culture shockers: Thank you, NAACP for calling out the Tea Party

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Earlier this week, the NAACP called on the Tea Party to reject the racism that exists within its own ranks. Not surprisingly, Tea Party activists were outraged and denied that racism is a part of their movement — despite a clear, documented pattern of bigotry and hate.Yesterday, one of the Tea Party’s biggest leaders proved the NAACP’s point. Mark Williams, the public face of the Tea Party Express, attacked the NAACP as a “racist” organization, and said “they make more money off of race than any slave trader, ever.”

The NAACP has a history of combating racism and seeking a more just country for all Americans.

Here’s a portion of Mark Williams’ shocking blog post, written in the form of a mock letter to President Abraham Lincoln:

“We Colored People 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!”

He goes on to say:

“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 Colored People 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.”

If Tea Party leaders want to have any credibility on race, they need to start by kicking Mark Williams out of their movement. And word to the wise, the terms “Colored,” “massa,” and that television quote are pretty blatant example of his ignorance. If the Party refuses to remove Williams, it will be clearer than ever that Tea Party leaders accept, rely and approve racism as an integral part of their approach to politics.

A few months ago, Tim Wise, a prominent anti-racism activist, wrote a widely circulated article called, “Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black “ which challenged America to take a close look at the their hypocrisy. Rapper Jasiri X made a Hip Hop music video  in response called “What if the Tea Party was Black.”

“The main principle political voice coming from the Right, right now, is the Tea Party. Even though you have a Tea Party that is very angry, racist-messaged, and armed, often times, they’re portrayed as just being patriotic and just wanting to do what’s best for their country,” Rapper Jasiri X states in the opening lines of his political YouTube music video.

One commented on the post and wrote, “I love the way black people think that the Tea Party is getting a pass. The government media complex has been accusing them of racism since day 1 despite any evidence to prove that.”

Now, with Williams’ above statements and other past examples, we think they have provided full proof.

The racism we’ve seen within the Tea Party movement is dangerous — it’s the promotion of a hateful agenda under the guise of political empowerment. Forcing the hand of Tea Party leaders is important if we want to prevent bigotry and hate from driving mainstream political conversations, and worse, public policy.

The good news is legislation has been introduced  to combat such forms of bigotry and hate. Yesterday, Reps – House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced the End Racial Profiling Act of 2010 (ERPA). This critical legislation will eliminate law enforcement practices of singling out people for heightened scrutiny, based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin. As a product of years of extensive consultation with both the law enforcement and civil rights communities, this legislation represents the most comprehensive federal commitment to healing the rift caused by racial profiling and restoring public confidence in the criminal justice system at-large.

Take action and sign the petition to stop racial profiling! In the era of Williams and his Tea Party movement, we must ensure that such racism does not affect the making of our nation’s laws.

Also take action and join Color of Change in challenging Tea Party leaders to reject Williams’ statements and remove him from his position at the Tea Party Express. And please ask your friends and family to do the same.

July 16, 2010 by Priya
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