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Tea Party Racism

One year ago, FreedomWorks astroturfer Dick Armey said the “bubba vote” would prevent the election of Barack Obama. Here’s the video:

Dick Armey added that “Republicans would not encourage” such prejudices. Then after the election of Barack Obama, he set about encouraging exactly such prejudices. He had plenty of material to work with. In the context of a black president, terms like “communist” and “socialist” automatically come with racial baggage. They play on the fear and loathing of racist minds.

The “official story” is that tea parties are a revolt against government taxation. But the nexus of red-baiting, religious fervor, and racism has a long pedigree in American politics; the clarion call of racist elements has been wrapped up in patriotic-religious fervor since the earliest days of Jim Crow:

The Civil Rights Era saw denunciations of Martin Luther King: “race mixing is communism” was a common refrain among reactionaries.

Now, it’s not that FreedomWorks told everyone to bring ugly, racist signs to the “tea parties;” but FreedomWorks certainly hasn’t done anything to discourage people from bringing ugly, racist signs. Indeed, a profusion of racist reactionaries showed up in Washington, DC Saturday, and nothing about them is unfamiliar to a student of American history.

There is no way to deny that hatred of “the other” abounds in the tea party “movement.” What’s left unstated by most commentators, though, is that these tea parties are extensions of what we saw at Palin rallies last year. It’s the same disgusting racism re-organized.

Also instructive: FreedomWorks posts a few photos from tea party events at their website, but carefully selects photos to sanitize the racism:

That pattern reoccurs throughout the right-wing blogosphere. Here are pictures from Saturday that you won’t see on Michelle Malkin’s HotAir.com:


There’s been a pattern of this ugliness throughout the tea party “movement:”

One of the most telling characteristics of the tea party crowds is the prominence of birthers — sore losers upset by the election of the first black president:

There’s no way that FreedomWorks is unaware of the beast they’ve summoned. The grassroots of hate are loud, proud, and convinced of their righteous cause.

The entire “tea party” enterprise has been endorsed and driven by Fox News Channel, which has consistently engaged in racist fearmongering and contrived outrage. Glenn Beck’s “secret army of Obama goons,” for example, turns out to be a Kansas City step-dance troupe — but no one in the mainstream media, much less Fox, is fact-checking anymore.

We are long past the point where the media needs to call this out. Yet the media keeps retreating from this story for fear of the “liberal” label; even Robert Gibbs must refrain from calling out the racism to avoid the inevitable firestorm.

That leaves bloggers as the only ones left to call a spade a spade — and that, dear reader, is a dangerous situation for democracy.

H/t to Bob Cesca

H/t to Lindsay Beyerstein

Adding: I’m trying to raise $500 to do some investigative journalism! Click here to help.

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  • david

    This is so absurd. There is no way that the majority of the tea party members are racists. It is not an anti-black thing. The conservatives try to present it as intelligent and civil and the liberals try to paint it as ignorant and prejudice. Really though….it is somewhere in the middle. Things are always in the middle. It is such a stretch to paint the tea party movement like this. I hate hearing people regurgitate this type of misinformation. Shut up already. It is primarily about keeping the federal government in check. The federal government is too strong. These people see a government forcing shit through against the will of the majority in the name of safety (ex. stimulus, and then more stimulus, health care…) The tea party movement was started by independents who were previously fed up with George Bush. There is a slow change in this country where people are starting to wake up from their amused and apathetic states, and they are trying to stop there government from abusing its power. The only reason you people make it about race is because Obama is black. If some arrogant asshole gets elected in 2012 and he's white….nothing will change, except the attempts to label this movement as racist will become more stretched and absurd.

  • Those “independents previously fed up with George Bush” sure did take their sweet-ass time getting fed up. Funny how they were TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY as soon as there was a new president with a new skin-color. There's nothing at all “stretched” or “absurd” about saying the tea parties feature ugly, stupid racist signage; there is plenty of absurd stretching in attempts to deny its existence.

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