A black tea party supporter offers advice on the movement’s struggle with racism

Some tea party leaders are struggling mightily to overcome the perception that their movement is motivated, in part, by racism against the nation’s first black president:

“We don’t want the worst elements to take this over,” said Brendan Steinhauser, campaign director for FreedomWorks, a national group that helps coordinate tea party activists. “If they do, the tea party loses independents, it loses moderates, it loses people who don’t tolerate this. Being a racist is one of the worst things you can be in this society. No one wants to be labeled this.”

The challenge is made tougher by one of the defining elements of the tea party movement: No one person controls it. There is no national communications strategy. And incidents of racist slogans and derisive depictions of President Obama continue to crop up, providing fuel for critics who say the president’s skin color is a powerful reason behind the movement’s existence.

In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most Americans see the movement as motivated by distrust of government, opposition to the policies of Obama and the Democratic Party, and broad concern about the economy. But nearly three in 10 see racial prejudice as underlying the tea party.

Lenny McAllister, a black tea party supporter, has some advice for movement leaders. In an essay for an black-oriented Web journal called “The Root,” McAllister said that, “even though some of the (tea party) messengers are black, questionable rhetoric will continue to keep folks away.”

As just one example:

It is . . . ineffective for black conservatives to advocate initiatives that . . . recall 20th Jim Crow laws. One example was when some black conservatives supported Rep. Tom Tancredo’s advocacy of literacy tests to “validate” American voters. (That serves) to turn off black voters – and much-needed independent voters – to the efforts of the Emerging Right. . .

It is hard enough for African-Americans to engage Tea Partiers when the rhetoric and language from the fringe elements of the movement promote “reloading” and “targeting” soon after violent incidents were associated with them in March. But what often keeps more diversity out of the movement are the fringe elements – within Black conservatism – denying African-American culture, African-American history, and African-American challenges with their rhetoric and language while promoting conservative principles.

McAllister and I were recently guests on Michel Martin’s NPR radio show, “Tell Me More.” Among other things, we discussed the efforts of Andrew Brietbart and other conservatives to deny that Congressman John Lewis and other black Democrats were subjected to a racist epithet on the day of the health care vote.

McAllister’s take? He noted that he wasn’t there, so he couldn’t be sure what had happened. But he said he’d seen enough racist signs at other tea party gatherings to know that racism is associated with the movement.

603 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

May 6th, 2010
8:15 am

“But he said he’d seen enough racist signs at other tea party gatherings to know that racism is associated with the movement.”

That’s like saying “all women are bad drivers” or “all men are pigs”. Race has nothing to do with it to some people. On the other hand, some people *cough cough* Cynthia *cough cough* can’t quit talking about it. Isn’t that called projecting, as you say?

Granny Godzilla

May 6th, 2010
8:20 am

I suspect the Tea Partys 15 minutes of fame are just about over.

T-Town

May 6th, 2010
8:30 am

Not a tea partier, but decided to see what all the hubbub was all about. The one I went to was at a retirement center and true to form many older white voters attended, though a couple of minority voters were also there. The theme of the night? Health care and what extra it was going to cost them. No yelling, no racist comments, no rude behavior.

Now I’ve read that this movement was racist and attended by only bigots. Truth be told I’ve only heard of one possible incident since this TP thing began, that being in Washington. I’ve heard rumors, but seen nothing on TV showing any problems.

One older gent said something interesting to me while I was there when I asked him why all the fear with this movement. First, he corrected me and said these were not tea partiers, but Children of Liberty. Second, his take is that the left sees itself, as in the grass root movements and organizations to bring Obama to the WH, and the left is afraid movements such as the CofL, or TP movement will do the same to stop any Obama’s re-election. Last, he said he admired “this young man, full of energy, just don’t like his policies.”

My question is: are there those who fear these people and why?

Cynthia is Sexy

May 6th, 2010
8:31 am

LOL…same BS different day. Ive heard Lewis and the “other black democrats” were subjected to nothing of the sort and I wouldnt put it past Lewis or these “other black democrats” to let their imaginations run wild or just outright lie.

Lewis is by far no saint.

Keep up the good fight!

May 6th, 2010
8:32 am

PB….as usual, your inept post proves the statement. Saying “all women are bad drivers” does not mean that all women are. It does say something about the person who puts that statement on a sign. Just as a racial statement on a sign says something. But when you want to claim that “this sign represents me…but that one doesn’t” all in the same “crowd” (ok…crowd is giving the TPs too much credit – perhaps “group”), and when you have that repeatedly happen…it does deserve some discussion and it does require that some step away and say NO. That did not happen. Instead the Tancredo’s are embraced and applauded. Those holding offensive signs are not ostracized. It is not a single sign in a single event, it is repeated at many.

