Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP, declared at last week’s annual convention that the impetus for the Tea Party is hatred of nonwhite people and resentment of a black president. Of the rise of the movement, Jealous announced, “Here comes the genetic descendent of the White Citizens Council, burst from its coffin.”
I don’t know if Tea Partiers are genetically descendent from the White Citizens Council or not. (Hey—isn’t an obsession with “genetic descendents” usually associated with racism?)
What I do know is that they’re not politically descendent.
The overwhelming majority of voters and congressmen who identify as Tea Party supporters are Republicans.
In contrast, the early leaders of the White Citizens Council were Louisiana politicians William Rainach and Joseph Waggonner, Jr., justice Leander Perez, and publisher Ned Touchstone, all Democrats. The group was formed in reaction to political activities carried out by the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, led by black Republican T. R. M. Howard.
As part of its recent campaign against the Tea Party, the NAACP posted on its website a slideshow of Tea Party rally signs bearing such patently, explicitly anti-black sentiments as “Now Look! Nice People Forced To Protest! This Must Be Serious,” “Obama & His Gang of Thieves = America’s Toxic Assets,” “Freeloading Illegals Are Raping U.S. Taxpayers,” “Obama Was Not Bowing. He Was Sucking Saudi Jewels!” “It’s 1939 Germany All Over Again,” “The American Taxpayers Are the Jews for Obama’s Ovens,” and “Hang ‘Em High! Traitors in Congress—Pelosi, Reid, Waters, Schumer, Frank, Dodd, Conyers, Kerry, Clinton, Kennedy.”
The NAACP was once, many moons ago, a pioneer in spearheading crucial and controversial civil rights work, which culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Since then, the NAACP has distinguished itself as a water carrier for every racist fringe element in society but the KKK.
The writings of former local NAACP chapter president Robert F. Williams, for example, influenced the violent tactics adopted by the Black Panthers, the far-left, quasi-Marxist/Maoist revolutionary group formed in the 1960s that sprouted the Black Power movement and instigated numerous fatal confrontations with police over the next decade.
A revived version of the group, the New Black Panther Party, started in 1989, and was soon vilified by the Anti-Defamation League as “the largest organized anti-Semitic and racist black militant group in America” and labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Law Poverty Center.
More recently, in 2000 the head of the NAACP in Dallas, Lee Alcorn, used his radio show to slam Al Gore for selecting a Jew as his running mate: “If we get a Jew person, then what I’m wondering is, what is this movement for? [W]e need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level, because we know that their interest primarily has to do with money and these kind of things.”
After ABC News exposed the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary racist sermons in the spring of 2008, the NAACP invited him to give a keynote address to an audience of 10,000 members at a fundraiser in Detroit, where Wright unrepentantly reaffirmed his views to a welcoming audience and accused candidate Obama of disavowing his sermons for political reasons. (As Bill Clinton might say, Obama had a “fleeting association” with black liberation theology.) Wright added some charming eugenics-inspired comments about how blacks and whites’ brains are different and reflect separate but equal learning styles—remarks that also met with approval from the NAACP audience.
In November 2008, members of the New Black Panther Party brandished police batons and made menacing comments toward voters outside a Philadelphia voting center. The Bush administration filed a lawsuit against the NBPP, which resulted in a slap-on-the-wrist injunction against one of the defendants. In June 2009, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder dismissed the suit against the remaining defendants in the case with no explanation. Liberal commentators have dismissed the voter intimidation incident as “street theater”—you know, like break dancing or singing James Brown tunes, only with nightsticks and paramilitary gear.
Bill O’Reilly observed, “[A] number of New Black Panthers have been shown on TV saying incredibly bigoted things. NBPP member King Samir Shabazz even suggested that black Americans kill white babies… One of the weaknesses of the NAACP is that it has rarely acknowledged black racism. The organization is silent on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. Yet, it is outraged about the Tea Party.”
In a recent column titled “Is NAACP blind to Farrakhan & Co.? The Nation of Islam is built on racism and lies,” Stanley Crouch highlighted the NAACP’s ongoing support for the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam and suggested that “were Jealous and the rest disturbed and vocal about [Louis] Farrakhan’s presence [in the NAACP], it would suggest some actual integrity of the sort we are not accustomed to hearing from ‘black leaders’ and ‘public intellectuals.’”
This week Andrew Breitbart unearthed video showing U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod admitting she had engaged in racist behavior toward a white farmer years earlier. The remarks were made at an award ceremony held by the NAACP, whose audience members clapped and cheered and peppered her remarks with sounds of approval, all before they realized that she was citing her bad behavior as a mistake made on her way to embracing racial equality.
The NAACP responded to the Sherrod case by presenting video of Tea Party speakers telling audiences that tax cuts should be targeted toward whites and not blacks, and attendees shouting agreement with these sentiments. Oh wait—no, they didn’t.
Tunku Varadarajan summed up the contrast between the two groups well: “Here we have the Tea Party, one of the nation’s most organic, Athenian, democratic movements, being attacked by a political organization—the NAACP—that is among the most sclerotic, dinosaurian, and cadaverous of America’s political groupings.”
In true “post-racial” fashion, expect Obama to hold the equivalent of a beer summit between leaders of the NAACP and representatives of the Tea Party movement, in which both sides are treated as equally morally culpable, calls are made to put aside differences, and reputations and character are obfuscated rather than clarified.
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