Skip to comments.Should Black Folks Give the Tea Party a Second Look?
Posted on 07/15/2010 2:12:19 PM PDT by neverdem
Yes, the Tea Party movement is overwhelmingly white. But this writer says the black community should stop being emotional and consider the facts.
As a black woman in America, I have remained largely silent about the Tea Party movement and whether the movement itself is ''racist,'' as it is being charged by many in our community, including the leadership of the NAACP.
As a community, we should take a step back for a moment and learn how to stop making emotional judgments and consider the facts about the Tea Party movement.
I think we can all agree that the Tea Party movement, as it stands today, is overwhelmingly white, working to middle class, and overwhelmingly disdainful of President Obama and his policies. My concern with the movement has always been that it was too monolithic. Sadly, when this is the case, we often cannot see the substance and value of such groups because we can easily get distracted by the fact that it is all white, all black or ''all'' something that makes a majority of us feel excluded and unwelcome. In my opinion, the biggest challenge with the Tea Party movement, like the Republican Party, is that it is 99 percent white.
If, for example, you compare the Tea Party movement to the 1963 March on Washington, you will note that a respectable number of white Americans, Jewish people and others attended that historic event and participated in sit-ins, freedom rides and marches that eventually tore down racial segregation in America. It was a multicultural and gender-neutral movement, whereas the Tea Party movement seemingly is not.
But here is my concern: Black Americans for all intents and purposes are in an economic depression right now and have been since 2007, when the housing and economic crises first started to manifest. Yet we seem to be sitting passively by as the black middle class experiences the greatest loss of wealth ever. Folks, we need to be clear, with black male unemployment at 35 percent to 50 percent in some American cities (Great Depression levels) and sisters leading heads of household at alarming rates, we need to get aggressive about a black economic-empowerment agenda that should not be dependent solely on what the government can or cannot do for us.
We have debated many times on op-ed pages around the country and on TV as pundits whether it is appropriate for us as black people to criticize the nation's first black president. My position as a journalist and commentator has always been that we should support our nation's presidents when they are correct and question them vigorously when they are not -- regardless of their color or political party affiliation.
A 2009 New York Times op-ed titled ''The Recession's Racial Divide'' by Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad began by asking the question, ''What do you get when you combine the worst economic downturn since the Depression with the first black president? A surge of white racial resentment, loosely disguised as a populist revolt.'' I think that in part their conclusion about the Tea Party may miss the larger issues of why the Tea Party exists in the first place. This is something black Americans need to consider carefully. To narrow it all down to race is a straw man that we should not buy into.
I recently watched the History Channel's series The Story of Us, a fabulous documentary about the formation of America through the American Revolution of the mid-1700s. The 12-part series takes you from the great frontier to the Obama presidency. It provides a very clear and majestic insight about what it means to be an ''American.''
What struck me about this documentary most of all was the American Revolution segment and how average, hard-working men and women rebelled against the great British Empire, in large part because of oppressive taxes. The founders, all men of means (many of who owned slaves), risked their very lives and fortunes as ''traitors'' once they declared their "independence" from Great Britain in 1776. What I think we all miss is that the colonies rebelled against economic tyranny and oppression of individual freedom and liberties. This is a key takeaway that often gets lost in the modern Tea Party debate.
In the final analysis, I think we would all be wise to consider what Thomas Jefferson warned: "Every generation needs a new revolution." Does anyone among us really believe that government knows what is best for our lives? Does anyone among us really believe that paying more taxes will solve what is wrong with the poorest and least among us? Perhaps the African-American community needs to consider what we can do to secure our own economic wealth and our own individual liberties. Make no mistake -- we are in perilous times, and to sit by passively and do nothing in the face of such deprivation is against all that we as Americans stand for.
Anybody that had it with entrenched politicians, wasted tax dollars and lack of fiscal responsibility, should give the tea parties a look. The skin color of the person should not be a consideration. If you define yourself by what the tone of your skin might be, you’ll be disappointed in the tea parties that do not care what color you are.
She should be advised that the Tea Party folks DO include some black conservatives, and that blacks are welcome.
Damn... IF ONLY other black Americans would take her words seriously. She doesn’t say ‘Hop on the Tea Party train’ but she does say - take a close look and think about your financial destiny under the current government... WOW!
Never thought I’d read anything quite like that...
“Yes, the Tea Party movement is overwhelmingly white”
Only because of blind, black racism.
The Tea Party, in a nutshell, is about getting government out of our lives, which is about as far from a specific racial orientation or bias as one can get.
If they can put the country before the color first/group think of the “community” then, yes. Otherwise, no.
The only color that matters is green because
Taxed Enough Already is about federal taxation and overreaching of power. Affects everyone of any color.
All Americans should be tea partiers. The tea party is for constitutionally limited, less intrusive government which would result in lower taxes, stronger economy, stronger America and more opportunity and more freedom for all.
I saw an interview with a black guy who went to a Tea Party. He said, "The only danger I was in was being hugged to death!"
That's not our fault lady, were you waiting for a hand written invitation to remove your head from your nether regions?
The problem with the black community's wary view of the republican party and the tea party isn't the fault of the republican party or the tea party. Perhaps if you studied more of the real history of America, you'd realize that republicans founded the NAACP. Republicans voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Civil Rights legislation in the 50s and the 60s. The KKK was founded by democrats, Jim Crow laws were instituted by democrats, George Wallace and Bull Connor were democrats.
Why, as a white man in America, do I know more about the subjugation of your community than you do?
But that's exactly what the ones who earn their living and their power from race-baiting want black Americans to do.
Don't look at the issues. Instead, listen to our fabricated stories about racism.
Who gives a crap about that?
So sophomoric...The "monolithic" "movement" is barely 17 months old.
If “blacks” want to start a business and make money....they had better look.....
lol Gotta luv it! :)
Thus said from the group that maintains unquestioned 90+% support for Obama.
Actually, young lady, what should be of note is that the Tea Party is even 1% black, given blacks voted in lockstep 97% for Obama.
The goal of the Tea Party is not about rescuing black people from their overwhelming poor judgment...
If America fails will "black folks" be protected from the loss by their imagined separateness from the rest of us?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge with the Tea Party movement, like the Republican Party, is that it is 99 percent white.
I doubt those figures.
If, for example, you compare the Tea Party movement to the 1963 March on Washington, you will note that a respectable number of white Americans, Jewish people and others ...
Jews aren't white people? There is the problem when you start mentally segregating people into various groupings. If you take that far enough then, lo and behold, you eventually get to the place where the 'us' is just one person, you, and 'them' is everybody else.
If you want to be part of a group try being an American. We are bound together by the Constitution, our rule of law, and it's better than any other nation's rule.
Oh so according to this article, the TEA party doesn’t have a ‘respectable’ number of blacks ( in her opinion)....
Check out Sonnie Johnson’s keynote address at Roanoke’s
Tea Party on July 4th 2010....