Tea Party racism

Anti-Obama sign at Saturday's rally in Washington (AFP Photo)

Racism and anti-gay bigotry reared their ugly heads Saturday as Tea Party participants protested the health care vote that is scheduled for a historic vote Sunday.

Protesters taunted openly-day Democratic Congressman Barney Frank with “faggot,” “homo” and other homophobic slurs and called African-American Georgia Congressman John Lewis a “nigger” as he left the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

“They were shouting, sort of harassing,” Lewis told reporter William Douglas of McClatchy Newspapers. “But it’s OK. I’ve faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean.”

Frank told The Boston Globe that he is “disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil. I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor. “People out there today, on the whole, were really hateful.”

The racism and bigotry in Saturday’s protest is not unusual for tea party gatherings where hate often surfaces. Signs with racial epithets and hate were spotted at Tea Bag events in Southwestern Virginia last year. I too often hear racist slurs from the lips of those who support the Tea Party movement.

Texas Tea Party Leader Dale Robertson

Tea Baggers dismiss the presence of racists and homophobes in their midst with claims that every movement has its fringes. Yet those who claim they have no sympathies for racists in their midst have had a hard time explaining the racist sign that Texas Tea Party activist (and founder of the TeaParty.Org web site) Dale Robertson displayed in on rally.

Some in the movement claim Robertson was acting on his own and has been expelled from the movement. Robertson claims otherwise.

I’ve attended a number of Tea Party events and run into too many who use words like “nigger” and “spic” and “fag” as part of their normal conversation. And while Tea Party organizers say they do not support or tolerate racism or bigotry, we have yet to see a single waver of signs using racial slurs escorted from a Tea Party event.

At a Tea Party event in Rocky Mount last year, some waved signs supporting defeated GOP Congressman Virgil Goode, who brought national embarrassment on Virginia with his openly racist and homophobic remarks.

One is judged by the company one keeps.

Here are some other signs and posters displayed at Tea Party gatherings:

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15 Responses to Tea Party racism

  1. Lauren Yoder says:

    I attended the Roanoke tea party last year and heard nothing like this. I support many of the same things the tea party folks do, but I would never support this kind of behavior.

  2. I attended the Tea Party in Washington D.C. yesterday. Any event that draws a large crowd will draw all sorts of people. Since the Capitol is public property, not much can be done about that. So I expect there were some racists. Nonetheless, racism had nothing to do with the event. By focusing on the alleged bigotry of a few, you mischaracterize the motives of a large number of your fellow citizens. What you in fact have revealed are your own prejudices.

    If anyone wants to hear from someone who was there, go to http://citizentom.com/2010/03/20/house-deemocrats-under-seige/.

    • I freely admit a prejudice against racists and homophobes. I also have a strong prejudice against those who proclaim they are upholding liberty while hiding behind a anonymous screen name on a short-lived free Internet blog. I have the courage of my convictions to stand behind what I write with my name. Why don’t you “Citizen Tom?” Are you brave enough to embrace your opinions openly or are you just another keyboard coward who uses a free Internet service like WordPress.Com to start a blog and say whatever you want without the guts to stand behind your words with your true identify? By not doing so, you destroy any chance of credibility by claiming you have the truth of “someone who was there.”

      If you want to be a true son of liberty, I suggest you start by being a man and stop hiding your identity — other than saying only that you are an anonymous member of the Prince William County Republican Party.

      • Doug – You are funny. My blog is not about me. To stay on subject, I minimized personal references on my blog. When I make an argument, I merely point to facts anyone can verify for themselves.

        Similarly, I did not talk about you, and I did not attack you personally. I talked about the content of your post. Frankly, knowing your name does me no good whatsoever.

        All I did was make an observation that you should have been able to make for yourself. Unfortunately, you changed the subject. You tried to make the subject me. How exactly does that proved the validity of what you posted?

        The fact is that it is far easier to find racist pictures, supposedly from Tea Parties, on Liberal and Democrat websites, than it is on Conservative or Republican websites. That alone speak volumes about the inability of some people to provide an honest and logical defense for their proposals.

        • Horsehockey “Citizen Tom.” You come on here and say “what you in fact have revealed are your own prejudices” and then accuse me of attacking you? Interesting double standard you have.

          So, your blog is not about you eh? Let’s see. Today’s post starts out:

          “This afternoon I visited Congressman’s Gerry Connolly’s office. That was actually the last thing I did. However, due the pictures below, I think it best to deal with that first.”

          A little bit later, you add:

          “What did I have to say? For what it was worth, I told the aide I would vote against Connolly and work against his reelection. The aide snapped back that I would have done that anyway. I digested that for a moment. Then I replied that unlike Connolly I had never pretended to be undecided.”

          Not about you? Well, it’s about somebody but your readers have no way of knowing you because you choose to hide your identity.

          Your readers deserve to know something about the person who posts opinions on the Internet. Anyone can go to WordPerfect.Com, sign up and post a blog (which you have done) and then hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

          You want to stay on subject? Fine. Let’s stay on subject. The Tea Party movement that you genuflect to is a sham grassroots organization created not from the grassroots but from a manufactured organization started by a Republican consulting firm. It grew out of a organization called “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” which was funded by Koch Industries, a privately-owned petroleum and natural gas company in Kansas and the second-largest privately-held firm in the country.

          “Citizens for a Sound Economy” was the brainchild of GOP consultant Eddie Mahe and he created the organization as a phony grassroots “front” using Koch’s money.

          How do I know this? I was the Senior Communications Associate for The Eddie Mahe Company in Washington in the 1990s and worked with Eddie on various campaigns and projects in the 80s. I was in his conference room in 1984 when Citizens for a Sound Economy was born.

          Where were you?

          Next time, son, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

          • Doug – Please look up the definition of the word “minimize.”

            I try to minimize being pointlessly distracted by personal attacks. What my readers need to know to about me, I tell them. If you want to know more, that is a personal problem. No one is forced to read what I write.

            Anyway thanks for the idea. Check out my latest post.
            http://citizentom.com/2010/03/22/a-tea-party-photo-survey/

            You will be pleased to know you top the list. ;-)

          • Matthew Chaboud says:

            Seriously Tom? You’re going to reply to that? You just got owned.

            Last word, nerd, let it go.

          • timmy says:

            It’s obvious that racism and homophobia aren’t tolerated at these events because of all the footage of true Tea Party members confronting those who are giving them a bad name… oh wait, that hasn’t happened at all?? Shocking! And Tom, you got seriously owned on this one. Maybe your hood needs larger eye holes to better see our President, who somehow is in office even though he wasn’t born in the US, is probably the Antichrist, and definitely a Muslim. That pretty much cover it?

  3. Critical J says:

    Sorry for my earlier type-O’s I replied on my BB. Here is a better version.

    In the end the points of the debate are moot. The thing to take note of is if you stand next to someone who does something ugly and disgusting and you don’t speak up then you are guilty by association. Therefore the Tea Party is guilty by not doing more to reign in these individuals. At least the Baby Killer slur had relevance even though it was ugly and misguided. but when you lose an argument and your only response is the “N” word or the “F” word it shows what you are when talking points are stripped away.

  4. Jeff Blakley says:

    I like to use the analogy of a fire ant nest that has been kicked over when referring to the Tea Party people. I don’t doubt that there are a lot of reasonable people in the movement, as Lauren Yoder commented, but there are also a lot of really angry people. I call them fire ants, because ever since their nest got kicked over in the fall of 2008, they’ve been running around biting anyone they can. Of course, everyone’s nest got kicked over, but some folks lack the ability to control their emotions. Most of the Tea Partiers you are referring to don’t have the time or resources to educate themselves about the causes of the financial collapse because they are already working two or three jobs to stay above water and they are beyond enraged about the whole situation. I think the racism and homophobia goes with the territory. What is distressing is people like Steve King (R-IA) who cynically pander to these people so that they can stay in power. Of course, he isn’t the only one – Dick Armey, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin …. quite a long list of opportunists out there who are doing a grave disservice to this country so that they can enrich themselves by spreading hatred, simplistic solutions and outright lies. I hope the day comes soon when their hubris meets nemesis.

  5. sherry says:

    O fer Pete Sakes! Never been to a Tea Party. Don’t really care who is behind it. Heck, once upon a time I signed on for MoveOn.org. They were saying the things I believed in. I am no longer with MoveOn.org
    because they no longer represent the things I believe in. Hijacked by the Soros crowd which gave us the current clown in office. He is Bush III.
    I know we are going to have to pay higher taxes. This congress is a bigger spender than the last one.
    For some reason, every time I see a photo of the White House or Capitol Hill, the song, “House of the Rising Sun” plays in my head. For sale to the highest bidder. Big Pharma and the Insurance Industry is getting a kiss. We, uh well. We aren’t gettting a kiss. Would not be in the least surprised if the “racists” were a plant. This administration has been screaming racism since the campaign.

  6. RecoveringRepublican says:

    All you have to do is look at the people in the tea party. Are there any minorities? Every video I have seen shows no people of color. Its simply a racist organization because of their members. All white, most are old and angry. Its hard for them to see that this country is taking a major shift in the opposite direction where others that are not white are able to vote and make changes. For them its okay to wrap yourself up with the American flag and crow about freedom this and that but not for others that dont look like them. This healthcare reform bill has shown me the side I DONT want to be on, and thats the crazy angry white people.

  7. Kris M says:

    The problem is not wether racism defines the movement; only a fool would believe that ALL the Tea Party protestors are racists. The problem is the indifference displayed by those not involved in the racist behavior. They see this happening and turn a blind eye to it, and seem to pretend it isn’t happening, much like many white southerners did during the Civil Rights Movement. Indifference to racism is every bit as dangerous as condonement of it.

  8. Karen Johns says:

    I think the whole situation is terrible. I believe that most of the tea party members are racist. I am embarrased, dissapointed, I cant believe this is happening. The signs are disrespectful. He his our president, America chose him. Those people just cannot stand the fact that we have a president that is half black. Our world is crazy enough as it is. America does not need all that hatefull talk.

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