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. Sniffit

    Go go gadget self-destruct mode...

    July 16, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Tony FL

    Not only is it offensive and not funny, but it is ignorant to boot! I am glad though it highlights how teabaggers and "conservatives" twist the thruth and reject the reality. I think everyone should read that blog post and expose the hypocricy of the right wing cooks.

    July 16, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Brian - Seattle

    Oh wow...way to make yourself look even worse by posting this blog. Especially the part about working hard "like everyone else" shows how you clearly don't get it.

    The big issue here is that people use the term 'racisim' to mean multiple things. I don't think most people I see now are "racist" literally, but comments like the above really show they don't understand racial issues or are sensitive to their -legitimate- concerns.

    July 16, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Anonymous

    What's next? David Duke, the Tea "Party" candidate. Silliness.

    July 16, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. AR

    feeble attempt at satire? This letter pretty much sums up everything the NAACP is about! It's about time someone had the guts to go out and say it!

    July 16, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Becks

    So the Tea Party defends against charges of racism by being racist. QED.

    July 16, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Kirk1

    Whew!!!! What in the world? Need I say more!!!

    July 16, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Psychologist

    The author made a huge statement about himself, and laid his racist cards on the table.

    July 16, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. KEVIN

    All I can say after reading this that America is in trouble. I don't care who you are or the color of your skin, this letter is not funny in any shape, form, or fashion. People we live and die in this country together and if you think race relations are going to get any better you are greatly kidding yourself. People need to be Adults and not children and call each other names. If this is the new America in the 21st century I don't want it. We ilve in this country together Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asian, and any other race, creed, or color. We are all American and need to start acting like it. We are at war abroad and now, I see we are at war at home. A house divided can not and will not stand. It is very simple "Either we move forward together or Fail together, it is your choice, chose wisely America the World is watching us.

    July 16, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Why do politicians suck?

    Most Tea partiers and groups are just people with far right political views and not racist. BUT there is definitely a percentage that are and Williams is the poster child for that percentage! He was before this NAACP thing and he continues to be.

    July 16, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. gate

    You know the old adage about giving someone enough rope and they will hang themselves. Seems to apply to the Tea Party except I'm afraid they might start hanging black people if we give them anymore rope.

    July 16, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Gregg

    Thousands of cameras and mikes and NOT ONE picked up ANYTHING racist. at the Tea Party DC rally. And yet he NAACP sprews that racist remarks and signs where there. Sorry but that is beyond stupid. Even worse it risks destroying the great strides made since the 1960s.

    What this is really about is money and power. If the NAACP admitted the truth that there is no racism in the Tea Party they would lose money and power. There would be no reason for them. Can't have that now can they?

    After all the lable Racist puts a roof over their head, food on the table and billions in cash in the bank

    July 16, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. katiec

    By your quoting and headlining this radicals rantings makes you just as irresponsible and further proof, CNN, of your support for the radical right.
    For anyone to say the tea partiers are fair and balanced is absolutely ridiculous. They cannot seem to realize they are being led, used, manipulated by the radical right, and the media.

    July 16, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Color of Crime

    Perhaps the Tea Party should change its name to the NAAWP in order to get away with the SAME RACISM as the NAACP?

    July 16, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. sine

    Tea party is a disgrace. This 'mock' letter just further show's their true feelings about 'coloreds'

    July 16, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Diane Glasser

    The Tea Party just proved beyond a doubt that they are flaming bigots and racists. I think the NAACP has remained civil and calm . The true nature of the Tea Party has come to light and anyone associated with it now will be labeled a racist from my point of view and this includes many of my friends. After the remarks from Mark Williams were published most of the people I know that have been members of the Tea Party have now removed themselves from the membership (these are those in PA).
    In the fall elections any candidate associated with the Tea Party is going to be labeled a racist. I will be out there making sure the public knows this.

    July 16, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Pedro

    Everyone should click through to the actual letter. Parts of it are even more blatantly racist than what CNN posted here. So racist in fact that other tea baggers were criticizing him for being so openly racist. Apparently, the smarter ones realize they have to keep their racism to themselves.

    July 16, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Living in America

    Wow that billboard could have come up at a better time with President Obama and HItler. They have really gotten outta control. I have never in my 52 years seen people come at a President the way that they have come at Obama and we have gone through Nixon and Reagan. Nobody is not telling them that they can't complain that is their right but the things I have seen has been crazy. I am glad to see the protestors with their various mispelled signs to show what we have here. If that was black folks acting like that at those rallies there would have been a cattle roundup and we know it. They need to stop using the word "SOCIALIST" because if that was the case all of them would be in jail never to be seen again and they know it. How are they talking about LIMITED government when they are backing folks to work within the government. If they want limited government they don't need to support any anyone whether they were Democratic or Republican. Yall notice they don't campaign or protest between the 1st and the 5th of each month because they have to go back home and get their government Social Security/employment checks.

    July 16, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    Once again, the question needs to be asked: Where were you when the previous totally inept administration created just about all of the problems inherited by the Obama adminsitration?

    The fact that this racist organization didn't exist prior to 2009 is clear evidence of it's inherent bigotry. PERIOD!

    July 16, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. confused

    Why did CNN chose not to print the letter as it had been actually written? The actual letter just says Colored People. Extremely offensive, not funny, and if you are not racist, you should not want to be associated with anyone that still uses that type of language. Lloyd Marcus, good luck, when they are finished using you I guess you'll learn how they really feel about you especially when the money runs out. It was not satire, this was meant to be racists and blatantly offensive and all Tea Partiers should be ashamed that Mark Williams speaks for them.

    If some of the Tea Partiers are not racists, why do they allow racist groups to attend their rallies with the racist signs and why do they allow these idiots to speak for them? If you are not racists, why are you getting so upset about someone criticizing the racist behavior exhibited at your rallies? Explain.

    July 16, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. Mike in Texas

    Isn't the NAACP just itching to get a video clip of some racist fringe person to get rebuked by some Tea Party participants?
    Not just any video clip though, some light skinned mixed raced citizens rebuking a dark skinned mixed race citizen holding a sign that says the NAACP supports the killing of cracker babies. But of course the video would be edited to not show the whole sign, just the NAACP and babies part.

    July 16, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. witch56

    This is so wrong! Mark Williams is not even close to being funny in fact this is something an idiot would write.

    July 16, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. MarineWill

    Ok Mr. Steele. Here's your chance to prove you do care about how your race is protrayed by conservatives, and are not just a black face for the republican party. This is truly offensive and over the top. If you say nothing you lose all credibility...not that you had a lot to begin with. But then again, you do sit quiet while "SOME" again "SOME", people attend tea party rallies showing their racist views toward your race.

    July 16, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Zaaquir

    That "Mock Letter" from the spokesman of the Tea Party only ensured that the Tea Party and NAACP are in the same category. Both are plague with racist behaviors in their party. Each of them need to do what they can to eliminate the racist behavior of some of their members. Instead of making excuses, using "mock Letters" that are racist because it buys into the stereotype of black people, and ignoring the possibility of racism in their parties; they both need to promote more responsible and non racist behavior. This country is just not for one race, but for all. Every race has bad apples. We see that through the behavior of both of these parties.

    As for as Micheal Steele is concern.......he needs to shut up because it wasn't too long ago that he played the race card.

    July 16, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    How out of touch are these idiots? These people want to control our country? God help us if they do!

    July 16, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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