The Tea Party and Questions about Racism

I want people to understand that the Tea Party is not a “party” in the sense of the Democratic or Republican parties. The Tea Party is still a large and growing movement of conservatives, moderates, and even some liberals of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities who are dissatisfied with politics as usual. The Tea Party’s dominant “membership” supports smaller government, embraces individual responsibility, loves low taxes, advocates for a strong defense, and longs for a return to the days when we truly cherished the Constitution. Of course, there are racist people in the Tea Party—we have witnessed a number of signs to indicate this. It is, however, unfair to characterize the Tea Party as racist. Just because a small percentage of people associated with the Tea Party resort to using racist signs, it is silly to call the Tea Party racist for the actions of these people.

I know people associated with the NAACP who admit that they hate White people, but should I call the NAACP a racist organization? Would it be useful to examine the racism of the membership of the NAACP? No. I would like to see the same courtesy extended to both organizations. Revolutionary Paideia does not endorse either organization. Revolutionary Paideia appreciates the important role that the NAACP played and continues to play in the fight for equality, justice, and freedom. Revolutionary Paideia also appreciates the Tea Party for its active participation in the political process. For me, it is great to see such zealous political participation in America.

Although I love the passion that I see from Tea Party members, I do not support the racism of some of the members of this organization. I would like for the leaders of the Tea Party to be much more public and vocal about their opposition to racism, and to explaining efforts that they are making to keep people away from Tea Party rallies, meetings, and conventions who create signs that are racist. I know many Tea Party members—all of which are White and I’m African-American—and they do not have a racist bone in their bodies.

Much of the racist charges directed at the Tea Party emerge from a grand strategy to attempt to weaken the success of the Tea Party movement. I contend that many Democratic leaders are trying to charge this organization with racism to attempt to divert attention away from the message of change that the Tea Party offers. When one listens to much of what Tea Party members have to say across the country, the individual can find that they have some serious ideas about how to improve America, and one will find that this is not simply a group that hates President Obama.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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6 comments

  1. It seems to me the core issue in this area is not Democrats or “leftists” or “liberals” calling the Tea Party as a whole “racist.”

    It’s the Tea Party people and the Republican pundits who, when faced with real criticism of some racist Tea Party members don’t deal with those racist members. Instead they cover for them with false propagandist claims that all members have been accused of racism.

    1. Megan, I very much agree with you that Republican pundits are going to have to do a better job of making it clear that they do not support racist acts by some of the Tea Party members, although some Republican pundits have done this. Thanks for reading and your response!

  2. Ahhh yes, racism 2010!

    Here’s a modern take on racism via an article from Kevin Jackson’s “The Black Sphere,” one of my favorite blogs. http://bit.ly/dgzeZe

    As you point out, Antonio, and as shown by Mr. Jackson, racism accusations (not racism itself) can sometimes be laughable and can come from the strangest sources. 😉

    Although there are certainly too many conservative racists, I find most of the racism accusations mentioned in the media, as I believe you do, nothing more than one facet of the continuing progressive campaign to smear Republicans and retain Democrat voters through emotions and hate.

    1. Goose, thank you so much for introducing me to Kevin Jackson’s blog! I added him to my BlogRoll. He has excellent insights on this issue. The people who are trying to make the Tea Party out to be a racist organization are guilty of committing a logical fallacy: the hasty generalization. Thanks so much for your valuable response and contribution.

  3. What you fail to point out about the Tea Party is there lack of denial from the top of the organization. They are often confronted with claims of being racist but never do you hear the appropriate outcry from them. In addition, they have done a poor job of policing their membership.

    To be fair, mainstream media may be only portraying the radical, racist segments of the movie for our viewing displeasure. For this reason, I have decided that I will be attending a Tea Party rally and do my own report.

    1. Yes, in a comment to one of the respondents, I said that the Tea Party leadership needs to be more proactive in policing and addressing claims of racism. I do, however, think that the mainstream media only shares with us the most radical episodes of Tea Party rallies. I look forward to hearing about your experience at a Tea Party rally.

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