July 16th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
4 years ago

Tea Partier's posting slammed as 'feeble,' 'offensive'



Update 4:41 p.m.: CNN has learned that Williams has removed the version of his blog post that was quoted in this story and replaced it with a "personal note"
to readers.

(CNN) – The war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party movement has reached a new level, with the spokesman for a national Tea Party organization penning a controversial blog post and a representative of the NAACP calling the post "a feeble attempt at satire" and offensive.

In an effort to mock to the NAACP's recent criticism of the Tea Party movement, Mark Williams, a conservative radio talk show host and spokesman for the Tea Party Express, published a post on his blog that is a mock letter from NAACP president Benjamin Jealous to former President Lincoln.

"Dear Mr. Lincoln," the blog post reads, "We [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

The mock letter continues by taking on several core beliefs and positions of the Tea Party movement including the conservative movement's desire to end bailouts of big business, to reduce the size and scope of government, to reduce government spending and to cut taxes.

"The racist tea parties also demand that the government 'stop the out of control spending,' " the mock letter says. "Again, they directly target [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People. That means we [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People would have to compete for jobs like everybody else and that is just not right.

"Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government 'stop raising our taxes' That is outrageous! Totally racist! The tea party expects [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People to be productive members of society, especially when our mission is to convince them that progress is impossible for them based on the color of their skin?"

The mock letter ends by telling Lincoln he was "the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. … Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we say that belong."

Appearing on CNN's "American Morning" on Friday, a representative of the NAACP slammed Williams' blog post.

"It's a feeble attempt at satire and parody that ends up being offensive in the final analysis," Hillary Shelton, the Washington director of the NAACP, said.

Shelton added that Williams' blog post is "yet another distraction from the real issues on the table - the real issues on the table are whether or not racist elements are inside the Tea Party. Our experience, photographs, speeches, and signs and even instances [of racist behavior] tell us that there very well are. And all we are asking, yet again, . . . is that they look from within and repudiate those elements."

Lloyd Marcus, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express who is African-American, defended Williams.

"I know Mark Williams personally. He is not a racist and he is just being satirical to make a point," Marcus said Friday on "American Morning."

Saying he had attended more than 200 Tea Party gatherings across the country, Marcus also insisted that the Tea Party movement is not racist.

"They do not oppose [President Barack] Obama's skin color. They oppose his policies."

The latest dust-up between the conservative grass-roots movement and the long-standing civil rights organization comes after days of back-and-forth between the two sides which began with the NAACP passing a resolution asking the Tea Party movement to condemn racist behavior within its ranks. Several leaders of national Tea Party groups, including Williams, responded by denying the NAACP's accusation.

"The tea party is a truly post-racial movement. Based strictly around the three simple principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market capitalism, the movement is uninterested and uninvolved in the politics of race," the co-founders of Tea Party Patriots wrote in an editorial published earlier this week.

And Michael Steele, the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, said the NAACP should stop "the name-calling."

"Recent statements claiming the Tea Party movement is racist are not only destructive, they are not true," Steele said in a statement.

Steele added, "Tea Party activists are your mom or dad, your local grocer, banker, hairdresser or doctor. They are a diverse group of passionate Americans who want to ensure that our nation returns to founding principles that honor the Constitution, limit government's role in our lives, and support policies that empower free markets and free enterprise."

–CNN Political Producer Shannon Travis contributed to this report.

soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Spike5

    I don't know how anyone could think this is anything but violently racist.

    Satire doesn't play on the most offensive stereotypes. This does.

    I'm sure that not all members of the tea party movement are racists. But unless they start repudiating statements like this, they are allowing their movement to be tarred with an ugly brush.

    July 16, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What was Mark Williams thinking?

    I did not find it personally offensive as he was NOT referring to me or people of my race, but instead making a reference to HIS OPINION of people of my race. The fact that Mr. Williams would be stupid, and ignorant enough to go as far as to PUBLISH in a public forum his sickly distorted views speaks VOLUMES ABOUT HIM, AND NOT US AS PEOPLE OF COLOR.

    Live with your shame Mr. Williams, I walk with my head held high. Do you have any children Mr. Williams? How do you explain yourself to them? Children are not born with your disease. People like you contaminate them.

    July 16, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Jim M

    The Tea Party had an opportunity to repudiate the signs that were front and center during their rallies, they chose not to.

    July 16, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. IsNot

    Satire has a place when it is well thought out and designed to make you think. This "letter" does NOT meet that standard. Instead, it shows what mean-spirited and divisive the Tea Party members really are. Most TP followers I know unfortunately DO believe and agree with the worst aspects of the above. Sad to think that people are dying to protect THEIR right to advocate taking this country back–back like 150+ years. :(

    July 16, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. andy

    The naacp is offensive. Their complete lack of thinking is beyond believe. They don't do anything but spread lies and hate. They need to just sut up and go away.

    July 16, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    We all should be very very scared of these people.

    July 16, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. taboo

    Hey tea party, wake up and smell the coffee.

    July 16, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. IA

    It's just a distraction, they can't understand the Tea party, and that they truly don't care what race the Pres. is, or any other member of congress is. And since they can't understand it, the only thing they have left is to argue racism. Democrats and liberals have small minds, you have to speak slowly and loudly, even then they don't get it, so they just call names and cry racism. Even though the true definition of racism is the belief that your race is superior to another... ya that's exactly what the Tea Party is shouting at the rally's, and certainly not: "Based strictly around the three simple principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market capitalism, the movement is uninterested and uninvolved in the politics of race"

    btw that was some sarcasm, get a clue liberals.

