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Right Turn – Left Turn Weekly Topic

Racism and the Tea Party

Is the tea party racist? While the NAACP believe they are, Palin and Biden don't agree with this view.

Read below for our right and left-sided commentator's views on this issue.


Right Turn

righty

Is the Tea Party racist? Which Tea Party is supposed to be racist according to the left? Is the NAACP racist? Is it acceptable in this age of political correctness to refer to black people “colored people”? Are there entities that foster racism as a means of sustaining their relevance? There are so many questions that arise from the NAACP’s ridiculously political ploy regarding the “Tea Party”.

There is no single entity or organization that is the “Tea Party”, but such details are of no consequence to agents of the left as they implement the strategy for minimizing Democrat losses in the November elections. The NAACP plays it dutiful role as an implement of the left by seeking to “repudiate racism in the Tea Party”. They have a pledge on their web-site one can sign to express his support of this repudiation. Of course, the accusation of racism in the Tea Party ties in nicely with the recent follow-up as indicated by the Washington Post headline, “DNC plan tries to tie Republican Party to fringe 'tea party' elements”. Again, there are Tea Party groups and Tea Party activists, but there is no single Tea Party regardless of uniformed bloviating from liberal media personalities.

Is it possible that a racist might attend a Tea party? Of course it is possible. Is it possible that some might attend Tea Parties with signs specifically made to represent Tea Party attendees as racists? It is not only possible, but there have been concerted efforts to organize such infiltrations on a national scale. Yet again, the details are inconvenient for the NAACP as they execute their duty on behalf of the group they seek to assist, Democrat politicians.

Is it possible that the NAACP is a racist organization? They certainly require racism, without which they would no longer be relevant. They have an interest in maintaining at least the appearance of racism. I thought the phrase “colored people” was politically incorrect and therefore taboo, but if this is the case, should not the NAACP change its name? Perhaps instead of “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” it could be more aptly called “National Association for Assisting Democrats through Stoking Embers of Racism” or “NAADSER”.

Unlike the NAACP, which is an organization and is indeed focused on race, there is no single Tea Party and Tea Parties are not focused on race. The Tea Party organizers tend to cherish freedom, a concept one might think would be shared by the NAACP. Tea Parties tend to focus on limiting the reach of government into our lives and reducing the outlandish spending which promises to burden future generations. Of course, one might think the NAACP would not want children yet to be born saddled with debts they had no role in creating. Instead, the NAACP is engaged in exactly what any intellectually honest person could have predicted when Barack Obama won the presidency. Far from being a step away from racial divisions of the past, the election of this President guaranteed that the race card would be thrown on the table with nearly every hand. Regardless of the potential for damage this President’s policies and goals pose, any objection is to be labeled as racist!

I am a Tea Party organizer and am not paid to be one. I do it for my children who deserve to live in a free country and do not deserve to pay my bills. What kind of people would subject their children and grandchildren to pay for current government excesses? Ask the NAACP.

Sam Pierce
Sam is a conservative father of 6 who would like to leave my children the free country our founding fathers established! Individual liberty requires individual responsibility!

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Left Turn

lefty

For the past few weeks, the nation has been engulfed in a cultural war between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on the left, and the confederation of Tea Party organizations on the right. The Tea Partiers took umbrage at the NAACP's passage of a resolution which they believed characterized their movement as racist. The NAACP takes offense at some members of the Tea Party and their purported conduct at rallies and some of its messages and banners. This week, however, the debate has shifted somewhat, and now the dust is finally starting to settle to the point where these and other events can be put in context. But the debate as to who is racist: the NAACP, the Tea Party, or both lives on.

First, let me say that racism is not unique to any one group, party, or country. As a civil rights lawyer, I have represented both African Americans and whites in cases involving allegations of racial discrimination. I have sued predominantly African American Communities headed by African American politicians which have treated white employees unfairly, and I have also represented African Americans in claims against predominantly white communities and organizations in claims of racial discrimination. Racism is alive and well in many forms and among many groups.

Second, it is unfair to paint any organization with the broad brush stroke of racism because of the conduct of certain individuals. In particular, it is not fair to label the Tea Party as racist simply because some of the members engage in racist behaviors. But to say, as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman have argued, that no one in the Tea Party is a racist, is either ignoring racism or shows a lack of understanding as to what racism means. For the sake of this argument, I will define racism as the treatment of specific individuals as if they have certain characteristics or behaviors solely on account of their membership in a specific class or because of immutable characteristics such as race, ethnic origin, and the like. For example, believing that all Irish are drunkards, that all Jews are misers, that all Polish are stupid, etc. are commonplace ethnic stereotypes that I would call racist. With this in mind, can the Tea Party be called racist? No, but there are a surprising number of members who have displayed racist behaviors, so much so that I would venture to call some of these people racist.

So what evidence am I basing this scathing charge of racism on? First, it is my own observations of Tea Party events. No, I am not talking about the pictures of President Obama as Hitler, complete with mustache. I think they are stupid, off-base, childish, but not racist. I do believe that replicas of Obama with a noose around his neck with white-face paint is racist. I think use of the N-word (albeit misspelled) in political signs is racist. The dust-up with Andrew Breitbart and his second airing of doctored videotape depicting Shirley Sherrod as a reverse racist (Breitbart is the person who also aired the doctored videotape of ACORN workers that led to the de-funding and bankruptcy of the organization). I have observed videos of each of these things myself. And if true, I think spitting at African American Congressmen who support health care has racist overtones. Finally, interviews with African American members of the Tea Party confirm that there are some, albeit limited racist activity at Tea Party Events.

I also think the vehemence with which the Tea Party itself responds to charges of racism is proof of a sensitivity that is unnatural, much the way a contemptuous person might argue with you for two hours about how they are not argumentative. So too, this week, the tactics of the Tea Party's spokespersons backfired. The lamented lack of media coverage of the New Black Panther Party and the NACCP's failure to condemn this group's open hatred of white's resulted in Ben Jealous of the NAACP denouncing this group as racist. The Tea Party claimed that its members were not racist, only to have Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams write a letter on behalf of slaves asking President Lincoln to reverse the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments (let's look past for the moment the folly of asking President Lincoln to withdraw these amendments which were ratified after his death), the amendment which outlawed slavery and the amendment which guaranteed equal protection under the law for all citizens respectively. The language of this “letter” engages in the most ugly stereotypes of African Americans conceivable.

To their credit, the Tea Party is now starting to come around, if for no other reason than for damage control. For instance, a Tea Party event in Philadelphia this weekend will feature nine prominent African American members of the Tea Party as speakers (albeit Breitbart is also slated to speak), and the Tea Party did act quickly to remove Mark Williams, but after denying it had a problem with racism for months. My point here is simple, there are fringe elements in any organization. If the Tea Party wants to be considered something more than the political version of an Amway distribution network, it must act responsibly to distance itself from those who cross the line of what is fair social discourse. The NACCP has done so. The report card on the Tea Party on this score leaves room for significant improvement.

John J. Pawloski
Mr. Pawloski is a lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri and an an unapologetic liberal, progressive. He can be contacted on Facebook and his blog can be found at Tumblr.com.



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