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. Brandon

    Oh, whew, I guess all you need to do is say you're not encouraging racism. All the racist signs, chants and slogans they've had at their events then must have just been "racist people at their events" that hadn't been asked to leave yet.

    May 3, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Jean - 62 - Atlanta

    My question to tea partiers and ms. martin is where were they when bush and the GOP were raping the middle class to give to the wealthy? Also, why is it that your followers are so completely rabid when it comes to this president , as evidenced by the footage normally captured on film and shown over and over on cable? If you don't want to be seen as non-racist, let us see more ethinicity in your followers please, because right now all I see is a bunch of white people who are so worked up by their hatred of one man, that they can't be reasoned with or listened to.

    May 3, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Arnie

    Please someone show this lady a video of the "Tea Party" activities. Not only do they tolerate racism they encourage it.!

    May 3, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Steve

    I'm sure there are millions of well off fiscally/socially conservative Latinos, Blacks, Asians, Gays, and Atheists who are just dying to join you wing nuts now that you have invited them.

    Don't be surprised if this GOP facade fails to convince.

    Most people realize that conservative and constitutionally limited are the new shorthand phrases for no entitlements, no regulation of business, no gun control, and no tolerance of anyone who doesn't look like a founding father. Oh, I guess you will go so far as the constitution + 19th amendment to grandfather your self!

    May 3, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Arlene, Illinois

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

    May 3, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. earl

    Tea partiers tolerate everything that is wrong about our government. Lies, hate, and misrepresentation.

    May 3, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. doug

    It's funny how all the racist activity at tea party events is 100% conducted by Demo-rat party plants.

    The one lib who held up a racist sign in DC was found later on in the day handing out pro Obama-care literature. No, the lib media still used the picture of the lib and his sign to define what they wanted the tea party to be.

    May 3, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. bobby frank

    I really have a hard time believing that these folks are accepting of all groups. They have a close affiliation with the GOP who brought our economy to its knees and frankly has a poor record when it comes to being a party for all the people. If they really cared about the country, they would work with this administration to try and solve problems that this country indeed still has. You don't have to agree with everything, but you do have a responsibility to get your facts straight and work on an honest way to move this country forward with the hand that has been dealt. I personally think this country needs a strong third party that can deliver all the peoples messages without bias.

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. teaman

    Left wing groups have openly admitted, and are actively trying, to ruin the tea party reputation by going to events and acting racist.

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. harold

    white people wanting to take back country? from whom? guess with the storms over the weekend and oil spill there is no need for Federal Government to step in because we just don't have the money to spend;

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. The unsub

    Once they cried "We want our country back!", they were finished. That statement alone illustrates a lot that is wrong with the Tea Party.

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. goon

    Fox is racist, the leader Glen Beck is part of a racist, oppressive, anti government organization called the Mormons.

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Eddie B.

    She can say what she wants, but the Tea Party has been infiltrated by hardcore seperatists/racists fringe groups. They have so much hatred for Barack Obama because of the color of his skin. Where were these people during the Bush administration where our deficit grew more than any other administration?

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Tea Partiers are a Joke

    This party is filled with a group bent on hate of our President and our country.

    May 3, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Shawn - GA

    95% of black voters and somewhere near that of Latino voters voted for this president. It would stand to reason with such large numbers supporting this President that you will see small numbers of these voting groups in the Tea Party organization. So the sheer #s do not indicate racism. Aside from that argument I have seen no evidence of this group being racists. Are there some people who are? Sure are, just like there is in ANY group. Stop trying to make legitimate complaints about race all the time.

    It weakens your argument because it does not stand up against scrutiny thus your other legitimate arguments get lost in the noise.

    May 3, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Jon

    Well, guess that's a step in the right direction then, at least.

    May 3, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. blarkin

    Where was the Tea Party when the Bush administration introduced the patriot act ,warrent less wire taping ,unfunded tax cuts and unfunded unjustified war with Iraq that has cost 100 s of billion in tax payer funds not least human costs, where were these patriots then?

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

    Where were these people during the Bush years? I am sick of wolves in sheep clothes. Please.

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. jbakaregit

    Really? So what where those posters of Obama Joker, Obama witch doctor, etc. all about?

    And why aren't these "We don't like big government instrusion" folks screaming about the recently passed Arizona racial profiling bill? When they yelled and screamed about totalitarianism, they should be opposing this bill.

    The tea party has already been outed as nothing more than disgruntled bigoted GOPers who are ticked off they lost to a black guy in 2008, hence their rise barely month after Obama was sworn in.

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Jethro

    She is a racist through and through! Where was the Tea Party when Bush was in office? Spending was out of control, we were in a war we should never have been in..where were you team party? Why is the tea party carrying around placards of Obama then? Why? She is a racist just like Palin....always spewing hate! The tea party is about one thing and one thing only......trying to get rid of Obama and the Dems from power, PERIOD! If Mcsame had won the election we would be seeing none of this and they know it.

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Dennis

    I am soooooo thankful that the Tea Party is not representative of our nation and what the majority feel.

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Jim in San Mateo

    The whole tea party concept is racist. It's the "All About Me" generation coming to a head. Society is about taking care of each other where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

    In the tea party, the needs of the one are paramount. They talk about liberty, but only as they see it. They're still a bunch of social conservatives so their concept of liberty is very self-defined.

    If they were truly broad based, you would see a cross section of America at their rallies instead of a loaf of Wonder.

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. slipthalo

    Evidently she forgot to tell all the tea party groups or she's trying to come across as being inclusive of all. I think she's trying to blow smoke and having a hard time selling the notion.

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |

    Take our country back from WHOM ????? These Tea-Partiers are so insensitive. Just the thought of the Tea Party era brings back HORRIBLE memories for African Americans ( not considered human,
    slavery , lynchings, etc. ). I suggest they change the name of their movement , 'cause what they're using now 'ain't cuttin' it with Black

    May 3, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Chipster

    Sure, I believe ya' – – – and Hitler was just a misunderstood sensitive artist. Uh huh. "We want to reclaim our founding principles in this country." You mean, like "due process, equal protection, warrantless-wiretaps, telephone records, & financial records, monitoring attorney-client conversations, posse comitatus mean stuff like that? Racist signs, Confederate flags, and a near-insane belief that McCain, Clinton, the Supreme Court and the entire government would accept a non-citizen as President: those are not the actions or beliefs of rational people.

    May 3, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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