Mixing it up: Race, Tea Party, NAACP, Palin

July 14, 2010

The NAACP’s resolution calling on leaders of the Tea Party movement to repudiate “racist elements” within its ranks has set off a political firestorm. The civil rights group illustrated its accusations with photographs taken at rallies that show supporters carrying controversial signs criticizing President Barack Obama.

USA/Sarah Palin, a star of the Tea Party movement, responded with a missive on Facebook saying she was saddened by the NAACP’s charge of racism and accused the group of using “the divisive language of the past.”

Critics of the conservative Tea Party movement have questioned whether it is a racist movement, citing the largely white turnout at rallies and some of the signs carried by supporters. Conservatives say the liberals are using a low blow to counter genuine criticism of Obama’s policies.

David Frum’s FrumForum, which is dedicated to the renewal of the Republican Party and conservative movement, points out a piece on Patheos posted last week that discusses the question “Is the Tea Party Racist?” and offers one conclusion that liberals “were always going to believe that a movement dominated by white conservatives is racist.”

Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, says “nobody is truly accountable for the national movement” which has advantages and disadvantages. He says the feeling of dislike is mutual between the NAACP and tea partiers. “In the universe of political activism, the two groups are ‘Alien vs. Predator,’ a battle of titans from worlds too far apart for them to see much of anything the same way.”

The heated discussion over the Tea Party’s character less than four months before the November elections does suggest the movement has gained ground in the political spectrum, but it won’t be absolutely clear whether it is a force to be reckoned with until the ballots are counted.

Stay tuned…

Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (Palin at a Tea Party Express rally in Boston April 14)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Not sure what racist really means as it changes seemingly by whomever is using the term… but I think as an outsider looking in that both the NAACP and Teabaggers are very racist in that they expect entitlement at the expense of a targetted group of individuals – not surprising they would be at each other’s throats so vociferously. Almost like Jews and Arabs… wasn’t really a problem til outsiders tipped the balance in favour of the other side, then all hell broke loose.

Posted by CDNrebel | Report as abusive

The USA is a mostly white country. Having crowds turn out which are mostly white are what any rational observer would expect. On the other hand, organizations for which primarily *NON*-white crowds turn out are reasonably suspected of being discriminatory themselves.

Time to leave race baiting behind, NAACP. Also Obama is half white genetically and raised in a white household. How about accepting something a bit changed from 1952 in Topeka, Kansas?

I personally dislike the so-called “Tea Party” hijacking an American tradition that has ALMOST NOTHING to do with supporting the powers and privileges of the ruling classes. They are more properly Tories.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive

The Teabaggers allow racist elements to roam about their ranks, and those elements at times, form militias and plot to murder police officers and threaten the life of the President. The only criticism I have of the NAACP asking the Teabag Movement to purge racists from its ranks, is it took so long to do it.

Posted by Johnbrown | Report as abusive

There is no evidence of racism in the tea party anywhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRJ2UmyHh xI

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive