The NAACP drew national headlines this week during their annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. when they adopted a resolution that called on the Tea Party to dismiss bigoted elements from their organization.

The resolution was based on what NAACP delegates felt was a “vitriolic” year of Tea Party demonstrations, during which participants used racial slurs and images. Among the incidents, at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol during the House debate over health care legislation, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was spat on, and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was accosted with anti-gay slurs.

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous claims he has no gripe with the Tea Party as an entity, only the racist elements within it.

“We take no issue with the Tea Party movement,” Jealous said in a statement. “We believe in freedom of assembly and people raising their voices in a democracy. What we take issue with is the Tea Party’s continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements.”

Those on the political right have taken offense to the NAACP’s charge of racism, and one particular conservative has spoken out. Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin dismissed the NAACP’s resolution via Twitter.

“I’m busy today, so notify me ASAP when NAACP renders verdict: Are liberty-loving, equality-respecting patriots racist? Bated breath, waiting …,” Palin wrote.

She added on her Facebook page, “The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and divisionary tactic to change the subject at hand.”

Republican National Convention Chairman Michael Steele also decried the resolution, saying , “Recent statements claiming the Tea Party movement is racist are not only destructive, they are not true. Tea Party activists are your mom or dad, your local grocer, banker, hairdresser or doctor. They are a diverse group of passionate Americans who want to ensure that our nation returns to founding principles that honor the Constitution, limit government’s role in our lives, and support policies that empower free markets and free enterprise. Enough with the name-calling.”

The St. Louis Tea Party also joined in the chorus, drafting a formal resolution, which was forwarded to the Washington Bureau of the NAACP.

“Normally, we ignore childish hostility from belligerent people and groups,” the party’s Web site says. “The millions of good, decent, and loving Americans who have participated in Tea Party events deserve nothing less than our full condemnation of the NAACP’s hatred and lies.”

The NAACP resolution will now go to the National Board of Directors for a full vote when they meet in October in Baltimore, Md. At that time a full, public version of the resolution will be released, the organization said.

In the meantime, Jealous appears intent on pressuring the Tea Party to admit to what he calls its flawed racial culture, and to change it.

“The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear that there is no place for racism and anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in their movement,” Jealous said.

 

DavidRushing

SpecialtotheAFRO