Is the Tea Party Movement Racist?

| May 6, 2010

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that the Tea Party movement is “struggling to overcome accusations of racism,” some of which has been perpetuated on The Washington Post’s own opinion pages. Yesterday’s New York Times, home to the most obsessively anti-Tea Party editorial page in America, was stunned to discover that “at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials.”

Previously, The Times reported that Tea Partiers are, on average, people with a high levels of education and higher than average incomes. So it would seem that they aren’t, as some editorialists and pundits contend, simply a gang of subliterate militia men or, as actress Janeane Garofalo recently told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, a subsection of the white power movement.

Wandering the recent Tax Day tea party in Washington DC with Reason.tv’s Meredith Bragg, we saw some stupid signs—though none that could be considered offensive or racist. We talked to some people that claimed President Obama was both a Czarist and Bolshevik. We spoke to a former star of Saturday Night Live who has previously claimed that president might, in fact, be the anti-Christ. Or a communist. Or both. There were those who fretted that the United States were morphing into a Stalinist state. But mostly we spoke with protesters concerned that the Obama administration was spending recklessly; those interested in auditing the Federal Reserve; and various well-informed citizens seething about the General Motors bailout.

So did we discover a Tea Party movement motivated by race, by the fact that we now have a black president? Did it seem as if their stated concerns about a government take over of health care and a ballooning national debt were simply a smokescreen, designed to concealing a racist agenda?

Not exactly. Here is what we found:

Produced by Michael C. Moynihan and Meredith Bragg. Edited by Meredith Bragg. Approximately 2 mins.

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