The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP, viewed by some as the US’ leading civil rights group has recently issued a statement at its annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. which attempts to discredit another well-known American movement, The Tea Party. Based and never-proven accusations and displaying a blatant lack of evidence, the NAACP accused the Tea Party of racism, bigotry, homophobia and more.
“We take no issue with the Tea Party movement. We believe in freedom of assembly and people raising their voices in a democracy,” the NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a written statement announcing the unanimous vote. “What we take issue with is the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements.
“The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no place for racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in their movement.”
The NAACP statement was related to an event that allegedly occurred in March, turning it into a very late reaction. Prior to a health care vote, Tea Party protesters were accused of using racial epithets targeting black lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The plot thickens with statements of civil rights activist Congressman John Lewis being spit on, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver being called the “N” word and openly gay Congressman Barney Frank being called an ugly anti-gay slur, all this supported by the leaders of the Tea Party movement.
The first issue with these accusations is blaming it all on movement leaders. The Tea Party is a grassroots organizations with different groups spread around the country, each having its more or less formal leaders.
Secondly, witnesses of the March protests including many members of the press and Bradley Blakeman – professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04, state the event was far from the false picture painted by the NAACP statements. There is no proof of such incidents, although there were many who attended the event, with journalists all over the place flashing their cameras and microphones. No speeches supporting the allegations could be presented and no charges or convictions were registered for that particular protest in Washington D.C.
In a piece published on Fox News, Bradley Blakeman states the NAACP allegations have a reason behind them – diverting the public’s attention from a fairly more important incident involving shady group The New Black Panther Party. Members of said organization were accused of voter intimidation during Philadelphia polling place in the 2008 presidential election, but they were never brought to justice, although video footage of the incident was brought forward.
Bartle Bull, a former civil rights lawyer and publisher of the left-wing Village Voice, witnessed the aforementioned event. Mr. Bull described what he saw as “the most blatant form of voter intimidation I’ve ever seen.”Mr. Bull went on to say that he personally he heard one member of the New Black Party yell out in front of a polling place the following, “You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!”
Following their own agenda or not, the NAACP clearly is responsible for a full-flavored gaffe – issuing accusatory statements with no evidence backing it up can be considered rushed and ill-willed at best. As they don’t seem to give proper attention to much more serious events, such as the one involving the New Black Panther Party, they are far from a vision of impartiality.
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