May 3rd, 2010
11:09 AM ET
4 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. dblzap

    These are just a group of narcissist, greedy, jerks who don't want to give anything back into the society they depend on! If their dream really came true you would need to run a credit check before the fire department would come. You would have to pay tolls every time you drive, open a account with the police department next time you need help Etc....

    The wealthy conservatives LOVE this group and wet themselves every time they watch the SUCKERS meet.

    May 3, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. chatmandu002

    If your don't won't a government that should be following the constitution then fine. Keep following your Obama change dream and you will become apart of the entitled economic slave system. Lincoln freed the slaves, Obama will enslave the free.

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

    Palin,Bachmann,Beck, Hannity,Limbaugh are the Tea Party Leaders and are all proven liars and anti American and you want people to take you seriously ??? You were no where to be found when the Cheney/ Bush administration was out to completely destroy the founding principles of America. Your racist rants and signs at your little gatherings sort of speak volumes !

    May 3, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Neel

    yeap, Tea Partier are a bunch of racist.

    May 3, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Jim

    So according to the "collective wisdom" of all these people on this thread who think because some racists show up at TP rallies – all TP's are racists then lets look at the past where most of you guys have supported the protesters during the Bush administration (a disaster if there ever was one!).

    Commonly and quite prominently at the "peace" rallies we had terrorists (or at least look-a-likes) during ALL these big parades and rallies with "Death to Israel" signs and swinging the Hamas colors. I guess all you "peace-niks" are really just anti-Jew, terrorists who are Hollocaust deniers. Uncropped pictures showed this to be true quite clearly so all you who are making assinine accusations against others must be racist, Jew-haters who want to committ genocide.

    Sorry, just using your own twisted and sickening logic. Try not being lemmings and using the gray area between the ears...

    May 3, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Brandon

    They should ask her if atheists are welcome...

    May 3, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. baidiot

    "Martin said there's "absolutely" a place for minorities in the conservative movement"

    Exactly there is a place for minorities for example at the back of the bus – there is place for colored people as long as they use the restrooms that are for the colored people...

    There's always been a place for minorities.

    Yeah and I am sure she has friend's who are minorities.

    May 3, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. cliokie

    This person and all members of the tea party, obviously dont understand the meaning of racism. Just because you dont wear your sheets at the rallys, dosnt diminish your inability to include other ideas or religions or cultures. The shouting down others opinions during civil debates is not at all a Patriotic way to conduct yourself. The lowbrow images you continually portray of the President of the United States in the name of freedom of speech , well where was your outrage when W took this great nation the the edge of ruin? Your missplaced outrage has only become apparent after the majority of the nation voted for an Arica-American as our leader. There was no outrage prior. Even an unpatriotic such as yourselves should be able to do this simple math.

    May 3, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    The Tea Party are ignorant, racist scum.

    May 3, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. doug

    Notice that at tea party protests, they always leave the place perfectly clean, and there is never even one violent act other than an occasional lib that starts something.

    Compare that to the mainstream Democrat rallies of code pink and others where they totally trash the place and always get violent and nasty.

    We had 2 major acts of domestic terrorism this year. The lib in Austin with the plane who left a note attacking Bush which read like a typical cnn ticker lib post, and that Democrat teacher in Alabama who killed all those people.

    Why would the media ignore the truth and spew a lie about the great tea party Americans that they know isn't true?

    If you don't know the answer to that then you probably think they had microsoft fonts in 1972 and you don't think genocide has been commited in our major cities for the last 40 years under Democrat rule!

    May 3, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Dale

    If it looks like a duck....

    May 3, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. garc

    Of course they don't tolerate racists...That's why you see so many of them holding racist signs at their rallies, right up front, happy to be on TV.

    May 3, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    :: Reads title of article ::

    :: ROTFLMAO ::

    :: Wipes away tear produced from laughing so hard at the stupidity of the statement ::

    Do they honestly think anyone with any common sense believes them?

    May 3, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Fitz In Texas

    Looks like CNN is at it again. Another story to take the attention off Obama and his inept administration.

    May 3, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Lugman

    I am sure this young lady understands the meaning of "implicit" vs. "explicit" masseges. Explicitly, she speaks of free markets, fiscal conservatism, and reclaiming the founding principles. However, implicitly there is a "coded" message of "I want to return to the days when being a white person meant something".

    Reclaim, the Presidency from a black man, Reclaim my superior status in society, Reclaim the status quo, which is in your favor. "Can Ronald Reagan and the Beaver come out to play"

    I realize that I have furthered you cuase for your "supramacy tending" followers. But I hope I have made it plain for minories who would consider your snake oil pitch.