Projecting? Not at all. Why dont you say something as stupid as “but I can’t be racist, I have a black friend.”

Cynthia is Sexy

May 6th, 2010
8:37 am

This is just utter non-sense. The Dems are shaking in their boots over this TParty and will again and again play the race card because thats the only card available…supposedly.

When given some thought…”Isnt it a pity, isnt it a shame…”

Dont worry my little dems…”The sun will come out tomorrow…”

Keep up the good fight!

May 6th, 2010
8:37 am

Granny…. definitely on track…they are just an extreme part of the Republican party and promoted by Fox News. Of course, the recent protests against the new anti-immigration law showed what real protest crowds are, without the national Fox News promo…100,000 and more in some cities.

Peadawg

May 6th, 2010
8:37 am

“Saying “all women are bad drivers” does not mean that all women are.”

Keep up the stupidity, that was the point. Saying an entire group/movement is *this/that/whatever* just because of a few bad apples is dumb. Saying this tea party movement is racially motivated just b/c of a couple ignorant rednecks is dumb.

Peadawg

May 6th, 2010
8:39 am

The Democrats need something better than the race card. It’s really getting old. How about Obama does something about the illegals, jobs, economy, spending, etc. But no, it’s not about his politics. It’s b/c he half black/half white. *rolls eyes*

Independent

May 6th, 2010
8:39 am

Cynthia, it’s no surprise that 30% of a Wash Post/ABC poll find racial prejudice as underlying the tea party. The poll included Democrats which comprise ~30% of the population. It seems that Je$$e Jackson was a candidate for Pres once as a Democrat. He’s still a Democrat and has always been a racist. The party embraces him and elevates him as well as Al Sharpton another known racist in the cabal of scoundrels within the DNC. Ditto Robert Byrd.

O.J. the Juiceman

May 6th, 2010
8:40 am

I was in D.C. last spring and I attended the tea party event on the capitol.
My family drove down from Jersey to attend.
I believe in smaller government and personal responsibility, not handouts.

But because I am a Black person many of my fellow protesters called me a spy for Obama.
Some would come up and question me with questions like “why do all blacks vote for Obama or the democratic party, and are they racists for doing so?”

Then I saw the pictures of Obama with a bone in his nose calling him a witch doctor. I noticed a lot of the protesters clamored to have their pic taken with the gentleman who had the poster. I saw confederate flags and other derogatory posters toward Obama that had a racial slant not a political one.

I left feeling like it was bigger than policy with most of the tea party people. I felt that Obama being Black was one of the top 3 reasons they were out there.
My wife asked could we leave early because some were drinking and started getting rowdy
and she feared we could be hurt.
As we were leaving I overheard a man telling another man that if the Constitution was kept pure Obama would never be elected because Blacks could not vote. He said the forefathers never intended for chattel to vote. He said thats like letting a cow or a donkey vote. Its your property. The other man laughed

Independent

May 6th, 2010
8:42 am

KUTGF…and the violence spilled forth like an Al Sharpton march to Freddy’s Fashion Mart or a Bill Ayers bombing run.

Keep up the good fight!

May 6th, 2010
8:45 am

Peabrainiac… Of course you missed the subtlety in the comment.

kayaker 71

May 6th, 2010
8:45 am

Boy, some people sure have thin skins. And to think that this is America, where freedom of speech is alive and well. I have never been to a Tea Party rally but am certainly not hesitant to view my concern about the activities or non activities in the black community as relates to responsible citizenry. I certainly do not care what some of the more uninformed tend to call me or others like me. It just goes to show that when the truth starts hurting enough, the only thing left is to smear and villify. If you make ‘em look bad enough, they will lose their credibility with the American electorate. That’s the only thing that you have left.

Cynthia is Sexy

May 6th, 2010
8:47 am

O.J. the Juiceman

May 6th, 2010
8:40 am

Nice comedy routine!! Got anymore good jokes?

PS…dont believe a word of it. Oh and btw…did you take pics of these so-called “afronts?” I would think certainly with something as offensive as what you say was occuring the pix would be available. Share them with us….

Scout

May 6th, 2010
8:47 am

Are we ever going to get back to the correct definition of the word racism ?

TINSTAAFL

May 6th, 2010
8:48 am

O.J.

You are so full of it.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 6th, 2010
8:50 am

Looks like my posts are blocked – tried to post a link to the relevant essay by Dr. Walter E Williams yesterday

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 6th, 2010
8:50 am

jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams050510.php3

commoncents

May 6th, 2010
8:50 am

Funny that a NYT article from yesterday talks about the 32 blacks running for seats across the nation as republicans with people like Allen West saying the Tea Partiers are nice people without racial tendencies. He, along with others, claim the liberal media (which you love to quote so much) are painting the tea partiers as racist and that the rallies that they have been to and that they are supporting are not as described…

Independent

May 6th, 2010
8:50 am

OJ, you may have beat a murder conviction but you’d best offer more compelling evidence for that crap. Even Judge Ito wouldn’t find that admissable.

