Color of Change: Tea Party Leaders Still Silent

...The Tea Party leaders you'd actually recognize, people like Sarah Palin and Dick Armey, have stayed silent or denied that any racism exists in their ranks.4 And there's been no attempt to tackle the systemic problem of racism within the Party. It's time for leadership to speak up.
If the Tea Party is serious about not being a home for racism there are two things all its leaders and groups must do now:
  1. Publicly make clear that Mark Williams and the bigotry he stands for aren't welcome in the Tea Party movement
  2. Adopt a clear policy stating that racist and bigoted rhetoric and imagery will not be tolerated — by leaders, groups, or candidates — and will result in expulsion from Tea Party organizations
You can help us force the hand of Tea Party leaders by calling on them to come out of the shadows and speak up. They need to make a choice — get serious about confronting the racism in their movement, or show, with their inaction, that they welcome and rely on bigotry as a part of their movement.
Either way, we need you to make it happen. Please take a moment to add your voice now, and then ask your friends and family do the same:
While it's important to acknowledge that one group, the Tea Party Federation, met part of our demands on Sunday, the reality is that they did it in the most cynical way possible. When they dropped Williams, they refused to acknowledge the fact that Williams went unchallenged as a key leader after he called the President an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug"5 — or after one of many other racist rants.6 They tried to downplay Williams' role in the movement and maintained that there was no pattern of racism or bigotry in their movement.
How it started
On Tuesday of last week, the NAACP passed a resolution calling on the Tea Party to denounce the racist elements within its ranks, a bold and important move.7 On Thursday, Mark Williams of the Tea Party Express (one of the movement's most prominent leaders) responded by publishing a blog post full of nasty racist stereotypes about Black people.8 On Friday, thousands of ColorOfChange members took action to back up the NAACP and demand that Tea Party leaders expel Williams, and what he represents, from their movement.9
On Sunday, the National Tea Party Federation (one of several national Tea Party groups) banished Williams and the Tea Party Express, but they refused to take responsibility for confronting this element of their movement, and have continued to attack the NAACP for raising the issue in the first place.10 Meanwhile, the Tea Party Express is defending Williams, refusing to remove him from their leadership, and attacking the Tea Party Federation as an illegitimate group that doesn't really represent the Tea Party.11
For the Tea Party movement to show that it's serious about confronting the racism within its ranks, prominent Tea Party leaders need to denounce Williams and the bigotry he represents, and they need to make themselves publicly accountable for purging racism from their movement.
It's time to give the Tea Party a choice — speak up and act, or make clear that the Tea Party is a home for racists and racism. You can help make that happen. Please add your voice and ask your friends and family to do the same:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Milton and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   July 20th, 2010
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. “Tea Party Leader Mocks NAACP ‘Coloreds’ In Online Screed,” Media Matters, 07-15-2010
2. “Tea Party Leaders: We’re Not Racist! The NAACP Is! (AUDIO),” TPMDC, 07-14-2010
3. “Tea Party leader says he’s done talking about race controversy,” CNN, 7-18-2010
4. “The Charge of Racism: It’s Time to Bury the Divisive Politics of the Past,” Sarah Palin, 7-13-2010
5.“‘Tea Party’ Leader Melts Down On CNN: Obama Is An ‘Indonesian Muslim Turned Welfare Thug,’” Huffington Post, 9-15-2009
6. “Tea Party Express’ Mark Williams: King Of ‘Accidental’ Racism”, TPM Muckraker, 7-19-2010
7. “NAACP Delegates Unanimously Pass Tea Party Resolution,” NAACP, 07-13-2010
8. See Reference 1
9. ColorOfChange.org email on Mark Williams, 7-16-2010
10. “Tea Party Objects to NAACP’s ‘Selective Racism’,” CBS News, 7-18-2010
11. “Tea party groups fire on each other,” Politico, 7-19-2010

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