    May 3, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. mary

    I guess these tea party folks didn't do US 1 in college. That's the history of the US from the earliest times to 1877. For a little education, they should call themselves the new Know-Nothing Party. And if they don't know what the Know Nothing Party was, I can give them a little lesson, for free.

    May 3, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Rosslaw

    For all those who supposedly despise "big government", there are some simple solutions:
    1. pull all federal efforts to contain the current BP oil spill out and let the Tea Partiers take over oil containment efforts;
    2. all Republican dominated states return the stimulus funds Republicans like to pretend to dislike, including those used to balance the states' budgets like Haley Barbour of Mississippi did;
    3. do not access Medicare, which is actually fairly close to actual "socialized" medicine-instead, find and purchase (good luck), private health insurance;
    4. do not access "socialized" Social Security-amounts paid in typically cover only the first four years of Social Security so you really haven't "paid in;
    5. do not access "socialist" Veterans Administration provided healthcare.

    With the above, the so-called Tea Parties and their ilk can disentangle themselves from the nasty communist system built up since the New Deal, balance the budget and reduce overpopulation-win,win, win

    May 3, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Andy

    So let me get this straight, a movement or party that is predominantly filled with members of a certain race, is automatically racist???

    I guess all those Latinos marching in immigration rallies are RACISTS because few white people take part.

    I guess that "million man march" was full of RACISTS because almost everyone who attended was black.

    I can list more than a dozen such demonstrations where almost everyone was of a certain race but that does not mean they were all full of racists.

    Give me a break!

    May 3, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Barbara

    CNN...I'm sick and tired of you guys trying to protect the Tea Party. You know this is a party of racism and hate. They don't deserve the coverage CNN is giving them.

    Yes, your ratings have fallen but this is not how you recover them...if anyting you may stand to lose viewers with such groups as this on your show.

    May 3, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Terry in Iowa

    So what “founding principles” have been lost? I thought our founding principles, as Lincoln eloquently paraphrased, are “that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth”

    Which part of this is no longer working that has so many Tea Party members upset? Wasn’t Barrack Obama elected by the people? Where not the members of congress elected by the people? Isn’t it the job of congress to enact law, the job of the president to uphold the law and the courts to determine what law is legal and strike down those that are not? Isn’t this exactly what's going on?

    I can only guess that many in the Tea Party despise our Constitution and I can only assume that it’s because it allows those of us who don’t agree with them to also participate in this great society and elect those we believe will best represent us.

    May 3, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Cosmo

    What "Founding Principles"? What about slavery? How about majority rule? Don' t try to use history if you don't know it or just want to use the parts that fit your agenda. The Tea cozies are just another "me first' organization that has the gall to use the word "patriot".

    May 3, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. stevegee

    The Tea Party movement has absolutely nothing to do with race - that's just how the liberal media try to portray it. Tea Party patriots believe in moving our country back to its founding principles: more freedom and liberty, and far less government.

    The American people have awakened from their "change" coma and now see the true Socialist agenda that Obama and the Democrats are trying to shove down our throats. That's why November 2010 is brewing up to be a landslide victory for conservatives and the Tea Party.

    May 3, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Me! In Houston, Texas

    The Tea Party does not have a coherent platform of policy and ideas. They don't have any viable candidates. They don't have any real established leadership or order. They don't care about the truth or what you can prove. If it doesn't come from the lips of an elected Republican official or FOX 'news' they don't believe it.

    The Tea Party is running on FEAR, ANGER and HATE. They are the same people who showed up at Town Halls to shout down debate. They are the same people who say "keep your govt hands off my medicare". People this ignorant and hateful are bound to be racist.

    AND the fact that they have such a homogenous demographic doesn't help their image. They are the loud cantankerous voice of a dwindling MINORITY opposition.

    May 3, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Billy, NYC

    Did she look at all the signs in all Tea Party rallies? Labling the democratically elected first Black President as Nazi, Joker and evil monster is a racist act. The Tea Party three core principles are the legitimate ones. But their White dominiated crowds have made this movement so disgusting and foolish.

    If they REALLY want small government, can they give up their social security and medicare. These two are the biggest spending of all. Then, we talk about minimizing government in our life. Get Real!

    May 3, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Mari

    Would the same folks that are accusing the Tea Party participants of being racists be the same folks that accused President Clinton of being racist?

    It seems this old trick worked so well for Obama in getting him the democratic nomination to begin with, it's no surprise they play the trick over and over again.

    May 3, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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