By now most people are aware that the NAACP came out this week and accused the “Tea Party” of not doing what it should to weed out or disavow the racist elements in its midst. I have been to 3 Tea Parties and have seen zero evidence of racism. Matter of fact, what I see in the Tea Party nationally is a loose coalition of Americans concerned about out-of-control government spending and debt. Tea Parties are also generally alarmed by the radical expansion of the power and scope of the federal government and the resulting loss of liberties. None of these uniting principles have anything whatsoever to do with the color of the president’s skin or anyone else’s skin for that matter. There isn’t any proof that the Tea Party has any real “racist” element to it beyond the possibility of a few fringe loons that can show up and latch their message onto any group. I haven’t even seen examples of these alleged racist loons successfully infiltrating the Tea Party. I have seen a handful of protesters with signs that I feel are over the top or inappropriate, such as signs comparing the administration to Nazis in their totalitarian policies. When people use hyperbole to make a point or get attention they ruin their credibility and diminish the legitimate message of the Tea Party. However, as many have pointed out, the NACCP is hypocritical in that they don’t seem concerned enough to pass a resolution condemning the racist, violent rhetoric of the New Black Panther Party when some of its leaders say they hate all white people and want to “kill cracker babies”. If any person at a Tea Party rally had ever said anything remotely as horrific it would be a national news and widely condemned by everyone. There is no evidence of racism in the Tea Party and yet the NACCP feels the urgent need to pass a resolution claiming the opposite at their annual convention. This leads me to believe that an organization with a great and important history in the civil rights movement in this country is becoming nothing more than a progressive, political shill. The NAACP has a PAC that they use ostensibly for “the advancement of colored people” but I wonder how many black conservatives they are donating to in this year’s primaries.
Ironically, I could count on one hand the number of times I even thought about race in my life, politics and relationships until people started accusing me (as part of the Tea Party) of being racist for opposing President Obama’s legislative goals. Even though I didn’t vote for Obama, based on differing policies, I was proud that America has come so far in race relations that we elect a man to the highest office in the country based on what he says and not the color of his skin.
Can we take an honest look at the state of race in America? Am I somehow unqualified to give my observations because I am white? I heard a dark-skinned immigrant from India say the other day that if you leave your house in the morning expecting to be discriminated against you will find evidence to support that belief because any rude treatment or bad things that happen to you will be considered a result of the color of your skin. He also said that if you see America as a generally non-discriminatory country, then that is what you will likely experience. On a side note, did you know that in India a popular product is a topical cream used to lighten the hue of Indians with dark skin? I challenge anyone to find any other country whose movement past wide-spread racism happened as quickly and thoroughly as in America.
Does racism exist in America? Sure. Racism is a human problem that has existed from the beginning of time. You can find actual racism in the rants of Mel Gibson or in the hate speech of a New Black Panther. America also has a shameful past of racism with slavery and segregation
Here is what I see: the vast majority of Americans are abhorred and ashamed of America’s past racism. Most white people today truly embody Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of judging a person on their character and not the color of their skin. Likewise, most black people don’t hold today’s white generation accountable for their ancestors’ obscene ignorance or racial malice. Rather most blacks today judge a white person based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I am ashamed of America’s past of slavery and segregation, but I am also so proud of how, as a country, we have achieved equal rights for all and equal treatment under the law in only a few decades. Those racists that still exist in all ethnic groups in America such as the white-power skinhead or the black-power Black Panther are remnants of past bigotry and ethnocentrism, but they in no way represent American at large or even a significant percentage of Americans .
I am angry and frustrated by those who play the “race card” or try to trump up racial divisions for their own power or political gain. We have come so far. Can’t we celebrate that? Real racists in America are unaccepted, ostracized and outcast. If a person showed up at a Tea Party with a sign saying “Lynch Obama” as the NAACP claims, or if someone called a black congressman the “n-word” as others claim, I can guarantee you that the Tea Party members witnessing or hearing such hate would be the first ones to throw the kooks out of the party. I was once at a Tea Party in Los Angeles where two guys showed up with white supremacy signs. Everyone at that Tea Party made sure that those hate mongers were not allowed in our midst and we let them know exactly what we thought of them and their repugnant ideology. A few fringe racists might try to give the illusion of legitimacy to their messages of hate by associating themselves with mainstream groups, but that doesn’t mean that the Tea Party wants them there or would even allow them there.
Let’s all remember that our founders, although personally imperfect as all humans are, founded this country on the perfect principle that all men are created equal. The principles that America was founded on belong to all people, of all shades of skin color. Martin Luther King Jr, also an imperfect human being, brought forward the perfect message of equality and judgment on character, not color. His message belongs to all people as well and he is a personal hero of mine as much as Washington or Adams because all, flawed in their humanity, were transcendent and divinely inspired in their alchemy.