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The Tea Party Movement and the "Race Card"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, May 12, 2010.

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  1. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    So, anyway, JediSmuggler was complaining about me using the "race card" in reference to the Tea Party, and I wrote:
    And JediSmuggler wrote:

    Just to clarify, because I didn't know what "playing the race card" meant, Wikipedia defines it in part as:

    "deliberately and falsely accus[ing] another person of being a racist in order to gain some sort of advantage."

    That seems to be the best definition in this context.

    Wikipedia defines "race baiting" in part as:

    "implying that there is an underlying race-based motive in the actions of others towards the group baited, where none in fact exists."

    I'm not sure if that fits this context, so I think what JediSmuggler means is "implying that there is an underlying race-based motive in the actions of other where none in fact exists."

    That would make it equivalent to "playing the race card." So, I think JediSmuggler is complaining about one thing, which would be

    Deliberately and falsely accusing unnamed people within the Tea Party movement of having an underlying race-based motive in their involvement with the movement, if that makes sense. Maybe there is a better way to put it.

    I think it's an open and shut case. To the extent that those who believe Obama isn't a U.S. citizen for example and push that issue are fellow-travelers with the Tea Party movement, there is an underlying race-based motive in the movement.
  2. Darth_Omega

    Darth_Omega Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 19, 2002
    will add thoughtful reply
  3. farraday

    farraday Jedi Knight star 7

    Jan 27, 2000
    Will add snide re... nah I'll just do it now, it's not like I'm going to read your post anyways.

    I believe the key point here is Tea party groups acting as a safe haven for racists.


    Tea Party All
    Rich 16% 17%
    Middle class 6 19
    Poor 56 27
    Treats all same 9 27


    To parse that, 56% of tea partiers think President Obama favors "the poor".

    Unsurprisingly they don't think President Obama shares the values of people like them, or real american values, and is pushing the US toward socialism with his ultra liberal ways. It's cool though because they think government aid to the poor encourages people to be poor.

    Oh and they're over twice as likely (25% in total) to say the President is favouring blacks over whites. Besides, over half say too much is made of the problems facing black people.

    Oh, but 2/3rds still think Social Security and medicare are worth it.

    Helping old white people good, helping poor black people bad.

    Got it.
  4. darthdrago

    darthdrago Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 31, 2003
    For the record, I maintain that the Tea Party movement does act as a haven for those with racist/prejudiced views, but I don't think the Tea Party folks have that as their intended platform. I actually think the whole problem stems from the fact that the Tea Partiers have a muddled platform/philosophy/motivation: their only real "platform" seems to be opposition to "out of control" government spending. And even then, there's no solid consensus on what "out of control" actually means.

    Since the Tea Party

    A) doesn't have a genuine consensus on what govt. spending they're resisting, and

    B) doesn't have an officially recognized spokesperson/leader*,

    I find that it's only natural that the racially prejudiced will end up trolling around in the group, under the guise that they're concerned about spending. There's no proper organization on a national level, so there's no real plan to keep out those who are even further on the fringe. The movement started out in the wake of the financial meltdown, but why is it that we keep hearing more and more about birthers and racial/homophobic taunts and physical threats being phoned into members of Congress? (Have they latched onto the Arizona furor yet???)

    * Palin strikes me as a quasi-leader, since she wants the Tea Party as a base, but she won't want to stray much further from the mainstream GOP, if she's still hoping for 2012. Basically hedging her bets, IMO.
  5. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    darthdrago and farraday nailed it, I think.

    The Tea Party has no focused mission or message, so it often presents as a kind of rabid Obama hatred uninfluenced by rational thought or policy goals.

    The "reign in government spending" message is indeed code for reign in social programs that help the poor. Do they object to heavy defense spending and a two-front war in the Middle East? Do they object to social security and Medicare?

    Do they even know whether they object to the massive Federal liquidity dumping, foreclosure abatement and tax incentive programs that are even now artificially propping up home prices for a big swath of the embittered white middle class?

    If the movement is incapable of organizing itself toward adopting a concrete policy platform, they will never be able to rid themselves of the fellow travelers who undermine their credibility.
  6. Darth Geist

    Darth Geist Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 23, 1999
    I don't think Palin's going to make a serious run in 2012. Right now, she has all the money, power, and fame she wants, with none of those "actual responsibilities" she couldn't handle.
  7. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    [link=]University of Washington, 2010 Multi-state Survey on Race and Politics[/link]

    Interesting study of racism in the Tea Party movement

    73% of strong Tea Party supporters believe that blacks would be as well off as whites if they tried harder.

