May 3rd, 2010
11:09 AM ET
5 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. Whitey Johnson

    She needs to remind her fellow "tea partiers" of this fact then.

    May 3, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Mayday

    This is something we all know the Tea Party movement are good and decent people but the liberal media & politicians do their best to make them seem otherwise. I guarantee you a lot more than 10% support the Tea Party and it is only going to grow with the frustation from our inept & corrupt political leaders. The more people try to deamonize them the more I like them.

    May 3, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. KarlBateman

    Yea right, proof is in the pudding.

    May 3, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    Sure – they wonrt accept racism, but they'll accept other morally reprehensible activities. How dumb do they think we are? To pretend that you're offended by the very thought of racism, but then parade around with signs portraying the president as Hitler, the devil, etc??

    The tea party is a rabble of hypocrites and deluded or easily persuaded fanatics. Are we done giving them air time yet?

    May 3, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. dAvid, CA

    If Ms Martin had as little patience for willful ignorance and political hypocrisy as she claims to have for racism, her teabag party would be finished.

    May 3, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I thought the Tea Party was about getting back to the way things were in the 1700's, IE slave ownership was normal, and society had classes where the various races and sexes knew their place.

    The other alternative is to be "progressive", meaning you look to the future and leave the past behind (learning from its mistakes and not repeating them). Point is, if you have good ideas, whatever they did in the past doesnt justify your idea just because it happened before or it was "traditional". Traditions more often than not need to be discarded so society can improve.

    May 3, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Richard Reno Neff

    Except that out "founding" principles did NOT include any rights at all - including the most basic right of all, liberty - for the one-quarter of our population which was enslaved. Our founding principles, likewise, did NOT include very many legal rights for women, and certainly no rights for Native Americans.

    May 3, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. George

    The Tea Party needs to stop defending themselves from this nonsense. The true racists and haters in this country are LIBERALS. Everyone knows this. Liberal dems are THE most intolerant, hateful, ignorant, bigoted piles of filth this nation has ever known. It's time to start fighting back against these liberal terrorists.

    May 3, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Christian

    Martin said there's "absolutely" a place for minorities in the conservative movement. Right. Serving cocktails and driving politicans on junkets. Where was the concern about the core priniciples, i.e., fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets, during the Bush administration? Deficits were run up, no bid contracts were awarded to war profiteers, and the first amendment was all but obliterated. The outrage started the day after a black man was elected president. Hypocrisy much?

    May 3, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    So let me get this straight, the Tea Party movement is based on reclaiming our founding principles – LIBERTY. Wow, that's so deep, so coherent, so useful. We are a nation in chains. Free us, Tea Party. Here's another party platform suggestion: We're for LAW and ORDER. This is why fringe movements live and die on such a quick cycle. They really don't know what they are, and their message rings hollow as a result.

    You can't just be against taxation without acknowledging how to pay for society's needs, such as the truly needy, public schools and universities, road and bridge building/repairs, police, fire protection, libraries, etc. You can't be against government expansion without offering to take less in Social Security/Medicare benefits. You can't be against any form of socialism without recognizing how much the very rich have fleeced us and the system and own far too much of this country, thanks to MARKET ALWAYS KNOWS BEST thinking, You can't preach Take Back Our Country without revealing what exactly has been stolen from you.

    May 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Bart

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

    "Why, some of our best gardeners, nannies, day laborers, and peons or non-Caucasian," says Martin. "What would we do without them - actually perform manual labor ourselves? That's crazy talk - we don't know how!"

    May 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. LaChatte

    Okay! Out with the racism! But lady, how do you justify environmental unconsciousness and the assassination of wild life? Seems to me you should take a look at getting rid of Miss Wasila '82 and her ignorant ilk.

    May 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Keven

    BS ! I've seen the Tea Party events. They not only allow racist signs and banners, they encourage it.

    May 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Barbara Indepdent in NY

    I'm sure that some of the tea partiers are not racists, but don't say that it is not tolerated. All you have to do is look at the signs, that have been held up at their rallies for the past year, to realize that racism is alive and well and accepted in the tea party.

    May 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. David in Houston

    "If we see somebody who's doing something racist, we tell them to leave our events."

    Oh, really? I guess you must've missed the ones here in Texas. It certainly seemed as though the racists attending these were welcomed with open arms.

    If you were to truly weed out the racist elements of the Tea Party "movement", there wouldn't be much of a "movement" left...

    May 3, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    The only reason your claiming your not racist now is because it was blatant and you have been called out on it so many times.

    May 3, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Dale Angell

    I just returned from Utah where I was visiting family. Tea party central. One fool told me, speaking of returning to American values, "This is not America as long as there is a ni**er in the white house". Sorry tea party, but this is one of your core values even though you wish it was not. If you could get rid of the racists in the movement you'd lose 80% of your supporters.

    May 3, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Jon

    Whether the organizers want racists to show up or not doesn't really matter. The fact is that Tea Parties attract racists like poop attracts flies. They just can't help themselves.

    May 3, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Paul

    It only makes sense that in 21st Century America, remnants of racism would linger. It would also make sense that these remnants would not be overt and upfront in their real agenda. It makes sense that these remnants would hide behind a false agenda.

    There is no reason to believe that everyone who associates themselves with the Tea Party are racists. There is also no reason to believe that veiled racism doesn't exaggerate and amplify the volume of voices and rhetoric coming from the Tea Party movement.

    Fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets are issues we have debated since the founding of the country. We will always debate these issues.

    What has changed simultaneously in this country is the skin color of our president and the level of anger and attacks at him. That's not a coincidence.

    May 3, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    anyone in their righted senses can just look at this woman and see she is a real racists. anyone can see this woman is a real immigrant hater, anyone can see this woman do not like colour people and anyone can see this woman for who she really is, A LIAR<

    May 3, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Please give me the name of one person of color who is
    in the Tea Party movement!

    May 3, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Jim

    Notice how CNN decided to use those national poll numbers? Instead of stating that those same national polls shows a mix of people groups being roughly the same as the overall US population (which is predominantly Caucasian), CNN decided to use the more ambiguous (and obviously less accurate) "decidedly Caucsian" wording.

    This goes to show the continuing and obviously biased CNN is nothing more than a bunch ofpartisans playing journalists.

    May 3, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. DOC

    Founding principles? Does this include slavery, prohibiting women from voting, only adult men with property and are literate can vote?

    Is this what the Tea Party Patriots stand for???

    Wait, this means Sarah Palin can't vote? Then count me IN IN IN!!!!

    May 3, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. runforfun54

    Riiiiight ... that's why there are no black faces, that's why they allow racist imagery of the President of the United States, that's why they treat this President with a lack of respect that is absolutely appalling. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck –guess what, sweetie it's a duck. Your actions speak way louder than your words.

    May 3, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Johnny DC

    How many of the Tea Party "racists" at the events are actually Liberal plants, there to take away from the patriotism of those exercising their free speech and free assembly?

    There are far too many loudmouth "Tea Party" people there for it to be coincidence. One day the truth will come out that this administration placed agents in the crowds to divert attention from their own failures.

    May 3, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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