LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Members of the tea party movement are “screw-loosers” who range from “sort of a generic racism” to “bald-faced racists,” and they tend to become more racist the longer they associate with tea party ideas. Also, “tea partiers are not overly concerned about the economy,” love “gun rallies,” want power in the hands of white people and hate President Barack Obama because he “broke the white monopoly on the presidency.”
Such was the message of a speaker on the first day of this year’s White Privilege Conference, currently happening at a posh hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky.
The speaker was Leonard Zeskind. The author and activist hosted a session concerning the tea party, a limited government movement that shared in the responsibility for returning the U.S. House of Representatives to Republican control four years ago.
Zeskind’s Thursday afternoon talk was entitled “The Denial of White Privilege, the Tea Party Movement and the Building of Our Response.”
The former factory worker turned “social change maker” began his lecture by stressing that his “area of expertise is the white nationalist movement.” He claimed to have begun paying attention to the tea party because, he said, white supremacists swelled in the tea party ranks after Obama was sworn in as president in 2009.
“All this business about government and ‘constitutional’ is a smokescreen that’s really all about, ‘I want this country back for me.’ And ‘me’ meaning ‘white people,'” Zeskind told an overflow conference room crowd.
“We consider the tea party a post-Cold War nationalist group,” he went on to explain. Tea party aficionados “have an internal life around gun rallies” and “around constitutional study groups.”
“I don’t think I have to convince you that they have sort of a generic racism,” Zeskind informed the audience, to many approving nods. He also used the term “bald-faced racists” to describe the tea party. (And the term “screw-loosers.”)
After noting that tea party supporters do not like to be called racists, the leftist activist suggested that tea party advocates mostly don’t like President Barack Obama because Obama “broke the white monopoly on the presidency.”
“Tea partiers are not overly concerned about the economy,” he confidently asserted.
Zeskind noted with dismay that after last year’s White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wis. he came under considerable criticism because “some goomball [sic] conservative tea partiers or whatever” reported that he had “cited the fact” that “the longer you are in the tea party, the more racist you become.” (RELATED: White Privilege Conference: Tea Party Equals RACISM)
This year, Zeskind doubled down on the racism allegation, citing it again and insisting that it is true based on an obscure “longitudinal study” he himself did not carry out — but has totally read.
During the question-and-answer period, a woman asked: “What is, like, an African-American tea party member? How could there be one?”
Zeskind said he doesn’t know “how people could do it” but compared black people who support limited government and gun rights to “Jewish kluxers.”
Zeskind repeatedly referred to black people as “black folks.” He bizarrely suggested that “black folks” didn’t know about the tea party movement when it began because it wasn’t a topic of discussion “at the barber shop.”
Zeskind also adamantly suggested that there are “no gay people in the tea party,” and that constitutional government and a free-market economy cannot coexist.
In a handout entitled “Seven Steps to Stop the Tea Party Movement,” Zeskind suggests that White Privilege Conference attendees “hold public forums,” “pass a resolution” “in your trade union” and “advertise widely the notion that the Tea Party movement’s call for ‘constitutional government’ is hypocritical.”
At the beginning of his talk, Zeskind had asked audience members to volunteer to speak about themselves.
“I live in the bowels of the tea party, and I have the privilege of teaching your children,” explained one White Privilege Conference attendee — a woman with a Southern accent.
“I teach at a very elite boarding school,” explained a second woman who said she is from the Boston area. She said the school is “full of tea partiers” who “try to, you know baptize” political opponents.
A third woman, from Minnesota, lamented that the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party is moving “towards what they call the middle” and becoming “welcoming to the needs of independent voters.”
As the woman trailed off after “independent voters,” Zeskind interjected “… which means tea party,” as a way to label such voters.
A fourth woman said she attended Zeskind’s lecture because her “in-laws get all their news from Fox.”
This year’s event marks the sixteenth annual White Privilege Conference.
People — mostly white people — pay hundreds of dollars each to attend the multiday conference each year. (RELATED: ‘White Privilege’ Activists Are Grateful That Everyone Thinks They Are Crackpot Racists)
Taxpayer funds from several states go to pay for conference fees.