    Being a tea party supporter is a stronger predictor of racial resentment than being a democrat, a conservative or independent.

    [blockquote]In short, some of our critics charge that, instead of the racism we observe associated with support for the Tea Party, we're merely observing Tea Partiers' conservatism at work. In other words, support for the Tea Party, they suggest, is simply a proxy for conservatism.

    To address this issue, we turn to regression, a statistical technique that allows analysts to tease out how one variable affects another... Even as we account for conservatism and partisanship, support for the Tea Party remains a valid predictor of racial resentment. We're not saying that ideology isn't important, because it is: as people become more conservative, it increases by 23 percent the chance that they're racially resentful. Also, Democrats are 15 percent less likely than Republicans to be racially resentful. Even so, support for the Tea Party makes one 25 percent more likely to be racially resentful than those who don't support the Tea Party.[/blockquote]
  8. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    I wouldn't call them entirely unfocused, since some of them [link=]have an agenda[/link] and are [link=]dragging along the rest in a shouting mob[/link].
  9. Master_SweetPea

    Master_SweetPea Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 18, 2002
    I've seen pictures of the President being compared to a chimpanzee, I've seen cartoons of him as the Joker from Batman, I've seen him drawn as Hitler. Are those racist acts? Because I was thinking of the last President.

    In my personal opinion, I would say it's the standby argument for the "left"- Just label anyone who doesn't agree, as "racist" and then add the words "right-wing" after it.

    I saw it during the election, I've seen it in gun debates, tax debates, I saw it when they went after John Mackey, I saw it when they attacked Ron Paul, etc.

    I've only been to one Tea Party, it was indoors, no signs, lots of old men wearing suits and ties, old ladies wearing dresses. I felt like I was at a prayer meeting hosted by Boy Scouts. I didn't see any signs of racism.

    and now a word from my friends at Reason

    [link=]Is the Tea Party Racist?[/link]

    [link=]The Myth of the Menacing Militias[/link]

  10. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    More about the perception problem

    [link=]Tea party groups battling perceptions of racism[/link]
    [blockquote]In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most Americans see the movement as motivated by distrust of government, opposition to the policies of Obama and the Democratic Party, and broad concern about the economy. But nearly three in 10 see racial prejudice as underlying the tea party.

    Supporters and opponents alike say the movement draws its strength from opposition to Obama's policies, but they split deeply on the race question, according to the poll: About 61 percent of tea party opponents say racism has a lot to do with the movement, a view held by just 7 percent of tea party supporters. [/blockquote]

    30% of Americans are race-baiting the Tea Party movement.
    7% of Tea Party supporters are race-baiting themselves. I'm a little bit confused about them. Are 7% of supporters upset about racism in their midst or are 7% proudly proclaiming the race-based motivation of the movement. I suspect it's the former.

    One last thing, I really liked this comment from the Taiwan News, of all places, made me think of our friend KnightWriter.
    [blockquote]Some critics see racism fueling this animus. It may be a factor, but it's wrong to dismiss all tea partyers as racists. That's a neo-McCarthy tactic, which stifles what should be a healthy debate about serious issues - such as federal debt - dear to the hearts of the Earl Grey set. (more bolding! but I wanted to make it clear that I completely agree with this point, JediSmuggler).

    The dominant "racial" factor in the tea party movement isn't antiblack bigotry but whites' fear of their own diminishing political power. The oft-heard battle cry "take back the government" could be translated as "don't disenfranchise us as we get older and become a minority in our own country." If demography is destiny, the older whites who wave "Don't Tread on Me" flags at tea party rallies have good reason to be afraid that they are losing political power to the emerging Hispanic generation.

    We have almost reached the tipping point. Look at the huge backlash to Arizona's new immigration law. Call almost any service desk now, and the first option you hear is "Press 1 for English," or "para espanol, oprima numero dos." Ask any Anglo visiting South Texas who has been ignored and refused service because he does not speak Spanish.[/blockquote]
    To me this seems to be hitting dead center on the Tea Party movement.

    "Don't disenfranchise white people as we get older and become a minority in our own country" is as close to an authentic Tea Party mission statement as I've yet heard.
  11. Asterix_of_Gaul

    Asterix_of_Gaul Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 13, 2007
    The Tea Party and Race,

    I think there are some Tea Party groups/people who are probably racist in some form about something (whether it be skin-color, type of religion, etc.), they base some form of discrimination on something. Some of those people, were seen in photographs and videos throughout the media (newspapers, magazines, television shows, etc.).

