May 3rd, 2010
11:09 AM ET
8 years ago

We don't tolerate racist behavior, Tea Party organizer says

(CNN) – A leader of a national Tea Party organization said Monday that her organization has no patience for racists.

"In Tea Party Patriots, we have no place for that," Jenny Beth Martin said on CNN's American Morning. "If we see somebody who's doing something racist, we tell them to leave our events. We're there for our core values. We want to reclaim our founding principles in this country."

Martin, who's the national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, said the conservative grassroots movement is dedicated to furthering three core values: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. Asked whether the Tea Party movement is political movement or a protest movement, Martin responded that it is "a little bit of both."

Related: Martin named one of Time's 100 Most Influential for 2010

And Martin said the movement is open to everyone, including racial and ethnic minorities, notwithstanding the fact that some national polls have indicated Tea Party activists and supporters of the movement are predominantly Caucasian.

Martin said there's "absolutely" a place for minorities in the conservative movement. "This is about ordinary citizens in America and we're reclaiming our founding principles. And those principles are liberty – it affects everyone in this country regardless of race or age."

Asked about the movement's future, Martin said "we don't have any intention of starting a new [political] party. We encourage people to get involved in the parties they've already been involved in.

And, as far as the 2012 election goes, this movement – it's been like a fire hydrant and we're just trying to keep up with it the best that we can. And I haven't been thinking very much about 2012 yet."

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released in mid-April, ten percent of Americans said they have actively supported the Tea Party movement. The survey indicated that those Tea Party activists are older, better educated and more religious than the general public.

Earlier: Who are the Tea Party activists?

soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. KateHikes

    Why can blacks, Latinos and jews have "civil rights," while Whites are forbidden from doing the same? Why is pride in being White always labeled as racism? People, this is what happens when you let the jew into your country and allow it to ruin it from the inside out. Termites on two legs they are.

    May 3, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Larry

    Sounds good, but I like many Black Americans feel the Tea Party and for the most part Republicans have said or done little to attract Black Americans in their movement. So at this point I'd never support either.

    May 3, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. mh

    It will be almost impossible for the loons on the left to understand a movement not built around race. The democrats have used race for everything for so long they can't operate without claiming racism.

    May 3, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Larry

    Lies, Lies, and more lies

    Get real, from the many small clips shown on the various media outlets, hatred and racism are the core of your phony Tea Party

    Look In The Mirror and GET REAL

    Actually, don't bother, you guys would not know the truth if it was staring you in the face

    Continue on in your delusional state, nobody but yourselves listens to your hatred anyway !!!

    May 3, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We don't tolerate racist behavior, Tea Party organizer says

    Really???? Since when?

    Perhaps YOU don't Ms. Martin, but your members do. Been to one of your infamous Washington D.C. rallies lately?

    Spin again.....!

    May 3, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. FactCheck

    I guess they must be using a different definition of "racism". From where I stand, the Tea Party is synonymous with the word.

    May 3, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Fair is Fair

    In any gathering of a group, you're going to get some bad apples. However, the opponents of the Tea Party will amways paint with a broad brush. The leftist comments on this item should be entertaining, to say the least.

    May 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. FM

    Where has she been to denounce this and just doing it now!!!! Too little, too late the message they wanted to deliver (racists) was received long ago.

    May 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. John

    What Martin fails to recognize – as do most of the Tea Party members – is that the United States, by necessity, evolves. Take race for example...if she, in fact, is espousing the "values" of the founders of America...she MUST distance herself from the founders' accepance of slavery and the counting of African Americans as 3/5 of a person.

    Further, she must recognize that, if it were entirely up to the founders of the US, the fact that she is female would keep Martin out of the public discourse altogether.

    Martin is right in some respects...there are American values we need to protect...but a universal embracing the values of 1776 is entirely inappropriate for 2010.

    May 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Wisconsinite

    Probably depends on what behaviour one would define as "racist". I mean, would Ms. Martin define the Tea Party participants who hold signs depicting our President as Hitler as racists? I certainly would and if she doesn't I don't believe her assertions that the TParty doesn't tolerate racism as disengenous at best. Would she define the birther part of the TParty as racist? I would since the "issue" is only an "issue" now . . . . after the election of our first African American President. Again . . . I find her comments disengenous at best, lies at worst.

