Is The Tea Party Movement Racist?


 President Obama Cast as a Pimp

 A typically racist icon of the Tea Party Movement


My grandfather used to say “If you throw a stone into a pack of dogs only the ones who get hit will howl.”  And based upon the response of the Tea Party movement to NAACP president Ben Jealous’ charge that elements of the Tea Party are racist, grand dad was right on the money.  For anybody who has been paying attention to this far right political movement, Mr. Jealous was merely pointing out the obvious. Yet the Tea Party, a coalition of 85 organizations, has been howling all over the place ever since. 

They  have even threatened to expel the Tea Party Express  from the movement if they didn’t rebuke Mark Williams’s – their most popular spokesman – and fire him for posting racist propaganda about Afro-Americans on his website. What could Williams have said that would prompt the coalition to consider expelling one of their most effective organizations that has been organizing successful rallies all over the country? 

Written as a letter to Abraham Lincoln and supposedly signed by the NAACP president, it denounced the Emancipation Proclamation as a tragic mistake because now black Americans would really have to go to work and take care of themselves.  This is tantamount to portraying Jews as nostalgic for Nazi concentration camps because they were too lazy to work in America because it was too high a price to pay for freedom!

Although movement leaders are expressing shock at Williams’ post, it is a vulgar pretense. From the outset the movement was motivated by bogus issues and age old stereotypes that were fundamentally racist.  We all know that no one among the so-called “Tea Party Patriots” would have been willing to believe their inflammatory rhetoric about the President being an illegal alien if he were white and his name was Paul Jones, instead of black and Barack Hussein Obama. 

After all, none of these people worried about profligate government spending and expanding deficits when the Republicans were running the show for the past eight years.  George Bush cavalierly plunged the nation into a war of choice that according to Dr. Joseph Steiglitz, the Nobel Laureate and Columbia University Professor of Economics, has calculated will cost taxpayers three trillion dollars!   And they still support the Republican tax cuts that gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the richest strata of American society – the Plutocrats.  These same charlatans also support the illegal government wire taps conducted by the Bushmen, which drastically expanded government  spying on us all.  What’s going on here?  Is this what right wing white folks mean when they say they are color blind?

 Experts on social movements like Dr. Luther P. Gerlach, an  American anthropologist who was the leading scholar on the subject until he passed on, point out that we can tell what a movement stands for by the slogans and icons they employ to recruit and mobilize followers and direct mass actions.  Among the elements all movements must have in order to grow are a clear and present enemy, and the slogans and icons conveys the movement leadership’s view of that enemy to the masses of their followers and those they are trying to recruit: the true believers and those seeking enlightenment.

The Tea Party Movement’s most effective slogan has been “We want our country back!” Since the slogans that a movement employs are condensed versions of that movement’s ideology, their world view, the logical question for anyone seeking to understand the Tea Party Movement’s vision of America is: Take your country back from whom?  Barack Obama was elected President by the American people in a legal election. 

 Yet the Tea Party crew continues to insist that Barack’s presidency is illegitimate because he is a Kenyan, in spite of the fact that the state of Hawaii has posted his birth certificate on the internet.  And they routinely picture the president as a pimp or a bone through the nose savage, while white militiamen use his picture for target practice. If that ain’t racism, eggs ain’t poultry/grits ain’t groceries/ and Mona Lisa was a man!”





Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

July 18, 2010


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