Black conservatives denounced the NAACP on Wednesday over the group’s accusation of racism in the Tea Party movement, saying they have attended numerous Tea Party events without seeing signs of racism.
NAACP delegates recently passed a resolution condemning what their website describes as “extremist elements” in the Tea Party, pointing to unsubstantiated accusations of racial language used against members of Congress during the healthcare debate earlier this year.
“There are two types of people I have yet to meet at Tea Parties: one, racists, and two, anyone who owns a yacht,” said Kevin Jackson, author of The Big Black Lie and president of Black Conservative Coalition. “And if I did find a yacht owner at a Tea Party, I bet you he’s paying his taxes”—a reference to Sen. John Kerry’s tax dodge by registering his yacht in a different state.
Jackson said he’s been at over 100 Tea Party events. Another speaker, William Owens, said he’s spoken at over 150 Tea Party rallies.
Mychal Massie of the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives said that if people don’t want to attend a Tea Party rally, it’s their prerogative.
“But do not call me a racist … because you choose not to attend,” Massie said.
Timothy Johnson, the first black American to be elected vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party and the chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, said he believed the NAACP has become irrelevant and that it fails to talk about issues that are affecting the black community disproportionately, such as incarceration and abortion.
“The focus has to be on what is the purpose of the NAACP today.… I’m just going to call it out the way it is—I don’t think they’re relevant any more,” Johnson said. “I think the only reason they picked on the Tea Party was because that was the only way to get some news press.”
“I call on the decent members of the NAACP to end the racial terror tactics,” said Niger Innis, spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality, an organization he called the “grandchild” of the NAACP.
Despite a new Gallup poll showing that 88% of blacks approve of the job President Obama is doing, Democrats didn’t get off well at the press conference, either.
“The Democrats do create black leaders: blacks lead in unemployment, high school dropout rates, incarceration rates, teenage pregnancy rates, home foreclosures, abortion, crime in neighborhoods,” Jackson said. “The Tea Party movement, on the other hand, represents black America because the Tea Party movement empowers black people, and, in fact, it empowers all people.”
Columnist and talk-show host Herman Cain laid out the three principles that he says the Tea Party movement is about: insisting on fiscal responsibility, the Constitution, and not destroying the free-market system that made America great.
There was a heated exchange between the speakers and two reporters regarding congressional members’ accusation of racism against the Tea Party during the healthcare debate. Watch the debate below.