July 16th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
13 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. e.c.coleman

    As most people of color will say in the world of today, "the NAACP
    is no longer pertinent, nor a necessity."
    All the 'rights' demanded have been extended to the NAACP, through Civil Rights Laws. Therefore, at this time in our history, the organization is past history.

    The NAACP and all supporters should use their time and effort in other areas of endeavor.

    In my opinion, michelle obama is a disgrace and should have never, ever been a part of the NAACP's condemnation of the Tea Party.
    in calling it 'racist.' michelle obama is nothing but an aggitator of the black race and merely attempting to garner votes for November.

    A First Lady should stay out of such Racist Activism as the NAACP.
    The NAACP is dead. This is not the 1950-1960 era.
    Equal opportunity exists all over this world, and in the U.S., but the required element of 'opportunity' happens to be 'education and hard work.'
    The Federal Government is not the source of "Freebies" for any race.

    July 16, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. John

    The NAACP has run it's course.
    I don't see that it does anything positive for anyone.

    July 16, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Wiiliam

    It's time for people to come together things happen two hundred years
    ago that we today had nothing to do with.
    This is one nation of many cultures and we are at war with two countries we need to fight the enemy at the gate not our selfs.
    Look forward not backwards.

    July 16, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. La Piovra

    ¡What! ¡And the NAACP is supposed to be "playing the race card! Next, will they stroll out of doors without pants and accuse astonished onlookers of being peeping toms? I'm waiting for it!

    July 16, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Benito

    this guy is a complete idiot who is totally clueless in out United States of America for ALL people.

    July 16, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. L.A.Dave

    If Michael Steele is defending the Tea Party Movement, they've lost the arguement already. I got to that sentence in the article and then realized what the NAACP is say is true. I'm surprised Michael Steele did not go sophmoric to the point of saying "Stick and stones will break my bones....."

    I'm a white 57 yo man, and wholly support what the NAACP is trying to do. And for the record, I do find the phase, " [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People" as they use it, wholly offensive as well as calling President Lincoln the greatest racist of all. Disgusting even in satire. Somethings just aren't funny or acceptable.

    July 16, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Troubled Independent

    The NAACP has opened up a can of worms.

    And it is not to their benefit!

    They are as racist as any group could possibly be.

    July 16, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Gerry NH

    I as a member of the Tea Party am not a racist and do not remember any Tea Party members acting a racist. In a Tea Party rally in Boston there were some people out of line but they were not members of the Tea Party. Calling a group of people racist is immature and ignorant. Usually the racist issue is for some kind of gain and makes no since.

    July 16, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Sickofpalin

    This is disgusting. How can anyone look at those signs and honestly think these people are not racist and the letter further shows the ignorance of this social group. As a white woman I am offeneded!

    July 16, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. LM

    Tea Party pretending they don't know what they are doing. Most disgusting display I have ever witnessed. They know EXACTLY what they are doing – and it is setting race relations back in this country. The reason I know there are elements of racism at the core of the opposition to the Obama Administration is because I am white. And white people, assuming I am racist like them, are quite open about it. Lots of wink wink, nudge nudge. Stuff they would never say in front of a mixed audience. They are at least that smart. Yes, I know they have their ideology (ridiculous as it is) too, but anyone with eyes and ears can see how they ALSO appeal to race. They are either disingenuous, willfully ignorant, or so racist that they don't even understand what it is or recognize it. I think it's the latter. And quit with the emphasis on the NAACP's name! There is a historical reason why it is called that. Quit pretending not to understand just to stir up race resentment and misunderstanding! You are ruining America – and honestly – in order to pay a few bucks less in taxes. Sickening.

    July 16, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Doc

    I guess the Tea Party is not quite as smart as I thought they were.
    Williams writes a "satirical" letter which validates and emphasises the NAACPs point?
    This is why some people are for gun control because some people don't know how to keep from shooting themselves in the foot!
    All you gotta do is say "We disagree with any racist views that may or may not be held by persons that attend our rallies" and then demand that the NAACP do the same with the new Black Panthers.

    July 16, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Radlib

    Shame on CNN for lending credence to a baseless claim of racism. This is what divides us. The Tea Party movement is only about limited gov't and fiscal resposibility. The reason there arent more people of color at these tea party events is because of organizations like the NAACP demonizing them with assistance from the likes of CNN who treat groundless accusations as if they are warranted. Shame on you all. It may take a while, but the truth will prevail.

    July 16, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. heidi

    NAACP calling the tea party racist reminds me of the pan calling the kettle black.

    July 16, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Andrew in CALIFORNIA

    The NAACP is an outdated racist organization in and of itself (just look at its name! who uses "colored" anymore but 90 year old people?) so it calling someone else racist is just absurd. This is just a coordinated attack with the Democratic Party before elections to try to discredit a legitimate movement meant to highlight Obama and the Democrat's reckless spending and ineffective governance.

    July 16, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Joshua Jones

    How can we call the Tea Party Racists when black, hispanic, indians and etc. are allowed to be a part of it? All they want to do is keep the nation where it needs and should be. I don't judge a person by their color but rather by their actions and decisions they make. Show me some evidence that the Tea Party is racist? I have not seen any. The NAACP is worried about having to compete with other people to get jobs. I thought that was considered a part of life and business today? of course a company is going to hire someone if they have better skills and experience than the other person. They most certainly don't base it on the color of a person's skin either. I interviewed for a job and they hired a black man instead, rightfully so because he had more skills and experience than I did, not because of the color of his skin. So not getting hired for a job does not have anything to do with the color of your skin ( In almost every job interview ).

    July 16, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. michael tampa

    Am i missing something here? The NAACP did not say the tea party was racist, what they said was there are some small elements in the party that act racist and they are simply asking the T party to repudiate them....not so hard huh.

    July 16, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Tee

    The NAACP needs to be investigated Federally as a hate group.

    July 16, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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