Yesterday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – imagine what happens if anybody should call any of its dues-paying members “colored” – called on its chapters to “repudiate the racism of the Tea Party movement.”
“We take no issue with the Tea Party. We believe in freedom of assembly and people raising their voices in a democracy,” Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement.
“We take issue with the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements. The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no space for racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in their movement,” Jealous said.
The NAACP has defended their position by claiming they have “evidence” to support it…
Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy and policy, laid out what the group feels is the proof during an interview with CNN.”After observing Tea Party activities throughout the country — which culminated with the outrageous and racist behavior of Tea Party activists during the historic congressional vote to pass into law comprehensive health care legislation — the NAACP began more closely investigating the Tea Party. Specifically as it was reported to us that Tea Party activists spat on [Congressman] John Lewis, a veteran civil rights activist and associate to Dr. Martin Luther King, and called Congressman Emanuel Cleaver the ‘N-word’ and called [Congressman] Barney Frank … one of the first openly gay members of Congress, the ‘F-word,’ ” Shelton said.
The NAACP also claims that Tea Party activists have engaged in racist behavior, for example, by waving signs that degrade African Americans and President Obama, in particular. Also, the NAACP says, a number of Tea Party members think that issues of importance to African Americans get too much attention.
“Rather than talking about the real issues of these incidents that have happened … [activists] wind up blaming the messenger,” Shelton said. “It seems like its denial … that allows them to focus on themselves.”
Of course, the “N-word” allegations have never been documented by video evidence despite the presence of thousands of cameras – some, in fact, being held by members of the Congressional Black Caucus in an attempt to catch supposed racist Tea Partiers in boorish behavior. Video evidence also debunks allegations that Cleaver was spat upon, as the alleged perpetrator was merely yelling with hands cupped as Cleaver walked past him within inches of his face. That Shelton would offer such obviously false charges to support a sweeping generalization of the Tea Party movement as racist exposes the fraudulent nature of the NAACP’s resolution.
As you might imagine, the response has been swift, and extremely negative.
Sarah Palin, on Facebook yesterday, had this to say:
The only purpose of such an unfair accusation of racism is to dissuade good Americans from joining the Tea Party movement or listening to the common sense message of Tea Party Americans who simply want government to abide by our Constitution, live within its means, and not borrow and spend away our children’s futures. Red and yellow, black and white, this message is precious in all our sights. All decent Americans abhor racism. No one wants to be associated with any organization that is in any way racist in sentiment or origin. I certainly don’t want to be. Thankfully, the Tea Party movement is not racist or motivated by racism. It is motivated by love of country and all that is good and honest about our proud and diverse nation.
Like President Reagan, Tea Party Americans believe that “the glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past.” Isn’t it time we put aside the divisive politics of the past once and for all and celebrate the fact that neither race nor gender is any longer a barrier to achieving success in America – even in achieving the highest office in the land?
Tea Party Express national spokesman Mark Williams took a good shot at the organization:
“I am disinclined to take lectures on racial sensitivity from a group that insists on calling black people, ‘Colored,’ ” Mark Williams, national spokesman of the Tea Party Express, told CNN. “The Tea Party [movement] is about the constitution of this country…[and] ensuring equality for each and every individual human being.”
And then, of course, there was Andrew Breitbart and Mike Myers of the New York Civil Rights Coalition on Hannity last night:
But Michelle Malkin comes closest to the mark. After dutifully casting the NAACP for the irrelevant anachronism that it is, Malkin offers this:
Question the timing of the tea-party-demonizing resolution? You bet. The NAACP’s man at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. finds himself radically out of step with the American mainstream in the lead-up to the 2010 midterms. He sent his wife to the convention to reestablish White House racial authenticity at a time when increasing numbers of minorities are now as fed up with massive debt, usurpation of individual liberties, corruption in Washington, and chaos on the border as everyone else.
Even Malkin’s statement, while it hints at the real issue, doesn’t quite get there. This isn’t about discrediting the Tea Party, and it’s not about the NAACP trying to make headlines. It’s about something else entirely.
Yesterday, the White House sent First Lady Michelle Obama to give the keynote speech to the NAACP’s convention. Amid a message which mostly touted her federally-run initiative to fight obesity, there was this:
“I know that I stand here today, and I know that my husband stands where he is today, because of this organization – and because of the struggles and the sacrifices of all those who came before us.
