Earlier this week I wrote a post critical of the NAACP for a proposed resolution condemning the Tea Party movement as racially motivated and accusing it of wanting “to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.”
As it turns out, NAACP leadership had similar qualms. Before putting it to a vote of their members, they moderated the resolution to state that “we take no issue with the Tea Party movement,” while urging it to “make clear there is no place for racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in their movement.”
Tea Party officials and supporters strongly condemned the resolution nonetheless.
“No, the Tea Party Movement is a beautiful movement, full of diverse people, diverse backgrounds,” Sarah Palin said on Fox News. “Folks of all walks of life who, for the most part, happen to oppose President Obama’s policies. Not the color of his skin. They don’t care that he’s half white or half black.”
Mark Williams, a national spokesman for the Tea Party Express, was even more blunt.
“You’re dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history,” he said.
Noting that the NAACP has the word “colored” in its name (a vestige of its founding in 1909) Williams then went on to post a satirical letter ostensibly written by NAACP President Benjamin Jealous to President Abraham Lincoln:
Dear Mr. 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!
In fact we held a big meeting and took a vote in Kansas City this week. We voted to condemn a political revival of that old abolitionist spirit called the ‘tea party movement’.
The tea party position to “end the bailouts” for example is just silly. Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn’t that what we want all Coloreds to strive for? What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds! Of course, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the only responsible party that should be granted the right to disperse the funds.
And the ridiculous idea of “reduce[ing] the size and intrusiveness of government.” What kind of massa would ever not want to control my life? As Coloreds we must have somebody care for us otherwise we would be on our own, have to think for ourselves and make decisions!
The racist tea parties also demand that the government “stop the out of control spending.” Again, they directly target Colored People. That means we Colored People would have to compete for jobs like everybody else and that is just not right.
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.
Precious Ben Jealous,
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Head Colored Person
Williams has since pulled that letter, but the sentiments behind it are clear. In fact, I would say the debate is now over and that Williams has quite convincingly proved the NAACP correct: There are indeed racist elements in the Tea Party movement, in fact among its national leadership. The Tea Party and its defenders, including Palin and others, can now sit silent or they can take action by removing Williams from his role and condemning his statements.