The rotting racist underbelly of the tea party protests

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

h/t to Jill Tubman, The Rotting Racist Underbelly of the Tea Party Protests – Jack & Jill Politics:

Were you wondering what happened to all the rabid, wild-eyed bigots yelling, “Kill him!” and “Terrorist” and “Socialist” carrying stuffed monkey plush dolls at the McCain-Palin rallies? It’s easy in our jubilation over Obama’s victory to forget the many people in America who were deeply fearful and hate-oriented towards an Obama presidency. Those people didn’t just shrug their shoulders at the Democratic victory in Nov 2008. No, they’ve re-organized. Largely abandoned by the Republican party who tapped cynically into their ignorance, fear and hatred and whipped these folks into a racist lather as a Get Out The Vote strategy, the Tax Day Tea Party people have used the internet to find each other and organize.

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I’ve been parsing the words and the racists have been very careful to cover their tracks and fury that a black man is President. But not well enough. I’m starting to become pretty convinced at this point that “socialist” is a some kind of code word for “nigger.”

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 White supremacists are loving the Tea Party movement btw. They hear the dogwhistle loud and clear and are looking to take advantage of the discontent…

Many white supremacists report planning to attend Tea Parties or already have and some are looking for a way to recruit into their White Nationalist movement. There’s an awful lot of Tea Party chatter among these folks. Why doesn’t the media cover this angle? Here’s a telling and typical comment from Stormfront.org:

Ladies and gentlemen, I think every WN needs to not only attend the April 15th Tea Party nearest you (I’m going to the Alamo in San Antonio) but then stay involved and help provide leadership to this movement.

I believe that this is the white revolution we’ve been waiting for.

It doesn’t look what we expected but this is it.

I’ve seen probably 50 videos on TV showing previous marches and what strikes me is that the participants are all WHITE. It stands to reason . . . we’re the ones being taxed to support Affirmative Action, Welfare and other worthless social programs. It’s our tax dollars going to ACORN and supporting the 12 million illegals swarming into our neighborhoods.

I would urge news media and citizen journalists covering the tea parties to scratch below the surface to get at the rotting racist underbelly of these protests and ask revealing questions like these top five:

  • “How do you know Obama is a socialist?”,
  • “Do you believe Obama’s presidency is a conspiracy by the Jews and Blacks?”,
  • “Who do you think Obama takes his orders from?”,
  • “Is Barack Obama an American citizen like you?”,
  • “How do you feel about having a black president in the White House – what’s the worst that could happen?”

I’ve re-activating my criteria for an undercover racist attack on Obama from the campaign and revising it for the new reality.

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Here’s the new criteria for an undercover racist attack:

1) Is it unique to Obama, i.e. is it a phrase we’ve never heard before applied to any other president or is it something we haven’t heard in recent memory? For example: he’s not an American citizen or he’s a socialist who’s planning re-education camps for young people.

2) Is it illogical or impossible – does the assertion plainly contradict the facts? For example: not an American citizen, socialist, tax raiser, re-education camps for young people.

3) Is it repeated, over and over, by a desperate person whose team lost badly in the last election & who adopts a wide-eyed, credulous, nodding stare pronouncing the lie slowly and precisely with a watchful eye to see if the listeners are buying it. For example: not an American citizen, socialist, elitist, drug seller, tax raiser or terrorist.

Optional: Does the assertion cause nervousness, embarrassment or confusion among non-blacks? When other white people such as Tom Brokaw or John Stewart sense something wrong and start to ask questions like “Do you really believe that?”, you know for sure you’re in the racist attack zone.

0 responses to “The rotting racist underbelly of the tea party protests

  1. It’s nice know the leadership of the Tea Parties are bigots.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/conservative_activist_forwards_racist_pic_showing.php

    I myself trust the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association endorsement of healthcare reform more than the opinions from bigots in the Republican Party and the Tea Parties.

  2. Ben – I have Al Korwin pegged as a bigot because I have seen in his writing claims that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. I would be interested to hear why my impression is wrong.

  3. Ben-

    Yeah, I’ll buy that. There are a lot of people out there who “parrot” what they hear. They may not necessarily know that much (or even care that much) about the issues they’re protesting against. There are also probably people out there who thought it might be fun to dress up and throw some tea bags.

    Racist is probably not correct for describing the people I was talking about. If Hillary Clinton had won, they would have still been protesting. If Michael Moore had become president, they would have still been protesting.

    Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
    Bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own

    While the definition of bigot might look like a perfect description for the people I was describing, it probably isn’t either. Not for most of the people who were interviewed at the tea rallies. I honestly feel like most of this angry rhetoric is just some knee-jerk reaction from people who are a little scared about the economy, or what they think is radical change. They’re grasping for people or things to blame. President Obama hasn’t even been in office for 3 months. It’s hard to call it obstinate or stubborn intolerance just yet.

    However…

    The language that was being “parroted” by the protesters or the slogans and pictures on the protest signs were often racist and/or bigoted. People who don’t want to be tarred with a “Bigot” label, should not carry around a sign with bigoted themes at a public demonstration.

  4. S. Morris:

    Yes, there are probably bigots in the crowd at the tea parties.

    But you’re still painting with way too broad a brush in insinuating that anyone who can’t articulate precisely what he means by “socialist” must be a bigot. Some people hate leftists per se with the same vehemence that bigots bring to bear against low-status people of different ethnicities. The leftists become “they”. But that’s not bigotry, that’s a perhaps intractable disagreement.

    Drop in on a few anti-war rallies–I used to do so all the time before I changed my mind about demonstrations–and ask the kiddies what they mean by “fascism” or “blood for oil” or “neocon”. They usually can’t articulate that, either. But that doesn’t give me license to smear them as socialist or otherwise illiberal. They’re naive and they “don’t get out much”, intellectually. They’re repeating something they heard someone else say.

