This Kansas City Star piece on racism within the Tea Party is worth reading, if only because it is filled with
incredible quotes. For example:
Take Ron Wight, who stood with dozens of tea party activists at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in April, complaining about the Obama administration, its socialist agenda and being called a racist.
Those like him who complain about President Barack Obama are accused of racism, lamented the semi-retired music teacher from Lee’s Summit.
Then he added: “If I was a black man, I’d get down on my knees and thank God for slavery. Otherwise, I could be dying of AIDS now in Africa.”
Wight doesn’t consider that comment to be racist. [emphasis mine]
Of course Wight doesn't consider that comment to be racist; as I wrote yesterday, many Americans see racism
as the sole province of boogeymen like the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party. Ed Norton in American History X
is a racist, Ron Wight, not so much.
Still, Wight notwithstanding, I'm willing to grant that most Tea Partiers
aren't motivated by racial animus. That said, I think they should step back and take a long, hard look
at their movement. Even if most Tea Partiers aren't racist, what does it say about their movement that it attracts
people unapologetic about their disdain for minorities? Lashing out at
critics is satisfying, but the organized Tea Party movement might want to spend a little more time thinking about
the implications of its rhetoric.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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