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