    If like me you find yourself neither on the left nor on the right you find the trust-signifiers and quirks of speaking of both groups bizarre and put-offish. And the big-ell LP Libertarians are no better (probably worse, even!) about in-group jargon. People say things that are understood on some level by people who agree that are not intended as communication to people who do not. If I was better versed in semiotics I’d be able to clarify more, but alas my specialty involves single-molecule biophysics which is quite different.

    When I don’t grok what’s up in any of the three groups (left, right, or Libertarian) , I do the intellectually and morally responsible thing. I try to figure it out. I don’t fill in the blanks where I can’t do so. That’s a learned behavior. It doesn’t come naturally. Some would say it’s Christian charity, but I’m not a religious man. I just call it modesty. I try to not let my imagination run away with me in filling in unknowns about people.

    When it does get away from me it’s usually embarrassing down the line. I had (Phoenix-area publisher) Al Korwin pegged as a reactionary and a bigot; both are opposite the truth. We come from very different backgrounds, intellectually and professionally, and he sounded at times just like Those People. But it was a quirk of background. There’s a little exercise I like to keep myself honest and to avoid doing that again. Before I accuse someone of some grave flaw of morals or character X, I ask myself if, were I to know the individual’s name N, I would be confident enough to, in writing and in public, say N is X.

  5. As I mentioned elsewhere I passed up the fun of participating only inches from the rotting racist underbelly (man, I so missed out). It was *amazing* watching (in person) the hundred if not thousands of cars driving in last night to deliver their federal income tax returns to Phoenix municipal stadium.

  6. Ben-

    The people not of the right often use “Bigot” & “Racist”, perhaps rightly, as a descriptor of values.

    I’m sure there were some people at the tea rally that protested based on their concerns for fiscal discipline.

    I’m also sure that there were many, many people at the rally who may at least once have called President Obama an “arab”,
    or a “Muslim”,
    or a “Kenyan”,
    or an “illegal” (birth certificate?),
    or a “foreigner”,
    or Osama,
    or Barack HUSSEIN Obama,
    or anything else our resident troll sheapenny might write in all caps,
    in addition to calling him a “socialist”.

    Just because someone avoids using the word “nigger” by instead calling him everything else, doesn’t mean he is not a bigot. Especially when you ask for clarification and a protester cannot really describe what a “socialism” is. Especially if they just seem to “hate” Obama and everything “he” or the “Dems” are doing to “them”, but can’t seem to identify any particular “thing” that’s accurate.

    A bigot doesn’t even have to hate all black people per se. Maybe they think it’s lazy black people, or black people who call themselves African-Americans instead of Americans, or the black person they “know” got a job or promotion over them or a friend because of a “quota”.

    Maybe they just hate those easy to label people or groups who they feel have gotten some kind of undeserved “privilege”, or feel like they are having something of theirs(rights, money, tradition) taken away by another group they don’t consider themselves a part of because of a difference in race, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever. “Gays”, “illegals”, “Muslims”, “Liberals”, “welfare moms”, or even just a nebulous “THEY”.

    It was really just “THEY” and “THEM” they were protesting against Ben.

  7. AzBlueMeanie

    Ben, I do not believe that Jill Tubman intended to paint with a broad brush everyone who attended the tea parties as being a racist. I certainly do not believe this. Tubman’s article focuses on one particular element on the right (read the full article). There most certainly were racists who attended the McCain-Palin rallies and, I would add, who attended Hillary Clinton rallies during the primaries.

    I would disagree that “socialist” is used as a commonly understood descriptor of values. It is currently being used interchangeably with “fascist” and “marxist” in a pejorative sense, which demonstrates that the historically accurate and political science definition of these distinctly different political theories are clearly not commonly understood by the speakers. These words have been misused to such an extent as to deprive them of any meaning or purpose other than as an invective to defame or insult the person to whom it is directed.

  8. The “New Party” was the Chicago affiliate of Democratic Socialists of America; Obama was a member back in the ’90s.

    If you can’t figure out what something is, Mr. “Flounder” Anonymous-Coward, you have no business calling it racist.

  9. I haven’t figured out what “New Party socialism” is; all I know is that the tea bag event I was at today was all white people. The speakers were making jokes about ACORN, which a group that helps poor people with housing issues. All I can figure is that both ACORN and the “New Party socialism” stuff is racist dogwhistle, in the Lee Atwater style of conservatism, because there is no reason that a bunch of very white people would all get together and flog those two points so often.

  10. Ben,
    It’s David, not Robert. And yes, some are racist, some are not.

  11. I happen to know some of the speakers at the Tea Party (which I did not attend) and know that they are not racists. You’re painting with an awfully broad brush here. And it might be worth considering that people not of the left–that includes both modern classical-liberals and right-wingers–often use “socialist” as a descriptor of values. And they see, perhaps rightly, Obama as holding those values. In his head he may be a liberal and a man of the market, but in the years between his New Party socialism and now, he hasn’t figured out what that means.

  12. There were two incidents today that make it clear what kind of people are at the ‘tea parties.’

    The first was when someone apparently at the Lafayette Park protest threw a box over the fence onto the grounds of the White House. The bomb squad was called in and the park was evacuated (though it turned out to be only a box full of tea bags– but the threat was very clear.)

    The second was when Joe Wurzelbacher (‘Joe the Plumber’) was hosting one of them. In a live comment that went out over Pajamas Media TV a protester asked him if he would like to see President Obama waterboarded.

    These incidents make it pretty clear that the folks attending these parties include some whose primary motivation is just plain old fashioned hate.