NAACP “unexpectedly” finds racism at the bottom of Tea Party
Katherine Zernike at the NYT writes about a just released “study” by the NAACP which is entitled, “N.A.A.C.P. Report Raises Concerns About Racism Within Tea Party Groups".
I know, I know – knock you over with a feather, no? And the timing? Perfect. Just before the mid-terms, a chance to label the opposition racist. Not that anyone would see through the attempt or anything.
I’ve scanned the “study” and wasn’t particularly impressed with the level of “truth” I found. For instance, here’s an example of an assumption of racism not evident at all in the situation, but somehow the NAACP managed to dig it out:
Shortly after the Seattle and Denver protests, on February 19, 2009, a stock analyst for a cable television network, Rick Santelli, let loose a five-minute on-air rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Yelling “This is America!” he attacked the home mortgage rescue plan the Obama administration had unveiled the day before. It was “promoting bad behavior,” he argued, by rewarding the “losers” who took on more debt than they could afford. Santelli said that Obama was turning America into Cuba, and called for a capitalist “Chicago Tea Party.”
An unstated racial element colored Santelli’s outrage over the Obama administration’s home mortgage rescue plan. During the years leading up to the housing crisis, banks had disproportionately targeted communities of color for subprime loans. Many of the so-called “losers” Santelli ranted about were black or Latino borrowers who’d been oversold by lenders cashing in on the subprime market. Their situations were worsened by derivatives traders, like Santelli, who packaged and re-packaged those loans until they were unrecognizable and untenable.
Don’t you love that “unstated racial element” assertion? Because that’s precisely what it is. Santelli’s remarks were not something anyone I know interpreted as “racist”. It was a cry against government intervention in an area where it doesn’t belong. His “this is America” resonated not because everyone thought he was talking about blacks and Latinos, but because freedom means the right to both succeed and fail. “Promoting bad behavior” was a shot at government, what it had done (and enabled) and was then considering bailing out.
Another portion goes into trying to tar the entire Tea Party movement with various characters that have apparently shown up at events. A “this guy knew this guy who was acquainted with this guy who is an anti-semite” type of inuendo that is supposed to show, one supposes, that there is underlying racism and anti-Semitism at the base of every Tea Party movement. For instance:
Also on the platform that day was the band Poker Face, playing music, providing technical back up, and receiving nothing but plaudits from the crowd. The band, from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, already had a reputation for anti-Semitism. Lead singer Paul Topete was on the public record calling the Holocaust a hoax, and writing and performing for American Free Press–a periodical published by Willis Carto, the godfather of Holocaust denial in the United States.
My guess is that the crowd giving “nothing but plaudits” had no idea who Poker Face was and, unless the band did anti-Semitic songs, had no one awareness of the lead singers absurd position on the Holocaust.
And then this damning bit of “evidence”:
In preparation for Tea Party protests held on July 4, 2009, national socialists and other white supremacists created a discussion thread on Stormfront.org, the largest and most widely accessed of the many white nationalist websites. While highlighting the distinction between themselves and the majority of Tea Partiers who were not self-conscious about their own racism, one person argued, “We need a relevant transitional envelop-pushing flyer for the masses. Take these Tea Party Americans by the hand and help them go from crawling to standing independently and then walking towards racialism.”
Or said another way, unlike the NAACP, the white supremacists assumed the “Tea Party Americans” weren’t racist and needed their help in becoming so. In essence the attempt by the NAACP is to give a litany of white supremacist organizations and torturously try to link them to the Tea Party – with the inevitable slip ups like that above where, in fact the supremacists neatly contradict their premise.
And of course there’s irony. In one portion of the “study” the NAACP goes after Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs as a dangerous “Islamaphobe”. She’s cited as a very important cog in the Tea Party movement. Of course Geller is Jewish which sort of injures the “Tea Partiers are anti-Semitic” canard but never mind that. How about this instead:
With leaders like Geller, it is not surprising to find language on a ResistNet Tea Party website that denigrates an entire grouping of people because of their faith. “We are at a point of having to take a stand against all Muslims. There is no good or bad Muslim. There is [sic] only Muslims and they are embedded in our government, military and other offices…What more must we wait for to take back this country of ours…”
We have an entire “study” dedicated to denigrating an entire grouping of people as “racist, anti-Semitic, nativist and homophobic”, but the NAACP is a bit upset that Geller isn’t a fan of Islam.
Anyway, you get the drift. Read it if you want too, but you’ll find very little light and a whole bunch of tenuous nonsense that is excruciatingly void of real facts. Certainly not at all unexpected nor surprising.
Two responses I found interesting came from Project 21 members – a black conservative organization:
Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli, "This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to mobilize support for their policies through fear. Even though Obama’s policies are harmful to the black community, tragically, they seek to manufacture blind loyalty to the President by scaring them about the opposition. As a frequent speaker at tea party rallies nationwide, I know the movement has nothing to do with race and everything to do with toxic liberal policies."
"As a black man, I scorn and resent this never-ending assault on the morals of all black people by the NAACP," said Project 21 member Oscar Murdock, who took part in the Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nevada. "In spite of being an organization that was correctly established to procure and preserve rights for a people to whom rights and dignity were being denied, the NAACP has descended into a group that is a disgrace to the humanity of the very people it was created to elevate. It is now only a bigoted and politically biased blight among organizations."
I’d almost bet that these folks will soon be called “Oreos” or “Uncle Toms” by members of the organization which sponsored this smear job.