Earlier this week, the NAACP formally called on the Tea Party to address the racism that has been a significant, persistent part of their movement. The NAACP is right to confront the Tea Party -- and the way that some Tea Party leaders have reacted illustrates just how necessary this is.
Yesterday, Mark Williams, a spokesperson for Tea Party Express (and until recently, chairman of the organization) published a blog post full of offensive, racist stereotypes about Black people. Williams is a major leader in the Tea Party movement, and in the course of trying to defend the Tea Party and attack the NAACP, he clearly demonstrated that the racist element referred to by the NAACP's resolution exists in the top ranks of the movement's leadership.
Today, ColorOfChange.org members are calling on other Tea Party leaders to either kick Williams out of their movement, or demonstrate, with their silence, that the bigotry and hate he represents are a welcome, accepted part of the Tea Party movement. Please join us.
Here's the message we sent to ColorOfChange members this morning:
NAACP calls on the Tea Party to reject racism
Tea Party leader Mark Williams responds with racist stereotypes
Join us in forcing Tea Party leadership to show its true colors — kick Williams out of the movement or admit it's a home for what he represents:
Dear ColorOfChange.org member,
Earlier this week the NAACP called on the Tea Party to reject the racism that exists within its own ranks.1 Not surprisingly, Tea Party activists were outraged and denied that racism is a part of their movement — despite a clear, documented pattern of bigotry and hate.2
Then yesterday, one of the Tea Party's biggest leaders proved the NAACP's point. Mark Williams, the public face of the Tea Party Express, attacked the NAACP as a "racist" organization, and said "they make more money off of race than any slave trader, ever."3,4 He went on to write a blog post implying that Black people don't like to work or think for themselves, that we depend on welfare, and that we want to benefit from White people's tax dollars so we can have a widescreen TV in every room.5 Sadly, we're not exaggerating.
If Tea Party leaders want to have any credibility on race, they need to start by kicking Mark Williams out of their movement. If they refuse, it will be clearer than ever that Tea Party leaders accept and rely on racism as an integral part of their approach to politics.
You can help us take the first step. Please join us in challenging Tea Party leaders to reject Williams' statements and remove him from his position at the Tea Party Express. And please ask your friends and family to do the same. It takes just a moment:
The NAACP was absolutely right in calling out the tea party, and we applaud them for doing so. The NAACP has a history of combating racism and seeking a more just country for all Americans, and their action was a demonstration of that commitment.
While some of us want to brush the Tea Party off as fringe, the reality is that they are attempting to build political power, and it's important that they not embrace the kind of racism that Mark Williams represents. Of course, if they choose to do so, then it's important to make clear to all Americans that they are a home for racism and bigotry.
The racism we've seen within the Tea Party movement is dangerous — it's the promotion of a hateful agenda under the guise of political empowerment. Forcing the hand of Tea Party leaders is important if we want to prevent bigotry and hate from driving mainstream political conversations, and worse, public policy.
If enough of us act together, we can force the Tea Party leaders to make a choice — to take real action to reject racism or to accept that the Tea Party will be rightfully seen as a movement that welcomes and benefits from the lowest forms of bigotry. You can help us make that happen by adding your voice below. It takes just a moment:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Milton and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 16th, 2010
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1. "NAACP Delegates Unanimously Pass Tea Party Resolution," NAACP," 07-13-2010
2. ColorOfChange.org email on Tea Party hate, 03-23-2010
3. "Mark Williams, Tea Party Express Spokesman: NAACP Is Racist (VIDEO) (TRANSCRIPT)," CNN / Huffington Post, 07-15-2010
4. "Tea Party Leaders: We're Not Racist! The NAACP Is! (AUDIO)," TPMDC, 07-14-2010
5. "Tea Party Leader Mocks NAACP "Coloreds" In Online Screed," Media Matters, 07-15-2010
Follow James Rucker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jrucker