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. Seattle

    I'm a white man and I would like to say that I would sooner support the NAACP long before I would ever drink any of the vile koolaide offered up by the tea party. The NAACP has done great things in bringing around equality for all. The tea party has done sh*t and will most likely burn itself out due to their lack of a true directive. Sorry Mark Williams, but you're a D-ouche

    July 16, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Jarhead

    Racist elements within the tea party?? According to the NAACP, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, etc., anyone who opposes Obama's plans/policies is a racist. But–how much condemnation do we hear coming from the NAACP for the New Black Panther Party and its very vocal call for "killing a few crackers", and "race war">? The NAACP–by virtue of its very name, is a racist organization.

    July 16, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Lee

    We should all be clear that when they put "National Association for the Advancement of" in brackets, that's because the original only says "Colored People". It's not just offensive, it's childish and speaks to the lack of understanding this man has of history and the roots of the NAACP.

    July 16, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. MartinSA

    Wow. I disagree with the NAACP's condemnation of the tea party, but I find that "mock" letter offensive and racist. geez, whoever thought that was a good idea needs to be fired.

    July 16, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Elizabeth

    But let them tell it they are not racist.

    July 16, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    You DO NOT see the NAACP out there in crowds with SIGNS of HATRED!!!! Even when we marched back in the 60's for FREEDOM!!!!!! Now who is racist???

    Not all Tea Partiers are RACIST but all Tea Partiers who are NOT – are not repudiated those who are!!!! Just like the RepubliCAN'Ts – they are living BEHIND the Tea Party and keeping their mouths shut too!!!

    July 16, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Jeff

    Well, if you didn't think the Tea Party folks were racist before.....

    July 16, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Truthhurts

    Any organization that gives a platform to shakedown artists and racists like Sharpton and Jackson is racist. NAACP needs to clean its own house and repudiate its racists before it can lecture anyone else.

    July 16, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Kurt

    Sorry Michael, while many people in the Tea Party are my friends and neighbors, there is a racist element in their midst. And yes, there are whack jobs on the left, but we distance ourselves from them, including our equivalents of this nut.

    July 16, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    Hopefully, the Tea Party movement will be but a short footnote in American politics: A grassroots protest movement taken over by conservative extremists and libertarians.

    July 16, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. harold

    Bull crap; of course not all of those in the tea party are not racist but if we didn't have a black president there wouldn't be a tea party movement; the motto, take back our country, from whom? I hear the cry to go back to the good old days ( when blacks knew there place) well that shit just ain't happening so tea party get over it!!! Don't see them trying to throw all those long time Republicans leaders out of congress. Didn't they have something to do with this mess?? oh my bad, they are WHITE

    July 16, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. Mark

    Talk about ruining a nation?! This Teaparty folks are insane. Conservatives won't be happy for too long with these folks. Americans better think and think quick before our country get taken over by these overbearing idiots!!!

    July 16, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. The Real Nate

    The Tea Party DOES have racist elements within it and a failure to condemn it gives the illusion of support.

    July 16, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. ex-repulican since McCain picked Palin

    OMG! That mock letter was horrible. How can anyone stand by with that kind of behavior. People need to stop supporting these horrible hate filled individuals and say enough is enough. Pictures of our President as a Nazi and the likes of that are disgrace, we have freedom of speech and a wonderful country and obviously a bunch of spoiled rotten people with such childish behavior and hate that they are willing to believe lies and exaggerations and do nothing to help. God please help us.

    July 16, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. samantha

    obama's policies stink, he is a bad president, and because the tea party points this out, right away they are racist. There is no proof of this and the dems just mad because they are incompatent and loosing in Novemeber.So they pull out the race card, pathetic.

    July 16, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Pedro

    Nice work Williams, you just proved the NAACP to be accurate in their assessment of the Tea Party.

    July 16, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Brian

    I abandoned the TEA Party Movement once the Republican tried to hi-jack it and Sarah Palin got involved. But the NAACP? They're the most racist organization on planet earth. Their entire existence is based on racism. I take the NAACP less seriously then I do Sarah Palin. LOL

    July 16, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. plasticheadblog

    I think the tee-party dude's letter does end up being offensive. Some issues don't do well with satire. I'm afraid certain aspects of discussions on race ise one of them.

    July 16, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. LIP

    He who is without sin, please cast the first stone.
    The truth of the matter, is that both groups are full of racists and both need to police their ranks and try to do better at being good neighbors.

    July 16, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. Sharron

    If that so called satire from Williams isn't RACIST than I don't know what is......I am white and I agree with the NAACP that the Tea Party is full of White Bigots, Klu Klux Clan, Radical Racists, they are just trying to cover it up with the false pretence of saying they are for Smaller Government, lower taxes, etc etc, that is what they are hiding behind saying they defend the Constitution........BULL HOCKY.......I don't believe them, they will say anything to try to gain power so they can continue to keep the Black people and any other minorities down so they can pursue the White Race as the PURE RACE.......don't buy into their lies.......

    July 16, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Jim D

    Wow, what was that guy thinking? I thought the idea was for the Tea party to prove that they were legitimate and not a thinly vieled hate group. This guy pretty much erased any hope that. For all the independents like me who agreed with many parts of the tea party agenda (no bailouts, smaller government, pay your bills, etc.) This kind of behaviour is what keeps us away from supporting your cause.

    July 16, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Connie Williams

    Tea Party looks racist to me. Nothing could be more obvious.

    July 16, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. mrgmorga56

    The Tea Party movement is nothing more that right wing whiners stomping their feet demanding someone change their diapers. What is more offensive is the fact that the tea bagger movement is made up of selfish, fat, self indulgent, ego centric white people that can't get enough attention. Perhaps using your intellect rather than your emotions to think with would better serve this nation. Otherwise, you people are a waste of space. Pitiful…..

    July 16, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. conoclast

    I believe at some point it will suddenly become painfully obvious just what it is that is polarizing us so; it's right there but for some reason we don't see it and haven't put an apt label on it. It might yet turn out to be sublimated racism but I don't think so. I get the idea it's that there is currently a bloc of voters (yes, the tea-partiers) who simply are not equipped nor prepared for change of any kind; they view the future with abject fear, hence their ill-defined (but non-negotiable) need to revert to a simpler time. The fact that this kind of backward thinking is dangerously irrelevant hopefully will finally dawn on the American electorate in time to reject it in November.

    July 16, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. billy

    Wow, after reading that mock letter, the Tea Party is not only racist but really, really evil. How could anyone support them?

    July 16, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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