July 16th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
11 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. Here comes the hate from the right

    This guy and all his like in the tea party are absolutely disgusting! GOD FORBID whites be the minority! how's it feel?! i guess the next thing out of their mouths is "we're gonna take our country back" .....what a joke! i guess you're talking about europe then, cuz that's your true country! you stole this from the indians and us mexicans! and you've also enslaved blacks from their own land!!! mark Williams...why don't u pack it up and head back to the Euros where you belong!

    July 16, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. ostar

    please cnn, don't try and edit the mock letter by adding "national advancement of" before the deliberate use by the author's use of the term "colored people". The letter may have been an attempt at satire, but your readers deserve to see the letter and all of it's offensive undertones in full light, not sanitized beforehand by your staff.

    July 16, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Chris - MN

    But they don't have a racist viewpoint or tolerate racism. OK. I think.

    July 16, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Mr. williams post IS racist. It proves the point the NAACP is making. I think the teabaggers need to show some stones here and denounce what this thing (mr. williams) has posted.

    July 16, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Steph

    All the NAACP did was ask the leaders of the tea party to condemn the racist behavior displayed by SOME of it's members (pictures of Pres. Obama doctored to look like a primative tribal person with a bone through his nose, carrying stuffed animal monkeys with the President and First Lady's names on them, calling black congresspeople the "N" word on the steps of capital hill and calling for Officer Salgado to be deported even though he was born in the United States solely because his name is Salgado and he happens to oppose the AZ law) . The fact that the tea party is even unwilling to police it's own members or admit there are some racists in their midst is offensive. This lame attempt at sattire just adds to the tea party's problems!

    July 16, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Carlos

    I love it. Mark Williams' half-baked attempt at satire (go read Jonathan Swift to get an idea of how to write actual satire) makes some Tea Partiers giggle, but it also drives a pretty wedge between themselves and non-white voters. Way to go!

    July 16, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Kenneth

    Speaks for itself ... especially since Michael Steele is defending the actions of the tea party. How's that pie in your face taste Michael?

    July 16, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Julia- Idaho Native American

    I watched CNN (AKA FOX NEWS WANNABE) Candy Crowley try to defend the Racist Tea Party, this made me nauseated to the max, this woman is nothing but a racist reporter. Disgusting!

    July 16, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. June in Chicago

    Good-Bye Tea Party! I will never listen to any thing else you have to say. You have shown me and the rest of the American people your true colors. This just goes to show what your are really all about. How dare you!! If you do not immediately condemn this person and his ignorant rantings, then you obviously stand by them and you are not in any way shape or form, a legitimate entity and should be banned from TV, air waves and written print. We have enough problems in this country that are real, we do not have to listen to this type of bigotry and racism. Again – HOW DARE YOU!!!!!

    July 16, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. rs

    Mark Williams proved the point of the NAACP's calling theTea Party racism conclusively. William "letter" is a huge embarrassment for anyone born after 1950, or with a room-temerature IQ. If the Tea Party does not disavow Williams and clean up their act immediately, they are through. No reputable politician will fly their flag.

    July 16, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Anonymous

    The GOP and the tea party ARE racist. And Michael Steele is nothing but a token. Obama stays above the frey...God Bless him.

    July 16, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Dave

    I love the tea partiers. When they complain that no one takes them seriously and everyone labels them looney they go out and prove everyone right. They are their own worst enemy.

    July 16, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Steven P.

    NAACP? Why...the whole notion of advancing one color's agenda, in this day and age, is amazing.

    Wait a minute....wasn't the NAACP started by a white man? Why yes it was.

    July 16, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. elsie

    But they're not racist. Ooooooh, noooo. How dare anyone even imply it!

    Why don't the Tea Party just put on their new, nicely pressed brown shirts and be done with it? The pretense isn't fooling anyone.

    July 16, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. independent

    If your flag and banner is "Free Market Capitalism" along the lines promoted by white teaparty Americans, you are insisting on a set of rules and status quo that cements the Haves at the top, and delimits the Have-nots to the bottom.

    Government, which the white teapartiers want to limit, permits the Have-nots to break free from the bottom by providing programs that allow them to improve their situation, programs that allow them some subsistance while trying to improve their situation, and rules and regulations that do not favor the Haves, which would otherwise get preferential regulatory and tax treatments.

    White teapartiers may talk about freedoms and standing on one own merit and labor, but that is easier to do when you are on the top of the economic mountain, not at the bottom of the mountain.

    July 16, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. AnIndependentViewer

    Why wasn't the Tea Party around with their philosophy and outburts when the GOP was spending wrecklessly during the George W. Bush era?......besides what the apologist try to assert.....there are some real idiots in that movement.....kind of like right wing talk radio....

    July 16, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. jackieVA

    I think that is probably the most offensive thing I have seen in a while. I am sadenned that ideological principles have turned into a war of racial inproprieties. No one should joke about slavery and the attrocities that have happened in the 1860s. We are better than that. I have lost all respect for the Tea Party.

    July 16, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. jamie suarez

    Seem like to me the Tea Party is being unfairly branded as racist because of the views of a few. Racism is in all walks of life including the NAACP. Obama claimed that he would bring the races together but instead has divided.

    July 16, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Donald

    Hey tea party, so u think black people dont compete for jobs huh? Whos the POTUS HUH lol. I think that is a very competive job. BTW, why doesnt fox news show them racist signs at Tp rallies anymore, lol.

    July 16, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. 2012BARACK

    I think most would agree the tea partyers are a bunch of racists. Where was their outrage when Bush Jr outsourced jobs (UNAmerican) and gave tax cuts to the rich (Elitist) and ran up the deficit w/ 2 wars (Mass Spending). Why didn't they protest then???

    July 16, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Former Republican, but never again!

    My god, the Tea Party isn't being racist with this letter? The American people better wake up before these nut cases take over. These people are dangerous!

    July 16, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Common Sense

    The NAACP never said that the ENTIRE Tea Party movement is racist. They said that there are ELEMENTS within the movement that are, and that they are either not taking those fringe racists to task at best, condoning their actions at worst. They are asking that honest Tea Party members stamp out these bigoted fires before they grow any larger. Steele's comments are painting with a broad brush and are thus irrelevent. As far as Marcus is concerned, if he went to over 200 gatherings and didn't witness a single racist remark, insinuation, or act, he was obviously walking around with blinders on. I have YET to witness a single Tea Party gathering that was completely without the taint of racism in one form or another. Broad denial and refusal to weed out the fringe crazies is only further proving the NAACP's point.

    July 16, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. CNNbeatsFOX

    So this Tea Party Express spokesperson responds to charges of racism by issuing a letter full of racist black jokes? The joke, of course, is that black people just want welfare, don't want to thin for themselves, and want the government to take care of them from cradle to grave. Mark Williams has made the NAACP's case against the Tea Party for them.

    July 16, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. BDub

    What's really pathetic is the fact that the NAACP continues to push the racial divide in this country. The Tea Party has nothing to do with race for 99% of its members. The NAACP is 100% about race. This was not Dr. King's dream... To all you progressives out there, how is it "progress" to continue to act like it's the 1960s?

    July 16, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Nellie Bly, Minneapolis, MN

    I read this letter and it was disgusting and completely racist. If you don't like the President's policies, fine. It's your right. But this hate has to stop and I commend the NAACP for speaking out against the Tea Partiers.

    July 16, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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