Tuesday, 19 October 2010

NAACP Set to Release Report on Tea Party Racism

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The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are planning to release a report this week entitled, “Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of its National Factions.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research explains, “In what promises to be yet another attempt to play the race card against the tea party movement, the NAACP teamed up with the little-known Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights on a yet-to-be released study that alleges tea party ties to hate groups. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network who are also involved in tea party activism expect this new report will be long on claims and short on facts.”

The NAACP plans a press conference for Wednesday in 15 states where the report will be issued.

According to the report:

The result of this study contravenes many of the Tea Parties’ self-invented myths, particularly their supposed sole concentration on budget deficits, taxes, and the power of the federal government. Instead, this report found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity and other so-called social issues. Tea Party organizations have given platforms to anti-Semites, racists, and bigots. Further, hard-core white nationalists have been attracted to these protests, looking for potential recruits and hoping to push these (white) protestors towards a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy.

NAACP’s President and CEO Benjamin Jealous explains the inspiration to conduct the study:

These groups and individuals are out there, and we ignore them at our own peril. They are speaking at Tea Party events, recruiting at rallies and in some cases remain in the Tea Party leadership itself. The danger is not that the majority of Tea Party members share their views, but that left unchecked, these extremists might indirectly influence the direction of the Tea Party and therefore the direction of our country: moving it backward and not forward.

The report attempts to connect the Tea Party movement to a variety of acknowledged hate groups in the United States. According to Politico, while the report is not yet online, the press release states:

The TeaParty.org faction is led by the executive director of the Minuteman Project, a nativist organization that has in the past been associated with the murder of migrant Mexican workers are part of its vigilante "border operations." Roan Garcia-Quintana, "advisor and media spokesman" for the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party and member of ResistNet, also serves on the National Board of Directors of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), the lineal descendent of the Council of White Citizens. In Texas, Wood County Tea Party leader Karen Pack was once listed as an "official supporter" of Thom Robb’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a modern-day white supremacist organization.

Orange County NAACP President, Reverend Randolph Bracy, remarks, “What do you mean 'take your country back.'” According to Bracy, slogans such as these often recited by the Tea Partiers are “a code for a return to Jim Crow laws.”

He adds, “How many black people do you see at these parties? The vast majority of enlightened people of color see this movement as racist.”

Of course, if the color of those present at an organization’s meetings are a determining factor as to whether an organization is racist, the NAACP might have to contend with its own membership statistics.

In response to the NAACP’s report, Kevin Martin of Project 21, remarks, “Every other attack against the tea parties failed, so it’s back to square one for the NAACP. Their convention resolution blew up in their face. Their ‘Tea Party Tracker’ website fizzled. If this study follows the trend, don’t expect much. Has anyone told the NAACP president Ben Jealous that it’s three strikes and you’re out?”

Project 21’s Emery McClendon adds, “Based on their past allegations about the tea parties, I expect the NAACP’s newest attack will once again be riddled with stupid and baseless accusations. They are continuing to be the ‘squeaky wheel’ that demands attention and hopes that enough screaming will make their myths into fact. I hope the NAACP’s ‘research’ receives the scrutiny it deserves.”

Orlando Tea Party leader Jason Hoyt says, “[The report] is a moment of desperation. I’ve been all over the country, and I have not met a single racist Tea Partier anywhere.”

Similarly, Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie asserts, “The NAACP’s feigned concern about hate groups infiltrating the tea party movement is a plain, simple, and pathetic attempt at gotcha politics. This study serves only one purpose: to discredit and demonize their opposition and preserve their tenuous grip on power.”

Sunday’s episode of "Meet the Press" addressed allegations made in the report with incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and his Republican challenger, Ken Buck.

Buck contends, “I’ve been to over 800 events in Colorado in the last 20 months. I have not seen that. And, I find it offensive that folks would try to label the tea party in that way.”

Senator Bennet concurred, “I haven’t seen a lot of that either.”

According to a blogster at The Daily Mail, “Calling a group of people ‘racist’ is in itself an act of racism. It’s as if all Barack Obama is to the NAACP is the color of his skin, not his station in life. People disagree with this president because of his policies. Like many organizations that have lived past their due dates, the NAACP is intellectually bankrupt and grasping for relevancy.”

Photo: The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, addresses the media during a news conference at the 101st annual NAACP convention as Rev. Jesse Jackson looks on July 14, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo.: AP Images

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