I thought the NAACP was tardy to the Tea Party when the century-old civil rights organization passed a resolution last week “calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.” I agree with their sentiment, but I initially thought it was late. Where was this resolution over the last year: during the protests last summer, autumn and through the healthcare debate and vote in Congress? Bringing it up now seemed to put the Tea Party back in the spotlight. Politically, I thought it was bad timing.
Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founders of Tea Party Patriots were two of many from Tea Party groups who responded to the resolution. They responded, though, as if they didn’t read the NAACP statement. In an opinion piece in Politico, they said, “The latest strike by the left comes from the NAACP, which has resolved that the tea party movement is inherently “racist.” At its most simple, this is a direct attack on the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans.” They continued, “The NAACP has long history of liberalism and racism.”
Then along comes Mark Williams. He’s a Sacramento talk show host and spokesperson for a group called the Tea Party Express. In response to the resolution by the NAACP, or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – who, to be clear, didn’t say all Tea Partiers are racist, but that there are elements in the movement who are racist – Williams wrote a satirical letter as if he’s NAACP president & CEO Ben Jealous writing to Abraham Lincoln. His argument is that the NAACP is antiquated and racist. His “proof” of that and hook in the letter is the word “Colored” in the organization’s name.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the letter:
We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!
Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government “stop raising our taxes.” That is outrageous! How will we coloreds ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?
Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.
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