    July 16, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. supervoid

    "Tea Party activists are your white majority mom or dad, your local white grocer, white banker, white heterosexual hairdresser or white doctor. They are a diverse group of passionate white Americans who want to ensure that our nation returns to founding principles, like slavery and putting women back in the home where they belong, that honor the Constitution as written by slave holders, limit government's role in our lives but increasing it in the lives of those that do not live in western christian culture, and support policies that empower free markets to exploit those on the lower socio-economic rung of the ladder and free enterprise that overwhelmingly profits a culture already centuries deep in advantages."

    July 16, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Richard Parrilla

    This whole situation reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt's day when the powers-that-be wanted to "kick him upstairs" to the Presidency in hopes that he'd come their way and do them no harm. I'm seeing some of that with Michael Steele and Lloyd Marcus.

    July 16, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. kem

    So let me get this straight, if a tea partier peez on my head and tells me its raining, Im wrong for not believing them? The sad part is that if they keep repeating it, there is a segment of the population thats dense enough to belive them, kinda like the death panels they dreamed up. That being said, How do we protect our nations idiots?

    July 16, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Pragmatic

    ""I know Mark Williams personally. He is not a racist and he is just being satirical to make a point," Marcus said Friday on "American Morning."

    another lame excuse: Rush can use the "r" word (not republican – or racist) and Palin defends him ... but let any one else ... and Palin goes into attack mode.

    Playground tactics: say any nasty lie you want then whine "I was just kidding" ... time for TeaPot People to own up or kick out those carrying obviously racist signs. Can't have it both ways.

    July 16, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Cleveland man

    The response of Tea Party members is at the least an indication of how out touch it' members are regarding issues of race. Freedom and race have been core issues in our nation from it's start. What we need is productive dialogue not sound bites for media attention. It's tough to get there when the position of each side is really that the other has no right to be doing what they're doing or even to exist.

    July 16, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. TruthSeeker

    NAACP = liberal political movement.

    July 16, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Annie

    While he may be trying to be satirical, he is actually being very racist by grouping all people of color as being nonproductive and wanting to live off the taxes paid by others. I am white, and know many very productive people of different skin colors, and also know some very unproductive white people. Stereotyping all people of color as being nonproductive is pretty racist. Think of it this way, there are many more white single moms on welfare than there are African American women, so if that is their basis for being non productive, they better start looking at all of us white people first.

    July 16, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Mike

    What the heck was he thinking? He could have made a good point to counteract the idea that the tea-party folks are racist, but this post makes him look like a racist. Just plain stupid and offensive.

    Overly expressed self identification along the lines of race, gender, creed, nationality and sexual orientation have created a new stratification of society that is no longer based on class. When we choose to focus on what separates us, rather than what unites us, we chose walk down a sad and dangerous path.

    July 16, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Dk

    Lloyd Marcus, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express who is African-American, defended Williams.
    "I know Mark Williams personally. He is not a racist and he is just being satirical to make a point," Marcus said Friday on "American Morning."
    ps
    There'll always be one slave who exposes the underground railroad.

    July 16, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Larry

    That'sa pathetic and juvenile.

    July 16, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. JES

    The truth hurts doesn't it NAACP.

    Grow up and stop acting like a three year old.

    July 16, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Carole Schneider

    What I just read is unbelievable. How can you write and say all that and claim it is just satire. I am white and these are all the racist statements I heard as I was growing up. The NAACP is correct in condemning the Tea Party for this and many other racist tactics they are using to divide America. Shame on the media for not calling them out. Have you look into any of the Tea Party individuals and see what other organizations they are associated with? America is full of many races, ethnic groups, and religious groups, we should be celebrating this. This movement along with other GOP initiatives that are being used to try to take back control of the Government is dangerous. It is scary to watch. Again, I hold the media partly responsible for this, you act as though it's just a big joke.

    July 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. David

    I love it. Finally a political movement that has the courage to stand up to black racism.

    July 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. usualone

    With the Hitler/Obama sign in Iowa and this man's attempt at humor, it is really clear that the NAACP is correct about the Tea Parties. Those who may not be prejudiced certainly are not speaking up and these actions speak so highly of bigotry one wonders how one who has credible concerns about the U.S. government can be in any way related to this group. Your bad apples are showing their ugly heads. So don't kid yourselves that you are not bigots.

    July 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. William Ernest

    Apparently the leaders of the Tea Party do not know their history. Abraham Lincoln identified himself as a Free-soiler during his early political career. Free-soilers adamantly fought slavery in our country for the reason that they just did not want Africans in their country. So I'm not saying Abraham Lincoln was a racist, I'm just saying........

    July 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Black, Pround & Fiscally Conservative Independent

    Who ever this Mark Williams is is just flat out stupid! He feeds the perception that the Tea Party movement is/has been hijacked by people that is turning this into a racist thing.
    Micheal Steele is just an idiot & everytime he opens his mouth it shows.

    July 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Republicans is smart in the head area

    But the Tea Party isn't racist in any way, right?

    July 16, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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