Friday, April 2, 2010

Are Tea Partiers Racist?

Posted by Jack Hunter on Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 7:39 AM

Imagine that after many months of watching the evening news, you declared that black people were malicious or sinister based purely on the criminal coverage that constantly flashed across your TV screen. Predictably, you would be called “racist,” and accused of drawing erroneous conclusions based on your own deep-seeded prejudice.

Writes Washington Post columnist Colbert King:

“Today’s tea party adherents are George Wallace legacies… The angry ’50s and ’60s crowds threatened and intimidated; some among them even murdered. That notwithstanding, Americans of goodwill gathered in the White House to witness the signing of landmark civil-rights laws. Schoolhouse doors were blocked, and little children were demeaned. Yet the bigots didn’t get the last word. Justice rolled down like a mighty river, sweeping them aside. They insulted, abused, lied and vandalized. Still, President Obama fulfilled his promise to sign historic health care reform into law by the end of his first term. Those angry faces won’t go away.”

It seems King has drawn his own erroneous conclusions based on his own deep-seeded prejudice about white conservatives — and that’s an understatement.

Anytime grassroots conservatives become politically active, liberals always blame it on “racism.” Over the years, conservative complaints about forced busing, affirmative action and illegal immigration have all elicited such charges, and now, resistance to national healthcare. At least with busing, affirmative action and immigration, liberals could at least feasibly concoct some nonsense about race being a primary motivator for conservative outrage. But healthcare? Really?

Aha, but of course! The president is black! This is the sad, stale and empty premise on which King and other Leftists have rested their case against the Tea Parties. Liberals like King view grassroots conservatives much like some old, white man who concludes that black people “just act like that,” after watching a parade of dark-skinned criminals on the nightly news. In terms of condescension and stereotyping, King’s view is actually far closer to the prejudice prevalent in the ’50s and ’60s than any behavior the Tea Partiers have exhibited. By and large, grassroots conservatives really don’t care that the president is black, even if insulated, elitist liberals can’t fathom middle class whites caring about anything else.

Criticizing liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich, who pretty much has the same opinion of the Tea Partiers as King, Real Clear Politics’ David Paul Kuhn writes:

“Gratuitous charges of racism are no sideshow. They capture an enduring mistake of modern liberalism… Whites are not upset about healthcare or even policy. Their issue is the browning of America, Rich argued… Disregard centuries of furious debate over the role of government. Disregard the Great Recession, historic economic anxiety, this hyper-partisan era, or the comparable vitriol Bill Clinton knew. Disregard white working class skepticism of liberalism since the Great Society, when liberal policy became less concerned with them. Disregard the average man today who sees rich guys and poor guys getting the big breaks from big government. No, Rich explains, it’s all about whites who want to ‘take our country back’ from a black president.”

Do some Tea Partiers hold up crazy or inflammatory signs? Sure. Are protesters sometimes visibly angry? Of course. Have some emotion-driven conservatives uttered racist language? Perhaps, but for argument’s sake, let’s just say some definitely have. When real people form genuine grassroots movements sometimes they can, and do, get a little out of hand. Almost by definition, this is part of what makes such “grassroots” movements “real” in the sense that the activists involved are not being handled or choreographed from above. Such genuine displays of populism are something the Left has historically encouraged-warts and all-so long as it was minorities or white liberals who were the activists and not conservatives.

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