    I think there are also very many Tea Party groups/people that are not racist at all--they don't discriminate because of color, creed, religion, etc.

    I think that, first off, just because you see something all over the media, doesn't mean it's true. Secondly, if there are many Tea Party groups/people that are not racist--they didn't make as much noise/news as images of racist ones because the news preys on conflict. A peaceful protest put on by people who are the age of many of our parents, a protest that is about cutting spending and lowering taxes, is hardly news-worthy (it's not new).

    As far as I understand, the reason why the Tea Party stands out, is because the news decided to cover them, it is supported by nearly a fifth of the U.S. population, the name of the party is one that perhaps reminds people of rebellion (in a time when government continues to swell), and because many of them don't approve of the current administration. Interestingly, from I've heard on the news, they don't approve of the last administration either and claim to be made up of people belonging to multiple political view-points.

    While I don't expect anyone on the left to agree with almost anything they stand for (and I'm not even entirely sure, what they stand for aside from less spending/less taxes--but I'm pretty sure it's not as bipartisan as they want it to sound), I'm surprised that so many people were so ready to profile this group the second it emerged. The moment, a photograph of a racist tea-party person was put up, people began to shout: ALL TEA PARTY PEOPLE ARE RACIST. This is fear-mongering/political intimidation at it's best (worst?).

    The response has been to call anyone who associates with the movement, racist, because of some photographs featuring some racist people (basically, you're evil if you join them or attempt to defend them or claim that they are not racist). If I likened the same logic to the anti-Bush protesters, I would have been fearing for his life every day! According to many of the images I saw of those protests, I could have painted all of them as snobbish, hateful, violent, angry, cruel, ideologues who would very much have preferred to have killed anyone who disagreed with them--and if magazines, tv shows, newspapers, and internet blogs had used such images to stereotype those protests, people might have been screaming about them too (if you join an anti-bush rally, you're a hateful violent snobbish person/you're evil). Of course people did call out names back then and accuse many of those protesters of being all sorts of horrible things.

    The point is, I don't think it was cool to stereotype an entire protest because of a few back then, and I don't think it's cool now.
  12. Darth Geist

    Darth Geist Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 23, 1999
    They had a Tea Party demonstration outside of the office a few weeks ago. They carried signs that said, "IF YOU VOTED OBAMA, YOU HATE YOURSELF AND JESUS," and yelled harassment at anyone who didn't honk in support.
  13. JediSmuggler

    JediSmuggler Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 5, 1999
    Let's look at the "falsely accusing" part: In the alleged barrage of N-words, at least [link=]two videos[/link] have disputed the version of events set forth by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Since the dust-up last month, [link=]some[/link] [link=]more[/link] [link=]videos[/link] have emerged, none of which support the claims made by Andre Carson and John Lewis. Congressman Cleaver's claim the Capitol Police arrested a protester who spat on him was disputed by the Capitol Police at the time - and he has, by my understanding, [link=]disavowed the claim[/link] he was spat on. There is only one conclusion: They have lied about the incident in question. FreedomWorks has also reported on a [link=]smear campaign[/link] being waged against a Republican lawmaker in Arkansas.

    The evidence is open-and-shut: There is an attempt to falsely label the tea party movement as hospitable to racism, and among those willing to do so is a civil rights icon.

    And that is not the only such case where false claims have occurred: The Duke Lacrosse case, Tawana Brawley, [link=]nooses[/link] that were planted by the purported victims of racial incidents. The false allegations have been numerous.

    Why? Political advantage/gain seems to be the motive. Obama is facing a very tough mid-term: Approval is below 50%, the Dems are down by 6 on the generic congressional ballot, and 56% of Americans want the health care law repealed.

