Amid claims that there is rampant racism within the Tea Party, a spokesman for the organization made the bizarre choice of turning the accusation on its head, saying that it is the NAACP, the historic civil rights organization, that is really racist. Mark Williams, the spokesman in question, was on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” discussing (well, perhaps that’s too gentle a word) the issue of racism within the Tea Party with CNN contributor Roland Martin.
When told to make it clear to racists within the party that their behavior is unacceptable, Williams replied, “Racists have their own movement. It’s called the NAACP.” Williams continue by castigating the NAACP, saying that its members were simply “a bunch of old fossils looking to make a buck off skin color.”
I know. I can’t quite believe it either. In other statements, Williams continued his attack on the NAACP, saying, “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.”
This was in response to a recent NAACP resolution, condemning the Tea Party for tolerating bigotry within its ranks. “We felt the time had come to stand up and say, ‘It’s time for the tea party to be responsible members of this democracy and make sure they don’t tolerate bigots or bigotry among their members,’” NAACP President Ben Jealous explained. “We don’t have a problem with the tea party’s existence. We have an issue with their acceptance and welcoming of white supremacists into their organizations.”
And, in case Williams needed to disprove himself just a little more, he wrote a blog post in which he took the NAACP to task for using the word “colored” in their name, claiming that the Tea Party was the real route to “emancipation” (he later removed the blog post and called for everyone to band together to fight racists). All of these remarks, as a defense against ongoing disturbing accusations (Tea Party activists are alleged to have yelled racist epithets and spat at black congressmen during the health care debates), seem only to condemn the Tea Party even further. It’s remarkable that Williams can be so un-self-aware, but his inability to recognize the idiocy and offensiveness of his remarks simply reinforces all of the negative publicity that has been attached to the Tea Party of late.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.