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....
No way man.
Blacks should stay with the dem party.
After all, look how much the black family has progressed after for so long blanketly supporting dems.
What a group of dumb asses.
Or being overfed by people eager to welcome them. lol
"Have another beer? Have some more chicken or a burger! Get some of Momma's tater salad, it's the best. Don't be shy, fill that plate up again."
Should Black Folks Give the Tea Party a Second Look?
Only if they want off the Dem plantation.
The Dim party has room for basically two groups of people. Those who are on the dole, and those in gov’t which hand out the dole. This plus labor unions is the FDR model.
The Root....The Root,,,,? Why does this sound familiar to me? For some reason I keep thinkin’ of a Cambridge professor who doesn’t like policemen. Am I wrong? I know I went to his blog when that whole deal came down. Was that blog The Root???
I despise Marxists and what they are currently doing to this country.
Race schmace. I hate Pelosi and Reid every bit as much as Obama.
>> Only because of blind, black racism.
The Left was quick to mischaracterize the Tea Party as an extreme, race based phenomenon.
Ignorance played into the Left’s propaganda that the Tea Party was about hating a Black President.
I don’t believe there’s a direct relationship between political extremes and racism in the Black community.
I think Blacks are not involved in the Tea Party for the same reason they tend to vote Democrat which, in my opinion, is more about Socialistic economics than it is about racism.
“In my opinion, the biggest challenge with the Tea Party movement, like the Republican Party, is that it is 99 percent white.”
What liberal blog did she pull the 99% from? In a simple internet search using some pretty unflattering news sources, the most I could find was 79% of tea partiers being white. But then again, perhaps she just wanted to exaggerate to make a point all the while trying to be taken seriously as a writer.
I have no idea the racial make up of the GOP since that organization holds no interest for me
bump for later read
I was really trying to read this through an open mind frame, but I guess I wasn’t successful. When I read comments such as
“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”
I was only thinking, are you kidding me? How the hell could you not know this as part of the most basic American history? And if this struck you, you may want to read up on the history of the democratic party and its relationship with your race and perhaps even your culture.
The Tea Party repudiates the expansion of government, wants to roll back the role of government in our lives, and free the American entrepreneurial spirit as the way to rebuild our economy and our future. Not one of these things has anything to do with race.
But liberals and the Democratic Party know the best way to keep their dependent's in line is to smear the Tea Party with espousing a racist agenda. And how do liberals know that Tea Partiers are racists? Why, see for yourselves, cry the editorial writers at the Washington Compost and the New York Slimes: Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly white, and hence, ipso facto, they must be racists.
But do liberals and the Democratic Party ever directly confront the Tea Party on the basis of their beliefs and ideas? No, of course not. Because the liberals and the Democratic Party know that they can't win the argument, and that the ideas espoused by the Tea Party are very popular with the American people - of all races. So, what do they do? When you can't win an argument on the merits, change the subject and smear your opponent. It's the oldest trick in the book.
The fact that this article appears in The Root surprises me quite a bit.
Thanks! I don’t know why I was connecting it to the crazy prof, but couldn’t seem to shake the thought!
I wonder if another light bulb will flash on when she realizes that 2007 is when the Dems took over in Congress after the 2006 elections! ;-)
I about fell off my chair when I read this. The comments section ran about 50/50, wonder of wonders. Not everyone at The Root is a blind true believer.
There are more blacks in the Tea party movement than there are whites in the NAACP. So if you have a problem with monolithic groups it should be the NAACP you have issues with.
Please do give the Tea Party movement a good look...come join in, everyone who values America and respects the constitution is welcome.
--- I won't join a group because there aren't enough of "my kind" (whatever that might be) in it?
Somebody 'splain to me how that makes anything better.
>> The black culture is basically a society of liberal lemmings for the most part ,, only the whites could possibly save them from their own demise
I would argue that White Liberals and Leftists have created the environment that Blacks seem unwilling to leave. So, it’s incorrect to say “only the white could possibly save them” - I propose color blind Conservatism as the cure for the Marxist epidemic inflicted upon them. Of course, Conservatism can be self-administered, so I’m making no excuses for those in the know that prefer the misery of Socialism.
“Republican Party is 99% White” is a myth. I know Republicans of every racial background. It takes a strong person to go against what they may feel is expected of them. I’m an American of bi-racial (White and American Indian) background and a strong Conservative Republican. Folks like me are rare.
The Dim party has room for basically two groups of people. Those who are on the dole, and those in govt which hand out the dole. This plus labor unions is the FDR model.
Yes, and all three have made very clear their utter disdain for what happens to the rest of the nation so long as they may batten.
I know that's a rather harsh assessment but that attitude leaks out too often to be an anomaly. If that's not the author's POV then my apologies to her. But it seems to be consistent with the views and attitudes of most black "civil rights" leaders.
I live in the high desert and attended a tea-party rally last year. I was welcomed as a fellow American. Period