The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today meeting in Kansas City for its 101st annual convention voted to condemn the “racism” of the tea-party movement, claiming it could return the nation to the pre-civil-rights era.
Debate on the resolution came up this afternoon, and delegates argued over grammatical errors in the resolution, and whether the tea parties in general or just “some” of the tea-party participants should be condemned. Later, a request was made to eject the media from the meeting hall, and the organization instantly shut down its webcast.
The resolution urged members of the conservative political movement – which has vocally opposed many of President Obama’s socialist-leaning programs, such as the nationalization of the health-care decision-making process – “repudiate the racism of the tea parties.”
There also was argument among convention delegates about whether “racists” should be “expelled” from the movement.
Said one delegate, “There is a racist element in the tea party.”
They spoke of educating not only NAACP members but members of the “community.”
In an earlier statement, the chief of the NAACP condemned the tea-party movement.
According to a report from KMBC television in Kansas City, Benjamin Jealous told his organization’s members tea parties must “expel the bigots and racists in your ranks or take the responsibility for them and their actions.”
“We will no longer allow you to hide like cowards and hide behind signs that say ‘lynch our president’ or anyone else,” Jealous said.
But the move by the NAACP drew heated opposition from another organization, Project 21, the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, where fellow Deneen Borelli said the NAACP is turning itself into “a political tool to do the dirty work of the progression movement.”
“As a frequent speaker at tea-party rallies around the country, I can assure the NAACP that the tea-party movement’s concerns are about President Obama’s policies and not his race,” Borelli said.
Jealous also targeted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a tea-party celebrity.
“Sarah Palin says, ‘Let’s party like it’s 1776.’ My white daddy would say be careful what you wish for because the 18th century, Sarah, wasn’t good for anybody, even folks like you,” Jealous said.
In a Fox News appearance, NAACP officer Hilary Shelton accused the party of sheltering those who are “tied to the Nazi party.”
They are, he said, “making their home with the tea party.”
The organization did not immediately make a vote count available, but the Associated Press confirmed the resolution was approved.
“Instead of criticizing tea parties, the NAACP would be better served denouncing the racist comments made by a member of the New Black Panther Party and their voter intimidation outside a Philadelphia polling place in the last presidential election,” Borelli suggested.
According to Project 21, the Kansas City NAACP president, Anity Russell, explained the tea party isn’t really about “limited government” and that’s why the resolution dealt with the “explicitly racist behavior.”
“I urge the delegates to read the Contract From America – a list of policy objectives for Congress that was developed by tea-party members nationwide. These objectives are clearly about limited government and liberty. In fact, the NAACP should be very concerned Obama’s cap-and-trade energy policy will lead to higher energy prices and higher unemployment – particularly among poor and minority households,” Borelli said.
Another Project 21 member, Bob Parks, who has participated in tea-party events including rallies outside the U.S. Capitol, charged that the NAACP is speaking from “intentional ignorance.”
“Personally, I’m tired of arguing with the ignorant,” Parks said. “Al Sharpton recently tried in vain on his radio show to get me to apologize for alleged tea-party racism. He tried to get me to apologize for racial epithets hurled at Congressman John Lewis that only Lewis seemed to hear. I would guess neither Al Sharpton nor the overwhelming majority of NAACP members have ever been to a tea party, so they speak from intentional ignorance.
“While liberals scream racism at the tea parties purely because of their audacity to oppose Obama, it’s the progressives who seem to feel free to use racial epithets against others as they know – as is seen in this instance – that the NAACP turns a blind partisan eye,” Parks said.
“As a conservative black man, I have felt more welcomed and at home within the tea-party movement than among those of my own who side with this new NAACP,” said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. “If a few random signs of President Obama looking like the Joker [are] indeed racist, then where was the NAACP when conservative blacks are depicted as lawn jockeys, Oreos and Uncle Toms?”
Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie said the simple truth “is that the tea-party movement is about smaller government, lower taxes and an adherence to the Constitution.”
“The NAACP is welcome to disagree with the tea parties, but in making that complaint they must be truthful and not fall prey to ignorance and perceived disaffection,” he said.
He pointed out that the $100,000 offer by Internet media personality Andrew Breitbart for anyone who could provide video and audio evidence of racial epithets being shouted at Congressional Black Caucus members by tea-party activists in March remains unclaimed after months.
According to Politico, tea-party officials also rejected the NAACP statements as false.
“For the NAACP to accuse the tea parties of racism is insulting to the great patriots who have participated in this movement, and sadly shows just how out of touch that group is with the American people,” Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell told the publication.
He continued, “Some of the most compelling leaders of this movement are of many different races – men and women such as William and Selena Owens, Lloyd Marcus, Kevin Jackson and others.
“The racism accusation by the likes of the NAACP has been proved false time and again. Earlier this year, Democrats smeared tea-party activists by claiming members of the Black Caucus were spit on and called the n-word as they paraded through a crowd of tea partiers,” he told the publication. “Their blatant lie was proved false by overwhelming evidence from multiple video cameras that recorded the event.”
Dennis Philips, a Dallas tea-party organizer, said the NAACP “makes a living crying racism.”
The tea party, he said, actually is about “fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, personal responsibility, the rule of law and limited government.”
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