The fray began when NAACP President Benjamin Jealous issued a challenge to the Tea Party:How would that even be done? Random people show up at rallies in public places and have signs that occasionally, in the opinion of some people, cross the line into what deserves to be called racist. Who is supposed to do what, and why would the failure to do that require taking "full responsibility for all of their actions" (whatever that means)? Does the NAACP apply the same standard to itself? I don't really mean for you to answer those questions, only to see that Jealous isn't trying to make sense. He's just stirring people up.
"You must expel the bigots and racists in your ranks or take full responsibility for all of their actions."
For a response, NPR calls on Mark Williams, who is identified as "a national spokesman for the Tea Party Express":
"I don't recall the NAACP ever standing up and saying we need to civilize discourse when Republicans were in the White House," Williams [said]....Well, that's pretty inflammatory. But who is Mark Williams? And why is NPR quietly conflating the Tea Party movement with the Tea Party Express? I think that last question is an easy one. Williams gave the most inflammatory quote, the one that gave the biggest boost to the Jealous rant, so NPR presented him as the voice of the movement.
"You're dealing with people who are professional race baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It's time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history," Williams said.
Charges of racism against the Tea Party flared after African-American Congressmen said they were heckled, spat at and were called racial slurs by tea party supporters during a demonstration at the U.S. Capitol.And were they, oh, NPR? At least give us a line saying that there were video cameras everywhere and none corroborated the Congressmen. NPR revives this phony old story in the minds of casual listeners.
Finally, we get to the most useful information about why this story is surfacing:
Polls show that black Americans still overwhelmingly support the president with approval ratings of about 90 percent. But many in 2008 were considered Obama voters who don't regularly show up to vote. So the resolution is part of a strategy to motivate potential voters to come out and vote in November.How to get black people — who admire Obama — to see good reason to take the trouble to vote for a lot of white Democrats who want to be in Congress.... what a puzzle! And how contemptibly patronizing to think the solution is to tell them the non-Democrats are racists.