I hold sentiments of disagreement and disappointment over the NAACP’s recent decision to promote, vote on, and champion its opposition to the Tea Party Movement on the grounds that the populist, grassroots movement is – in the words of the NAACP - “…not just about higher taxes and limited government…”
As a supporter of the historical contributions of this iconic civil rights organization and a believer in the group’s ability to rebound from its mounting irrelevancy over the recent decade, I share common values with the NAACP for the advanced of all people, including and particularly people of color. Both the NAACP and I – along with many Americans – commonly believe in the ability to protest peacefully in America, understanding that this is a civil right that has been emblazoned upon the spirit of all citizens within our nation’s borders through the sacrifice of soldiers and Freedom Fighters alike. As well, we share the tenet that patriotic and personal strength and dignity are found in upholding civic respect, decency, and honor through both our agreements and debates that allow for the continuation of true civic equality for all Americans.
However, it is with regret that I find the proud organization and I at odds over its willingness to stereotype the Tea Party Movement through its adherence to pop politics and brief media presentations instead of actual research and engagement with a swelling community of Americans that have ties to the diversity of our country. The NAACP’s willingness to take umbrage with this movement and label a significant portion of their fellow citizens through leveraging 30-second sound bites on radio, sensationalized B-roll video clips on television, and hearsay isolated incidents is akin to those Americans that stereotype everyone within contemporary Black America as “welfare queens”, “urban terrorists”, and “burdens on American society.” Both behaviors are dangerously overreaching and wrong. Just as I have dealt with isolated examples of racism and inappropriate behavior with pointed responses as an African-American Tea Party patriot and featured speaker, so must the NAACP precisely direct the intent of its resolution without overextending its accusations in a quasi-partisan or other mal-intended or misunderstood manner. Just as my inactivity to confront isolated incidents of racism would be cowardly and wrong from my perspective, the NAACP’s refusal to be pointed and careful in its critique prompts the seepage of the required moral authority to properly address, corral, and improve the Tea Party situation from the NAACP’s outsider perspective.
I take note of the NAACP’s willingness in the resolution to state that the Tea Party Movement has continued – according to the words of a generation colleague of mine, President Ben Jealous – “…(a) continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements…”