The Tea Party & the NAACP

Recently, the NAACP called on the Tea Party to "repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.".  I initially viewed this with a bit of skepticism.  It's not that it wasn't true.  After all, the Tea Party was founded by middle-aged white men who woke up the day after the election, and upon realizing that a black man was President, could not contain their outrage.  No, aside from stating the obvious, I thought it only served to cause more division, and was maybe even a little self-serving.

As usual, the Tea Parties' response was swift and stupid.  Mark Williams, who for some odd reason still has a job as the spokesman for the Tea Party, wrote something so vile, so full of revisionist history and outright lies, not to mention blatantly racist, that I'll not repeat it here.  This obviously caused me to rethink my initial opinion.  The NAACP wasn't name-calling.  They weren't calling the Tea Party racists.  They were simply asking them to state as much.  Publicly.  The Tea Parties' response speaks volumes.

The Tea Party is very good at a particular form of racism, as eloquently noted by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is a senior editor for The Atlantic:

I think it's worth, first, considering the record of American racism, and then the record of the Tea Party and its allies. Racism tends to attract attention when it's flagrant and filled with invective. But like all bigotry, the most potent component of racism is frame-flipping--positioning the bigot as the actual victim. So the gays do not simply want to marry, they want to convert our children into sin. The Jews do not merely want to be left in peace, they actually are plotting world take-over. And the blacks are not actually victims of American power, but beneficiaries of the war against hard-working whites. This is a respectable, more sensible, bigotry, one that does not seek to name-call, preferring instead change the subject and strawman. Thus segregation wasn't necessary to keep the niggers in line, it was necessary to protect the honor of white women.

This is a pattern that I've noted before.  The economy gets bad, and the first thing we do is find someone to blame.  Because working together to solve our problems seems to be beyond us.  Therein lies the true tragedy of all of this.

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