“When African American communities are still hit harder than just about anywhere by this economic downturn, and so many families are just barely scraping by, I think the founders would tell us that now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
“When stubborn inequalities still persist – in education and health, in income and wealth – I think those founders would urge us to increase our intensity, and to increase our discipline and our focus and keep fighting for a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”
On the very day Ms. Obama asked the NAACP to “increase our intensity” came the Tea Party attack.
Nothing Michelle Obama said was off the cuff and none of it was off-message. In fact this current controversy is being ginned up for the precise reason the Obama administration is suing the state of Arizona over what is essentially an innocuous immigration law. And for the same reason the Obama Justice Department is stonewalling the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s investigation into the New Black Panther affair. The Obamas are doing everything they can to stoke racial tensions in America so that they can (1) whip up the same frenzy and enthusiasm for the president and his agenda among blacks, Hispanics and Asians which helped put him in the White House in 2008, and (2) claw back as many disaffected white liberals or gullible centrist 2008 Obama voters as possible by using proven means to demonize conservatives and make them unpalatable partners in common cause.
This is yet another example of politics trumping governance within this administration, and another example of rank cynicism over respect for one’s countrymen. The damage to race relations being done by these people will take years to repair, if it ever can be repaired. But that’s none of the president’s concern. If he can burn America down so that he and his fellow ideologues may rule the ashes, this president has demonstrated that is an acceptable result in his eyes.
How to address this outrage? There are three suggestions conservatives, and perhaps the Republican Party, should embrace.
First, it’s time to call for the removal of the NAACP’s tax-exempt status. The GOP has no power to effect that at present, but hinting that a new Republican majority will hold hearings into such questions next year would help make the NAACP a campaign issue. The NAACP is a winner for the GOP this year, as the organization has gone so far off the deep end that they’re protesting Hallmark cards which reference black holes. A group so bereft of intelligence and judgement simply can’t withstand the level of scrutiny which comes from a prominent position in a political campaign, and, like ACORN last year, the NAACP will make further mistakes.
If the Obamas want to fire up their base at the cost of civil order, beating them might require the same thing. And the NAACP, with its decades-long record of false charges of racism, is a perfect example of the left-wing victimization fraud at work.
Second, while it’s probably best to leave gaffemeister Michael Steele in the shadows it’s time for black conservatives, particularly those running for office, to take center stage. If anybody should be a poster boy for Republican hopes in 2010, it should be Lt. Col. Allen West and his candidacy for the congressional seat in Florida’s 22nd District. West is a fabulous orator, an energetic conservative and a born leader. He’s a perfect example of how Americans of non-European ethnicity are just as capable of success as anyone and how statist solutions do not help to bring talent and initiative to full flower like the liberty and freedom which comes from the structure our Founding Fathers bestowed upon us can.
West is wildly popular with the Tea Party movement. He’s a vocal critic of the black racial orthodoxy. And he’s in the lead against Democrat Ron Klein. He needs a prominent place in this election cycle.
And finally, the conservative message to the black community needs to be both aggressive and challenging this fall. With unemployment levels in the black community worse now than at any time since the Great Depression, with inner-city schools in a state of chaos, with cities like Detroit run not just by black politicians but by left-wing policy prescriptions which have brought about destruction reminiscent of Carthage, it is long past time that conservatives stop tip-toeing around race and attack the very structure of black politics in this country. The NAACP’s endorsees and their policies of giveaways, set-asides and excuse-making, covered in mindless charges of racism against anyone who disagrees, have persisted far too long not because there is merit to them but because no one challenges them on their face. It’s time for Republican candidates to call out the Obamas, the Sharptons, the Jacksons, the Maxine Waterses and the rest for the left-wing tyrants they are, and to laugh at the accusations of racism which follow.
The country is weary of the racism meme. Real racism as it is practiced elsewhere in the world simply doesn’t exist in the American mainstream, and it’s an insult to us all for those charges to continue – particularly when they are made by people who are so obviously racist in their own right. But until the courage to hold those accusers accountable is summoned, the public’s desire to move past the juicy “racist” trope will not be satisfied and the same unproductive, divisive politics which contributed to Obama’s election (which after all was a plea by large portions of the American people to finally move beyond the race issue) will continue to plague our politics and policy. Conservatives should embrace a strategy of taking the race-baiters on this fall and exposing them for the charlatans they are.