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Raceaholics Anonymous: A 12-Step Program Just for the Tea Party ?

09/23/2010 02:33 pm 14:33:23 | Updated May 25, 2011

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Although the misspelled signs are everywhere, it would take more than a few English professors to articulate the logic behind what seems to be an addictive epidemic of intolerance and discontent raging through the Tea Party movement.

Even though it isn't exactly clear to experts what most of the party members stand 'for', their inability to resist obstruction of all things pertaining to Obama, Islam, Immigrants etc. indicates that melanin may be a contributing factor to this hysterical dysfunction.

After examining the additional list of grievances expressed over the past year--however inarticulately--addiction researchers have added a 'Raceaholic' category to the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Raceaholism is defined as: "habitual, prolonged and excessive intake of false assertions deeply rooted in racial biases and disguised as legitimate fears which can result in confusion, hysteria and diminished ability to apply intelligence and reason--which may or may not be evidenced in the polls."

The good news is that although it is systemic and appears to be contagious, raceaholics can be treated successfully over a lifetime through a 12-step program. Experts say it often helps to let raceaholics string together a few convoluted sentences so they get to experience hearing the nonsensical assertions when speaking aloud about anything relevant to race.

After attending one of these meetings, it is easier to understand some of the hurdles facing these addicts and how painful it can be to live with a condition where internalized racial biases are both buried and denied.

DISCLAIMER: In order to protect the anonymity of those afflicted with the disease and because this never happened, any resemblance to anyone you know is merely coincidental. If in the event you feel this article is speaking to you, then it most definitely is.

GROUP MODERATOR: Today is open forum day so please feel free to speak about anything that is on your mind and remember to be brief and to the point...or whatever.

Gina: Hi, I'm Gina and I'm a raceaholic.

GROUP: Hi Gina!

Gina: At first when I heard about this group, I thought it was ridiculous and part of some left wing conspiracy to trap some of the Tea Partiers, but then I heard that even people who identify as hip, white liberals were susceptible to the condition and I thought well, what's good for the devil is good for the goose...or...me right? (confused)

Anyway, I'm here because I noticed over the past year and a half that I became obsessed with talk radio--which I've always liked but then I found I couldn't go to sleep after listening to Rush or Glenn or Dr. Laura late in the evening. And then things got worse. Several times my husband found me in the middle of the night, scantily dressed in the kitchen throwing knives at a chopping block which I imagined to be Obama Bin Laden or Osama Barack Hussein...No wait. Which one killed all those people during 911? Whichever one.

Anyway, the more I listened to talk radio, the madder I got and well, I don't know. It's confusing because I don't trust that Bin Laden is even really an American citizen and I just don't want him (Bin Laden) to be President anymore. (sobbing as group member pats shoulder) At least I've never seen his birth certificate and he shouldn't...well you see? I get confused whenever I talk about it. (blows nose) Thanks for listening.

Bruce: Hi I'm Bruce and I'm a raceaholic.

GROUP: Hi Bruce!

Bruce: Yeah, I really appreciate being here today because there are so few places for us white guys to talk honestly about race. It's just not safe anymore. (white men in room nod affirmatively) I mean, hasn't there been enough already with the race thing? I don't use the N-word, never have and never will. God knows those people use it enough for everyone and if I did use it--just to make a point about Jesse Jackson or one of their (makes quotation sign gesture with fingers) "Leaders"--then all hell would break loose.

Anyway, I used to be real tolerant with all kinds of people and I don't have a problem with other Christian religions--even the Catholics. It's just that, well when I heard about the terrorists building a Mosque near Ground Zero...well that did it. And then I heard the Blonde lady in Arizona on TV talking about all the murders--you know beheadings and such that those Mexicans are doing and well, I got scared. I mean there are a lot of them coming over here. How do you know which ones are the nice ones unless you ask for their ID? I don't know. I mean I have a construction business and the honest truth is that some are darn good workers but I mean, where do we draw the line? I mean are we supposed to treat everyone like they are equals? I don't know. I guess I should probably read some more of the literature. I'm not really sure why I'm here. I'm going to sit down now.

Tina: Hi my name is Tina and I'm a raceaholic.

GROUP: Hi Tina!

Tina: Hi I'm here because I'm scared. In fact I'm scared of everything and I didn't used to be. And now I'm scared of who I might really be on the inside even though I'm different from most of you because I've always had black friends. In fact my best friend is black...

GROUP: (Raised Eyebrows from group)

TINA: No really. She is! My best friend is black. She calls me 'sista' and sometimes she even says 'are you sure you're white'? And we laugh at other white people. Really. Hey look I'm not like a lot of you. I voted for Obama and in fact I even worked on his campaign.

GROUP: (More Raised Eyebrows and nodding)

TINA: Well part of it was because I knew my parents would hate that and I wanted to show people that I'm cool with a Black man being President--which I am--I mean I was.

But it's not turning out like I thought it would. I mean, I thought Obama would change things and that he would turn the economy around. I mean, that somehow he would bring us all together and that he would pass healthcare and well...even the 'normal' media is saying that Obama isn't ...well...I'm starting to think he was the wrong guy. And it's not because he's black it's because...well it's because he can't seem to get anything done. And well, it's starting to look like the reason he can't get anything done is because...and I don't mean to be racist...but it's because he's not...you know...white. And well, I mean...either he's too white or he's too black...or something.

I just keep thinking of the movies and what it would be like if Morgan Freeman played the first Black president and I think he would have played it differently. I don't know. I think maybe Obama was miscast.

I didn't use to be confused about race. At least I don't think I was. But now...maybe I am.

GROUP: I'm afraid that's all the time we have. Remember "keep coming back cuz it works if you work it." Well sort of.

Molly Secours is a writer/filmmaker and speaker who has the utmost respect for 12-step programs and travels the country discussing issues of race, criminal justice and cancer--all with a sense of humor. She can be found at www.mollysecours.com