    And it isn't just the tea party - those who back Arizona's law are being accused of backing racial profiling, never mind the law's actual text, which says it is only during the course of a lawful arrest, detention or stop AND said that race/nationality was NOT sufficient to create "reasonable suspicion." So why, when racial profiling is explicitly prohibited in the text of SB 1070, do Obama and Holder still claim Arizona law enforcement will resort to racial profiling to implement it? Again, I can only conclude that they are lying for political gain. (As an aside, on immigration, there are some racists - Pat Buchanan is one of them in my opinion. But the Arizona law was not aimed at Mexicans, it was passed in response to a drug war that has badly spilled over the border. What resulted in the passage of the law were incidents like a rancher being killed and cops being attacked by gunmen. I backed Bush's approach, and it was partially due to the paleo-cons like Buchanan. But when a drug war spills into the US, that has to be brought under control before we do anything else. That means no "comprehensive refor
  14. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    In reality... no, not really. If this was the case it would have been passed back when things were getting particularly nasty, and I sure as hell don't think "Show me your papers" is going to work on the sorts of individuals who are actually involved in the drug wars - you know, people who are heavily armed and shooting.
  15. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    First things first, you have to make a distinction between

    Claim 1: Among tea party supporters and activists, there are those who are racially motivated.



    I don't know anyone personally who has made claim 2 nor have I seen any mainstream media commentary to that effect.

    There are variations of claim 1 of course, from "a few loons" in their midst to a significant percentage for whom race is a factor in their tea party support. I would put my own perceptions about the movement somewhere in the middle of that continuum, something like a sizeable minority is fueled at least in part by racial resentment.
  16. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 21, 2002
    So Jabba, honestly, if all your point is number 1, then the next question then becomes what do you want done about it? Should those who hold up signs with racist imagery immediately be beat down? Banned from attending any rally? Imprisoned?

    People of any movement are free to think however they want, as well as being free to hold their own personal motivations. At best, the examples we've seen could be called psuedo-racism. What I mean by that is that there's no active component. The movement is still open to anyone, and I haven't seen Neo-Nazis marching arm and arm along side of the protests. So, the bottom line is that there's some racists who don't like Obama within an amorphous political group...who cares?

    If that was it, then this discussion would have ended posts and posts ago. But this topic just won't die, and I'd say it's mostly kept alive by those who don't agree with it. All the Tea Party seems to have done is adopt traditionally left protest methods, and I think there's a bit of resentment and confusion on how to categorize it.
  17. Fire_Ice_Death

    Fire_Ice_Death Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Feb 15, 2001
    They should. Mainly because it gives the impression that they endorse these racists. The fact that there are people who see it as a semi-racist grouping of people does not help matters for them.
  18. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Nothing. Racial resentment as a political organizing principle has at least as rich a tradition in the United States as anything else you can think of, and certainly a deeper and more venerable legacy than something like homosexual marriage or abortion. People can organize for the purposes of first amendment expression around any principle they want to organize around as far as I'm concerned.

    And I like your comment about pseudo racism or racism without an active component. Hating Obama because he's black is certainly better than hating Obama because he's black and demanding he go back to Kenya, and that's better of course than hating Obama because he's black and demanding that all black people go back to Kenya. We have to take these little steps forward in lieu of taking no steps at all.

    In any case the demographic clock is ticking on white racial resentment, as the Taiwan News was so good to point out for us.

  19. Fire_Ice_Death

    Fire_Ice_Death Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Feb 15, 2001
    I don't think that the teabaggers are racist so much as they're just stupid and hypocritical with a slight bigoted bent.

    They don't know what they want and their pathetic attempts to seem more mainstream are just laughable and every time I read a story about these bunch of fools reads like something you'd see in a history textbook about Mao's 'cultural revolution'. They're not nearly as respectful of other's opinions as they'd like you to think. So yeah...this is a stupid hypocritical group that has a bigoted or racial bent in some of its members. It's really pathetic.

    Oh and as an example of their stupidity:


    So's what sums up my views on these prig fools.

  20. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    What is it about eighth grade social studies teachers? My son gets shouted down in class by his ultra feminist liberal social studies teacher when he dares to disagree with her on a point of liberal dogma. My son's kind of a reactionary arch conservative, bless his immature little heart, this is how he starts off his adolescent rebellion. How do they know which buttons to push? It's a kind of twisted genius they seem to have. But he's willing to stand up to those middle school liberal elites, to my chagrin. I get irate emails and calls from the school over this.
  21. Fire_Ice_Death

    Fire_Ice_Death Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Feb 15, 2001
    So long as it's only a phase and not ending up like some of the posters here.
  22. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 21, 2002
    But FID, you just have to be careful to not fall into your own trap. If someone has an uniformed opinion, then that's on the individual. But it's certainly not unique to any one single movement or political belief system.

    What I see a lot these days, at least in the forum here, are people basically saying "I wish everyone would just think like me, if someone doesn't, they're stupid." Such a mentality is certainly reflected in your above post. It's like you're rallying against closed mindedness in general, but then completely miss your own entrenchment in this regard.

