As a Libertarian, I have taken slight interest in the way the Tea Party movement is shaping the nation’s politics and kicking out big-government incumbents. This is a force which could do a lot of good for our country, but could also be easily corrupted as a result of its rather vague message. Nevertheless, it’s a message that I agree with, so long as it stays on target.
Well, last week, the prominent left-wing blog, Think Progress, released a video providing examples of “Tea Party racism.” In the original version of this video, there were four “tea party racists” depicted uttering seemingly racist statements:
TEA PARTY ACTIVIST1: He’s too black to be President.
TEA PARTY ACTIVIST2: I’m a proud racist, I’m white.
TEA PARTY ACTIVIST3: Afro-Leninism! Coming to you on a silver platter, Barack Hussein Obama!
TEA PARTY ACTIVIST4: Go home wetbacks!.
Now, clearly, all of that sounds pretty bad. To defend themselves from blanket accusations of racism, Tea Party supporters can always fall back on the catch-all explanation that these individuals were Tea Party infiltrators. However, in this case, they don’t have to use a catch-all.
As it turns out, context matters. “Racist” 1, after stating that Obama “Is too black to be president,” continues by saying, “And if you look at my wife [pointing to the African American woman next to him], it’s not the color of his skin that troubles me. […] It’s the blackness of his heart. He’s a bad guy.” Apparently, this Tea Partier was just playing off the “too black to be president” strawman that Obama-supporters have constructed.
The footage of “Racist” 2 is from a video in which, he, as a self-avowed racist KKK supporter, is being asked to leave by a large group of Tea Partiers. At one point in the video, the person holding the camera yells, “You’re not with us!” and #2 replies, “Good!” So, is this man a racist? Clearly. Is he a Tea Partier? Clearly not. Why is he at that rally? Who knows. Maybe some money changed hands with the previously-mentioned infiltrator groups.
I couldn’t find any evidence of exonerating context available for the case of “Racist” 3, but considering the misrepresentation of context we’ve examined thus far, it seems likely that the context exists. For instance, the use of the term “Afro-Leninism” could very well be referring to the perception that Obama is using socialist policy in his own racist way to support the radical black supremacy movement. Misguided? Perhaps. Racist? No, not really. If it makes you a racist to call someone a racist, then Obama and his wife are racists, and we all become racists for considering others racists…right?
Finally, “Racist” 4 is indeed, a racist, but seems to come from footage of a larger video containing signs with the date on them. That date? Hard to see, but the year is 2006. The Tea Party movement began in 2007 as a result of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign fund raising efforts. Not a Tea Party protest.
Notably, Think Progress has since removed the part of the video that came from 2006. However, they haven’t removed any of the other footage, which is edited to blatantly commit fraud and slander against the people depicted. I think that settles it: the blog voted “best liberal blog” in the 2006 Weblog awards is blatantly and deliberately fraudulent in its claims of Tea Party racism.
Remember that when you choose your sources.