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MSNBC Host Incredulous After MLK’s Son Says It’s ‘Important To Be Engaged With The Tea Party’

Martin Luther King III, son of famed civil rights advocate Martin Luther King Jr., raised serious eyebrows on MSNBC when he claimed it’s important to engage in dialogue with political opponents — even the tea party.

King appeared Friday on MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” on location in Atlanta as part of the liberal network’s “Growing Hope” series. Co-host Toure asked the civil rights heir if he thinks “the modern Democratic Party does enough to earn the overwhelming support that it gets for black people? Is it taking black people for granted in a way?”

King largely agreed with Toure’s point, but wanted to stress that African Americans “are not a monolithic people.”

“While I happen to be a Democrat, I think it’s important for African-Americans to be Republicans,” he explained. “I think it’s important for African-Americans to be independent. Uh, I’ll say this kinda — I also think it’s important to be engaged with the tea party.”

Toure was flabbergasted. “Wh — why would it be important for us to be engaged with the tea party?” he asked incredulously, as the live audience snickered.

“Because the only way you can change — the only way you can change is you have to be at least communicating,” King noted. “If there’s no communication, you just let someone have an agenda.”

But King did believe that tea party animus against President Obama was based, at least partially, on race. “It’s probably a combination of things,” he said. “But certainly the policies are the mask.”

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