of all the video cameras that were being used and not one clip has been found but it is still being repeated. The NAACP might have been useful at one time but it's time has passed. Any organization that promotes one race over another should not be allowed. NAACP isn't coming forward and denounce the Black Panthers. Time to grow up NAACP members and live your nest.

nonmember avatar IMO

I find it hilarious as well as disturbing that you would use a quote from one of the most racist comedians EVER, Chris Rock, in your attempt to condemn racism!  He has never hid his disdain for white people.  Without his hatred of mean old whiteys he wouldn't have anything to make fun of.  Your column is filled with errors and allegations that have not been proven whatsoever.  At least research the topic a little if you expect to be taken seriously, otherwise you just sound like you're whining.

nonmember avatar Lisa in GA

I think you have it all wrong. People are going to say/do idiot things regardless of what they believe in. It's the media that zeros in on the terrible because it sells. Just like sex. We're always going to hear the bad. Unfortunately, people are more likely to read an article about how someone spit on someone & called them horrible names rather than an article about how a large group gathered to peacefully protest the out of control government. There are nutjobs on both ends of the spectrum, it's the people in the middle that get left out. It's up to us individually to educate ourselves and see through the media rhetoric. I see these dumb@ss's on TV holdin up offensive signs & I see blackpanthers trying to intimidate voters. It's all wrong. I just know what I believe in and I sure as heck don't want the government running me or my family's lives! Most people feel the same way. That's what's going to matter when we hit the poles in November. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or whatever, most people do not want the government all. Up in their business, monitoring and controlling every little thing they do.

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