Keep up the good plight!

May 6th, 2010
8:51 am

Bow to my intellectual superiority as I flawlessly respond democrat talking points every morning! Can’t you just hear my complete superiority in my writing! Hahahahahahah!

ctucker

May 6th, 2010
8:52 am

commoncents, The ‘liberal media” didn’t force anybody to show up at a tea party rally holding a sign showing Obama in a witch doctor’s costume.

nelsonhoward

May 6th, 2010
8:54 am

I was going to put a serious reply on but after I read a few of the others I decided to go with the flow and say that people are way to objective to rise to the bait that they are racist simply because they want the best man or woman elected.

ctucker

May 6th, 2010
8:54 am

Independent, Are you doubting OJ’s word? Calling him a liar?

ctucker

May 6th, 2010
8:55 am

TINSTAAFL, I’m not sure I understood your response to OJ

Peadawg

May 6th, 2010
8:55 am

“party rally holding a sign showing Obama in a witch doctor’s costume.”

Why Obama? They should have done it to Pelosi and Michelle. I’ll never forget, “For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I’m Really Proud of My Country”. And y’all call the tea-partiers racist……

ctucker

May 6th, 2010
8:56 am

Cynthia is SExy, You’ve “heard” they were Lewis and others were subjected to nothing of the sort? Cite your source.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 6th, 2010
8:56 am

I don’t believe any rational person attributes “racism” as a motivating element of the tea party. To borrow a phrase of President Horndog, “It’s the spending, stupid!”

Keep up the good fight!

May 6th, 2010
8:56 am

Hmmm… T-Town posts his personal story regarding the Tea whiners and no one attacks. OJ posts his personal story and gets called a liar. Yet, no one is truly able to challenge or confirm the veracity of either “personal” post…..except that there is sign showing Obama with a bone in his nose that was part of a tea whiner gathering. There were confederate flags at others. An interesting dichotomy in how people are treated and flamed.

TINSTAAFL

May 6th, 2010
8:56 am

Of course OJ is lying. If an experience like his were common, the media would be all over it in a heart beat. Instead, with the exception of a few isolated signs, all we have is hearsay, which is generally regarded as bad journalism in most spheres. If the tea party looked like he described, which is a KKK meeting full of rowdy, rioting, drunk southerners, we would hear about it.

commoncents

May 6th, 2010
8:57 am

CT, How many witch doctor signs were there? At how many rallies? 1 Sign at one rally doesn’t sound like widespread hatred, and 3 rednecks proclaiming blacks shouldn’t vote don’t speak for the whole Party

kayaker 71

May 6th, 2010
8:58 am

ct,

Funny that witch doctors are viewed with a sort of reverence in some cultures. Thought that someone from Africa would know this. Foreign bodies through the nose are rather common in a lot of tribes and denote wisdom and leadership skills. Maybe Bozo would do well to have one inserted as his first opportunity. If it made him any wiser, most of America would applaud it.

Keep up the good plight!

May 6th, 2010
8:59 am

I confuse deductive reasoning with inductive reasoning on a daily basis! I’m an intellectual mastermind!

commoncents

May 6th, 2010
9:00 am

“A black tea party supporter offers advice on the movement’s struggle with racism”

The “struggle with racism” is actually the liberal media’s struggle to keep portraying it as racist

Peadawg

May 6th, 2010
9:00 am

“If it made him any wiser, most of America would applaud it.”

He needs all the help he can get.

ctucker

May 6th, 2010
9:00 am

Cynthia is SExy, It’s funny that tea party leaders don’t seem to think the racism charge is “utter nonsense.”

Rev. Al Sharptongue

May 6th, 2010
9:00 am

I see the typical defenders of all thing white and republican are here espousing their twisted worldview and rhetoric.

I.e. Peadawg and Kayaker 71. They are the types who would have defended Jim Crowe if they were alive then.
They would have fought hard against civil rights for all under the guise of states rights.
These people are mental deficient and bigoted. The world they would like is long gone and will never return.
The south lost and the slaves are free, I can live anywhere I want and you cant burn a cross to stop me.

