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. Dale

    The NAACP has lost all credibilility as a meaningful organization.

    They stepped over a line and started a fight against an opponent that they cannot beat. I'm not racist,,,,, I disagree with everything this president and administration is doing,,,,, But according to NAACP I would then be considered a racist.

    This politically correct crap has got to be REFORMED

    July 16, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Kenneth of Minneapolis

    Great responsibility comes with free speech!

    July 16, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. James

    NAACP, you represent everything that is wrong with this country today. Nobody cares what you say so keep it to yourself.

    July 16, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Jeff in Virginia

    Offensive as this is, try to stay calm people.

    And please don't play into this stupidity by retaliating.

    July 16, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. nick

    If you are going to hold an interview with oppossing parties, you need to step up and take control of the interview when both interveiwed parties are talking at the same time. The interviewer and both parties were talking at the same time for extended periods of time and it made it uninteligable and confusing. Opposing views are good, but letting the interview get that out of control made it impossible to hear what anyone was saying Might as well been Charlie Brown's Teacher talking for the entire interview.

    July 16, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. jabie1493

    woooooooooooewwwwww! i mean i dont agree with everything the NAACP has done but that is offensive.

    July 16, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. George

    Wow. In no way was that even close to being funny. Whether or not the blog was an honest attempt at "satire" Mark Williams obviously has some deep seeded resentment against the plight of colored people. This is just another example of the ignorant having a means to spout their nonsense.

    July 16, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Allan

    The only racist in this argument is the NAACP. Everything that they say, do or discuss is racist. They only exist to claim racism at all levels. The Tea Party is not afraid to state the truth about what exists in the USA today. We need to vote out the Dumacrats in November before it is too late for the nation. I am not sure if all of the "changes" that Obama and the Dumacrats have enacted can be stopped. But changing Congress and the White House is a step in the right direction.

    July 16, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Steve

    Sorry, I should amend...he isnt the leader of the tea-party express, he is the spokesman...you know, the person who is meant to put the face on the Tea Party?

    I guess black-face is as good as any.

    July 16, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Eric 31m

    The NAACP should knock it off. They're embarrasing themselves and revealing their racism for everyone to see.

    July 16, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Luke Brown

    I am a white southern male and I agree with much of what the Tea Party advocates, but this letter only proves how much bigotry is at the heart of the movement.

    Every red-blooded American should be disgusted by this.

    This fall I am going to get a list of every local candidate endorsed by the Tea Party ... so I can be sure to vote against them.

    July 16, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Jeff in Houston

    Squeeze a tea bag and you will get a satisfying blend of narrow-mindedness, greed, racism, homophobia, and the Christian version of the Taliban, all with a hint of corporate backing. Be sure to fill your families minds with this mind-altering substance today! No common sense, intelligence, or self-respect needed! Just surrender your mind to the nearest Republican candiate or elected official and get a free sample.

    In America, nothing satisfies ignorance like a good old cup of tea.

    July 16, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Laverne

    It is disturbing how some in this country equate the bailouts and all the bad economic things that are happening in this country to somewhere being the fault of African Americans. It is right down offensive that tea partiers and conservatives continue to think they are taking care of blacks and/or minorities. The truth of the matter is there are more white people on welfare and assistance than any other group because they are more whites than any other group. To even say something like this lets you know where their mindset is, how they feel and what they really think. Some things never change, racism is still very alive in this country and continue to show its ugly head whenever the status quo is challenged.

    July 16, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. K in Miami

    The ironic part about this whole saga is, Sarah Palin has not only denied that racist elements are a part of the Tea Party, but she's aligned herself along with people like Mark Williams.....

    This should be enough to make the determination that Sarah Palin is disconnected from REALITY.....

    But we already knew that........

    July 16, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. nru

    The wackos on both sides are warring now – let them kill each other off and the center can have their country back

    July 16, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Tasha

    As we've said over and over again the Tea Party is not one single organization and does not have a leader regardless of what those who claim to be it say. Less spending, less gevernment, more freedom, and adhearance to the constitution are not racist ideals – at least not to this American of African heritage.

    July 16, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. CLOT

    It is funny that the NAACP is calling another organization racist. What a joke. Not to mention that the Tea Party only want physical responsibility from government. Since the NAACP can attack the Tea Party message they pull the race card. Classic left wing politics.

    July 16, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. HUGirl

    Lloyd Marcus is extremely ignorant. It's kind of funny how when confronted about a lie, people often start to stutter. I shake my head.

    July 16, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. maeve

    Geesh. The NAACP called for Tea Party leaders to denounce those racist elements within their ranks. The NAACP did not denounce the entire Tea Party, and it did not claim the entire Tea Party movement is racist, as Steele and others would like to have us believe.

    In trying to defend the Tea Party, however, Williams' "parody" WAS racist in that it harkened to negative stereotypes by inferring "Colored People" aren't interesting in working, competeing for jobs, thinking for themselves, etc. Clearly, Williams has gone way, way over the line.

    July 16, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. Sternberg

    When the NAACP eliminates their own racism, I will take them seriously on this subject.
    And, no, they don't have an excuse for their racism.

    July 16, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. perryrants

    to the leader of the nationalized colored people organization. satire is meant to be offensive!!

    to the tea party "spokesman", stop writing letters!

    to everyone else, ignore these morons!!

    July 16, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. April in MN


    I had to double check and make sure I wasn't reading an article on Fixed News. What are you doing? That WAS NOT the blog posting I read on Mark Williams blog last night. Adding the words "national association for the advancement of" in parentheses in front of every "colored" was a mistake. Mr. Williams did not add it to his version, and adding it to yours changes the post from a terribly derogatory racist rant to something that could be construed as a defense to an attack from a political foe. You changed the letter to make Mr. Williams look better, to aid in his defense. Shame on you.

    You also left out some of the worst parts...like when he referred to the government as a "massa" that "us colored folk" need. Despicable.

    Readers: Please go to the original blog and read it for yourselves.

    And remember- this is not just some moron holding a sign. This is their national spokesman.

    If the Tea Party does not immediately cut ties with this man they will prove that they really ARE just a bunch of racists, intent on "taking their country back" from the "colored" in their WHITE house.

    July 16, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. veteran

    Well if any group should be expert on "offensive" The NAACP qualifies big time ! Offensive should be their middle name primary description!!!

    July 16, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Dave

    I have family members who have been bigots their entire life. They are all enthusiastic supporters of the Tea Parties. While these relatives are good mothers, fathers, accountants, teachers, and truck drivers, there is no question these folks have always degraded and de-humanized minorities for as long as I've known them. Racial epitahs for Christmas anyone? They have found a welcome home with the Tea Parties.

    July 16, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Keith in NJ

    The Tea party is shooting itself in the foot and will eventually be exposed for what they really are. They are a racist group who want small government unless it is something they need.

    July 16, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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