NAACP convention resolution accuses Tea Party of racism

tea party protesters holding a racist sign at a rally

At the NAACP convention this week, a resolution condemning Tea Party racism has led some Tea Party leaders to call the NAACP racist in its own right. Flickr photo.

Some members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People think the Tea Party is racist. At the NAACP convention in Kansas City this week, NAACP members will vote Tuesday on a resolution that condemns the Tea Party for racism. Some Tea Party members countered by saying the NAACP is racist. A leader of the black community in Atlanta suggests that the NAACP convention forget about meaningless resolutions and learn a lesson from the Tea Party’s grass roots movement.

Tea Party racism documented in the media

Tea Party racism is an assumption some have formed in response to media coverage showing Tea Party posters of President Obama. Reports of black congressmen being spit on by Tea Party members during the health care reform debate haven’t helped the movements image either. The Washington Post reports that the NAACP Tea Party resolution says members of the movement have “displayed signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically” and calls “the racist elements” within the tea party “a threat to progress.”

Tea Party Patriots call NAACP racist

The NAACP Tea Party resolution also calls on “the leadership and members of the Tea Party to recognize the historic and present racist factions within it and to repudiate those factions,” and says the Tea Party opposes government programs that help working people and people of color. The Los Angeles Times reports that two Tea Party leaders said Tea Party racism came from a few bad actors and not the movement itself. Jenny Beth Martin of the online network Tea Party Patriots admitted to racist behavior at Tea Party rallies but said it was on the record that it wouldn’t be tolerated. Mary Meckler, another member of the Tea Party Patriots, told the Times that the NAACP is racist and that accusing the Tea Party of racism was “ironic.”

NAACP:  Tea Party a role model?

Whether the debate is about Tea Party racism or NAACP racism, Charing Ball, a black media personality in Atlanta, says the NAACP is missing the point. Ball doesn’t question the sincerity of the NAACP Tea Party resolution. But writing in the Atlanta Post, he wonders why the NAACP is wasting its time and energy on symbolic gestures rather than planning and organizing for real racial justice. Ball suggests that the NAACP might do better by studying the playbook of the Tea Party and start grassroots organizing, rallying voters and training and nurturing young candidates to meet the needs of the black community in the 21st century.

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