How Can There be a “Debate” about Tea Party Racism?

I am surprised that there’s a debate over the question of racism in the Tea Party movement. As far as I am concerned, there’s nothing to debate. The facts speak for themselves.

As NAACP President Ben Jealous told Newsweek’s Ellis Close:

We have watched as they have sent protesters to the halls of Congress who have called civil-rights heroes, like John Lewis, the N word and Barney Frank the F word. We have watched as groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens, a lineal descendant of the White Citizens’ Council, celebrate the involvement of their members in the Tea Party … When [former Ku Klux Klan leader] David Duke sees the Tea Party go by, he assumes that’s his parade.

And as Chris Johnson reported in the Cincinatti Beacon on March 21:

As Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) walked past tea-partiers on the Hill, protesters shouted “kill the bill” and some also shouted “nigger” at the two members of Congress.  This was not an isolated incident as it was also reported  that when Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) was exiting a building earlier in the day, he was greeted with shouts and being called a “faggot” which prompted the crowd to erupt in laughter.

In a third disturbing incident, a staffer for Rep. James Clayburn (D-SC) reported that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MD) was spit on by a protester.

One of my readers challenges the perception of Tea Party protesters as racist (see comments on previous blog), saying the movement includes black Americans. And it’s true that there are some non-white Tea Party members. But, according to Gallup, 79 percent of Tea Party supporters are non-Hispanic whites.

As for the other 21 percent? Who knows. People can be pretty weird, and I suppose some non-white folks can find reasons to join an organization that’s obviously a reincarnation of the “respectable” wing of the Ku Klux Klan. But I can’t imagine what those reasons might be.

Look, you can’t pretend racism isn’t rampant in America. I hear it all the time – on the golf course, in snickering jabs at Tiger Woods, for example. I see it in those caricatures depicting the U.S. president as a monkey. And I am appalled by it when Tea Party protesters spit on a black member of Congress.

See photo above, video at:

Naturally, the Tea Party leaders will tell you they don’t condone racism, that the kooks with racist signs aren’t representative of the movement.

But where was the “movement” before America elected its first black president?

The things they’re squawking about are not new. Where were the Tea Party protesters when Ronald Reagan ran up a record deficit? When George W. Bush squandered the Clinton surplus and put the nation in a trillion dollars’ worth of war debt?

And don’t let them give you that stale old line about “states rights” and federal taxes. Where were they before the federal government enacted civil rights laws? And after the elder Bush told them to read his lips and then raised taxes?

The Tea Party denials are as phony as those of Don “Moose” Lewis, the guy who founded a whites-only basketball league. The league bars players who are not “natural born U.S. citizens, with both parents of Caucasian race.” But, “Moose” insists, that’s not racism.

Haven’t you had enough of this nonsense?

Those Tea Party folks might as well come right out and admit it – as California Councilman Bob Kellar did:

I’m a proud racist. You’re darn right I am.