    What's also obvious in human nature is that people gravitate to their own viewpoint. I'd still say I haven't seen as much hatred and vitriol represented in protest signs as those displayed back around 2004-2005. It's just that the President then had a face of the establishment, so it would look silly to protest his "race." But that doesn't mean such displays were automatically more informed. At any rate, there were still plenty examples of reactionary protesters. Does that mean the entire "hope and change" movement was based on hatred and anarchy? Certainly not. It was a mixture of "bandwagon" protests along with those who deeply cared about change.

    But the bottom line is that I don't think the same people now would start a thread about the dangers of anger within a political movement, because back then, there was more forgiveness related to the focus. The reverse is true now, and it's not any more fair to paint a different movement with a larger brush.
  23. Asterix_of_Gaul

    Asterix_of_Gaul Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 13, 2007
    My beef is precisely with claim 2. I have heard people make it all the time, both on these boards and IRL. I think, perhaps it's assumed when someone claims that the Tea Party is racist, that they are talking about select groups/individuals vs. all Tea Party folks--however, it usually comes across as a criticism of the entire movement. I don't think it's a valid criticism of the entire movement if it's only based on several images and videos of some people who fit the narrative. I think the media has tried to slander the movement from the start, and I was surprised that even U.S. leaders (whom I will not name) have mocked rather than listened to this rather large portion of the U.S. population. I also think, the more people freak out about the Tea Party--the bigger it will become (especially in light of clear attacks against the movement, which ultimately only bring more people to their cause). One example of such an attack was a school teacher who started a website to recruit people who would infiltrate the movement and hold racist signs so as to sabotage its legitimacy even further.

    I'd recommend, perhaps, (if the coffee movement is peaceful)--it's simply better to express disagreement through peaceful means rather than attacks based on fear/self-righteousness. So that's all really. It's not a perfect world, but, I guess it would be nice if people stopped screaming "evil" at every political movement they disagree with (without at least actually learning about it...however, if the media is in on it too, where do you turn?). I think in light of all the fuss that's been made, a lot of people (including Republicans), may just want the tea party to quietly go away, but, that's not going to happen...


  24. farraday

    farraday Jedi Knight star 7

    Jan 27, 2000
    So, 25% of teapartiers think Barack HUSSIEN Obama is favoring blacks over whites. Tea partiers who tend to be southern white conservatives.

    Luckily for us they're also more likely to believe whites and blacks are on equal footing now so obviously they're not racist.

    It's really hard to imagine why vitriol towards a black president from conservative southern whites might be seen as having a racial tone. What do you have to say to that Lee Atwater?

    ******, ******, ******.

    Succinct as always, thanks.

    But hey, I'm sure the 1 in 4 members of the movement who think Obama is helping blacks more then whites have sincere and deep thoughts on the moral implications of universal healthcare.

    Hey, quick question. We're coming up on the two year anniversary of the discovery that Michelle Obama had launched a vitriolic tirade against "whitey" in her church. How's the hunt for that tape going?

    [blockquote]Hey, white man. 100 million more dark aliens are coming to America. Google 'the next hundred million' for proof. In 1960 white people were 90% of the population. Today, truth be told, we're less than half. Another 100 million foreign mongrels are on the way. But you don't care, do ya, whitey?

    All you care about is satisfying your belly, pocketbook and genitals, or watching the **** play ball on television. The future white children will be a nightmare and you don't care. Your own women and children ought to spit on you every day. [/blockquote]

    Oh wait, that's white supremacist Glenn Miller running for Senate in Missouri. Not related to the tea parties, but lets not pretend southern white conservatives are being accused of racism without any background of it.

    But the tea partiers are honorable men, all honorable men.
  25. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    I grew up with my extended family in Alabama all still shell-shocked from the civil rights movement. My grandparents' great grandparents went through the same thing at the end of the civil war, just one brutal reckoning after another, when all they wanted was to be left alone with their refined and genteel apartheid society, so I'm about as intimately familiar with racial resentment oozing out all over the dinner table as it is possible to be, with the added benefit that I got to walk away from it at the end of my time with the extended family. I know it when I see it, and am more able to recognize it than the cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents who never got to spend any time away from it. You see the tell-tale signs all over the Tea Party movement. The hyper-defensiveness. The denial. The attempts to cover it up and pretend it's not happening at all (kind of like having a closet alcoholic in the house -- the sober people suffer and clean up after the alcoholic to keep up appearances for the outside world).
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