Kayaker71 :Boy, some people sure have thin skins. And to think that this is America, where freedom of speech is alive and well. I have never been to a Tea Party rally but am certainly not hesitant to view my concern about the activities or non activities in the black community as relates to responsible citizenry

Why are necks like you always concerned with Black people’s problems but not your own. We do not need you uneducated paternalistic bigoted worldview. True you have a right to express it but we do not have to accept it as fact, which is what most of you wingnuts want. And what white problems do you have no problem discussing? Southern bigotry and meth addiction come to mind

You like to make inaccurate or racists statement, then get upset when someone calls you on it. You then hide behind free speech or “I’m a patriot and you are not”
Such ineptness its comical.

UGADawg7

May 6th, 2010
9:01 am

Cynthia, ever heard of the “Crash the Teaparty” movement? There are many dems showing up to Tea Party events pretending to be a part of the movement with racist signs, etc.. their whole purpose is to keep these racism accusations going.

And you seem to forget Obama’s comments… calling his grandmother a “typical white person” because she afraid to cross the street near a black person? Give me a break. If the tables were turned and a Rush Limbaugh referenced a “typical black person” you would be running to your computer to write a blog about it.

Cynthia is Sexy

May 6th, 2010
9:01 am

Just because Lewis and “other black democrats” say something happenend doesnt make it so. No doubt the news media would have audio of such statements and/or video of the “witchdoctor” photo.

Ive yet to hear or see either and if in fact the case is such things did occur I would be right in there denouncing the TPs. Lewis and “the other black democrats” are first and foremost, politicians. This being the case, any and everyword uttered by themselves and “the other white policitians” is held, or should be held to very high scrutiny.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 6th, 2010
9:02 am

Dear Ms. Tucker @ 8:54, I cannot speak for “Independent” but I have grave doubts about the story of our friend OJ; not alleging a “lie” but I am alleging a mischaracterization of the whole. Sounds more like Freaknik than any tea party in my acquaintance.

I would be dishonest if I did not acknowledge that the tea party has its share of nuts, maybe not as large a percentage as the democrats generally, but there are birthers and xenophobes and surely racial bigots – maybe 5% tops, much overlap in those categories – among the nice normal people gathering to condemn the out-of-control spending of the democrat-overlords. Why do you slander the many by condeming the few outliers?

quod erat demonstrandum

May 6th, 2010
9:03 am

While some lefties whine that the Tea Parties are racists – no real evidence except a few bad apples – lets look at the May Day riots on the West Coast and other countries – or how about the pro-illegal marches?

La Raza isn’t a bit racists, now is it.

Willie

May 6th, 2010
9:03 am

Peoploe like Tucker have worked overtime to feed the canard that the Tea party is racist. She has no evidence . But she will nibble at the edges, reprinting what someone else said and hiding from her own bigotry in confidently predicting the racism of the movement before it even started.

Cynthia is Sexy

May 6th, 2010
9:03 am

“I see the typical defenders of all thing white and republican are here espousing their twisted worldview and rhetoric”

Amd/Or

“I see the typical defenders of all thing black and democrats are here espousing their twisted worldview and rhetoric”

T-Town

May 6th, 2010
9:04 am

If you want to see a real movement that was taken over by instigators, check out the old video of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Billed as an anti-war movement, the protest soon got out of hand. Was in Korea waiting for orders moving me to Vietnam and the protest was all over the TV and radio. First pictures were of thousands of young men and women walking up to the convention center when the trouble started. Soon the rock and bottle showers started to fall and what the video captured was older people, some well into their thirties and certainly not students, as the culprits. But what I remember is that the newscasters constantly calling these hoods “students.” Goes to show how the media slants things.

David c

May 6th, 2010
9:04 am

You will NEVER hear Tucker talk about the racists on the left. No chance, No way.

Independent

May 6th, 2010
9:05 am

CT on OJ…Doubt yes, liar no. OJ can prove it but I cannot disprove it. I can post that I observed you while on my last trip to DC taking money from the blind beggar at Union Station but that doesn’t make it true does it? People can doubt me but they can’t accurately call me a liar unless I prove it or they disprove it. Ask OJ to step up with evidence, then we’ll all see where it leads.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 6th, 2010
9:05 am

Apologies, bad choice of words @ 9:02, as I also “condemned” the outliers – “magnifying” would have been the appropriate language

Scout

May 6th, 2010
9:05 am

Racism means a person thinks his race is genetically superior to another. One can be biased, bigoted, prejudiced or just plain mean spirited without being racist.

For example, I am biased against Yankees, Auburn fans and liberals but that doesn’t make me a racist.

Get a grip.

quod erat demonstrandum

May 6th, 2010
9:07 am

Tucker and the other socialists/progressives/far left liberals show their total intolerance for anything they disagree with.

It is they that throw the racist bomb, or the xenophobic rock at anyone that disagrees with their lofty ideas. After all, who are we to disagree with them, we are just poor stupid workers, not the exalted intellectuals.