NAACP cites evidence of Tea Party bigotry

NAACP President Derrick Johnson denounces Tea Party racism at State Capitol.

By Earnest McBride
JA Contributing Editor

Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson last week called on the Tea Party of Mississippi to repudiate the racist elements within its ranks.

Citing a study by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, Johnson said the NAACP feels obligated to denounce racism and human rights violations from any quarter and was not striking out at Tea Party adherents solely on the basis of their purported conservative political views.

“The Tea Party should repudiate the radical, racist associations” operating from within the party, Johnson said at a press conference at the State Capitol last Wednesday morning.

Johnson pointed to Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant as the main agitator who is creating irreparable hostility among Mississippians by giving audience to the anti-immigrant notions embraced by Tea Party branches within the state.

“It’s Un-American,” Johnson said. “We’re going to stand up against it.”

The widespread movement that sprang up primarily as a right-wing counter force to President Barack Obama’s popular push for change in the nation’s affairs in 2009 has also attracted a great number of bigots from the so-called  “Christian right,” the report says.

“Tea Party leaders have promoted and provided a platform to known racists and anti-Semites,” the report said. “ Dale Robertson, the chairman of the 1776 Tea Party who displayed the infamous ‘n****r sign,” at a Washington rally, brought Martin ‘Red’ Beckman on as a guest on the Tea Party Radio Hour” in Washington state.

“Beckman, who was introduced as a ‘great guy’ and ‘an authority on the Constitution’ has been publishing anti-Semitic writings for over twenty years,” Eric Dolan of the AlterNet Website writes. “Moreover, the report claims that Robertson endorsed a pastor who believes that Jews are a ‘satanic force’ and that ‘people of color’ are less than fully human.”

Closer to home, Tupelo native and far right Bible thumper Rev. Don Wildmon’s American Family Association has a cadre of 1500 organizers who are assigned duties to stage “This is a Christian Nation” rallies in their communities, according to the institute’s report. This group organizes its rallies on a strongly anti-Jewish and anti-Islamic platform, the report said.

Even the once-familiar Louisiana Klansman David Duke has re-emerged among the ranks of Tea Party revelers. He is seeking their support in his plan to launch another campaign for national office in 2012, according to the Institute’s report.

“Mississippi can’t afford to go backwards,” Johnson said. “We can’t allow a small percent of the state’s population to deny 40 percent of the population their rights.”