    May 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Shocked

    CNN – everything okay? This is like an almost nice article about the Tea Party. Sombody on vacation there – I'm not seeing a Sara Palin article either now that I think about it? What's up, feeing the need to be a little more fair and balanced?

    May 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. KJL

    I didn't know there are TWO Tea Parties. I guess the ignorant, racist one gets all the press.

    May 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Jay

    Wasn't one of the founding principles that black people would count as 3/5 of a person for purposes of congressional representation?

    May 3, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. Larry

    The Movement (LOL), is open to everyone ???

    Who on this earth wants to be part of a group of screaming self centered racist bigots ?

    So typically Republican Party .... spew your lies long enough, and even you begin to believe that your vile is somehow fact

    Go back to the rock you crawled out from under, and let us real Americans try to make this country a better place, let us real Americans try to help our leader, instead of throwing lies and hatred at his every effort to making America stronger and better for all, not just the privileged.


    PERIOD !!!!!

    May 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Duck Fallas

    "We got BOTH kinds- Country AND Western."

    May 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Ruty

    That is a lie. Your whole tea party is based on racism.

    May 3, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    "Conservative grassroots movement is dedicated to furthering three core values: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets."
    Yes these are the true Libertarian Conservative values that many can embrace, however I do not get that message from the Tea Party Movement. What I hear is Neo Conservative values of the continuing of the big government control, higher taxes, increasing the spending on foreign wars, more of the failed War on Drugs, more of the narrow evangelical Christian values of morality on everyone and more corporate welfare.

    May 3, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Thersa

    It's not about liberty. It's about refusing to pay for all the government spending their conservative presidents ran up as debt and piled onto our children's backs and about now using that debt issue to screw the poor and refuse to properly educate our children. Taxed Enough Already? No, Taken (Stolen) Enough Already is much more appropriate.

    May 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. NJ Jim

    With all the Tea Party protests over big government and the Constitution, Ms. Martin's group, who proclaim Liberty is key, are deadly silent about Arizona's 1070 immigration law, giving government far reaching police powers to stop ordinary or not.. But then again, those being stopped don't look lke Ms. Martin's followers, do they?

    I find her comments on racism disingenuous at best.. Too much notoriety from the media, most of it undeserved has given members of these groups a big head, and not half the clout they think they have.

    May 3, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. The dude abides

    "We want to reclaim our founding principles in this country."... uh, some of those principles were pretty racist, if I'm not mistaken.

    May 3, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. JFS

    Not Tolerating Behavior is one thing....but not controling that element during your gatherings is something else. Your ability to disregard aggressive groups' behavior, tolerating over zealous Congress People hanging over The Congress Buildings Balaconies 'ensighting' the out of control crowds below is not a very conviencing objection. Even spitting on black Congress people !!! This dysfunctional Tea Party portrays disrespect for OUR Country's Government and its officials. The vast majority of Americans SEE those militant crowds ....they are not listening to weak objections coming from the Tea Parties leadership. When you can detach your group from all the bad elements that you are attracting, then, and only then, will the average American take this over publicized movement seriously.

    May 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Larry

    Now your calling it "Tea Party P A T R I O T S "

    Real Patriots are disgusted by your negative actions

    How dare you place such a label of respect, upon your disrespectful actions

    How do you sleep at night, when real Americans are suffering everyday due to your Republican Parties Obstructionist behavior

    Absolutely disgusting !!!

    May 3, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Carmelle

    Says a lot that you have to be asked and defend yourself from a question like that.

    May 3, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Beth

    The tea party has fizzled out. I never hear anything about them anymore. I knew they would never be able to sustain their momentum. They are just not relevant anymore. Good Bye tea party and good riddance.

    May 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Syed Abid

    Martin,where u have been.I would have joined T.P if u had started it when v were bldg.bridges,roads and power plant in IRAQ.Our infrastructure was falling apart and v were spending 6 billion a week in iraq, not 2 mention our soldiers lives.You can fool all the FOX watchers but it comes down 2 your hate towards OBAMA.It will b stupid 2 say that all conservatives r racist but if u racist and belong 2 T .P ,most probably u r republican.I m proud conservative ,but your tent got smaller and i had 2 get out .

    May 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7