Be prepared to be simply shocked: the fallout from yesterday’s NAACP resolution condemning tea party racism has produced rhetoric from at least one tea partier that could be construed as racist.
Asked to respond to the NAACP resolution, which calls on national tea party leaders to repudiate the racism everyone has seen at some tea party rallies, Tea Party Express national spokesperson Mark Williams told NPR that NAACP leaders “make more money off of race than any slave trader ever.”
Williams’ full quote:
“We are 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 along with all the other vile, racist groups that emerged in our history.”
The NAACP was not particularly impressed by Williams’ line.
“It’s clear that the far right has been waiting for this battle,” NAACP new media director Eric Wingerter said in an email to bloggers today. “We’re ready for it, too.”
Listen to Williams’ comments here:
Williams wasn’t the only tea party leader to use the “NAACP is racist” approach to responding to the resolution today. In an email sent to reporters by the national Tea Party Federation, several local tea party leaders across the country joined the chorus.
“A false charge of racism is itself, racist,” New York tea party organizer David Webb said. “This resolution shows they no longer serve the black community’s interests to advance people of color within American culture. Instead, they exert their power to isolate and control people of color.”
Yesterday, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous told me that despite what critics say, no one at the NAACP is suggesting that the tea party movement is racist inherently — what the the group is saying is that organizers don’t go far enough to stop racism in their ranks when they see it.
“We do not think the tea party is a racist movement,” he said. “Our concern is that it tolerates racism and bigotry by its members.”