Friday, July 16, 2010

Baltimore Sun should tread carefully on issue of race and the tea parties

So The Baltimore Sun today had a very perplexing editorial this morning supporting the NAACP for it's declaration that the Tea Party movement is a racist movement. Not perplexing because they should support racist activity; obviously every well-thinking person should find racial discrimination appalling and disgusting.

But the editorial comes out supporting an NAACP position that the NAACP is already backtracking from given the hullabaloo over the disparaging nature of their statement. And of course its lack of facts. As I noted on The Marc Steinter Show yesterday the tea party movement, particularly here in Maryland, is representative of the entire Maryland population, made up of a cross-section of parties, races, and creeds. The keynote speaker at these Annapolis rallies multiple times has been Republican Congressional Candidate Charles Lollar, an African-American from Charles County.

Timothy Dalrymple has a well-written piece regarding racism in the tea party and why the entire movement cannot be painted with a racist brush, and why the liberal intelligentsia is quick to pain it in that light. Here's a sample:

The charge that the Tea Party is racist is a perfect object lesson in liberal misinterpretation of conservatives. It is, of all the charges leveled against the Tea Party movement, the most inflammatory and the most politically damaging. Yet the accusation says more about the accusers than the accused.

Critics of the Tea Party point to a smattering of racist signs at rallies around the country, to the low percentage of minorities involved in the movement, and to a study that purports to show high levels of "racial resentment" among tea party supporters. These arguments are, however, mere justifications for a position already taken. Liberals were inclined to believe Tea Partiers racist even before such "evidence" was available. That is, the belief that Tea Partiers are racist is not an evidence-based belief. It is a belief in search of evidence.

What I propose, then, is the Theory of the Missing Motive. Since the education establishment has failed to convey a thorough and unprejudiced perspective on differing political points of view, even highly educated liberals possess a cartoonish, easily-dismissed image of American conservative thought. Liberals cannot believe that Tea Partiers are actually motivated by the passions and the reasons that Tea Partiers claim motivate them, because liberals in general are alienated from those passions and insufficiently educated in those reasons.

It is essentially a failure of imagination. Liberals cannot imagine themselves into a way of thinking in which conservatives do what they do and believe what they believe for good reasons. And since they cannot believe that conservatives are motivated by rational beliefs and admirable motives, they must appeal to darker, more primitive impulses to explain their behavior. The racist motive presents itself as a natural and convenient explanation.

Liberals, in other words, were always going to believe that a movement dominated by white conservatives is racist.


Of course, there are other more complicated issues at work here too, also with a Maryland Connection. One of the cites that we have seen from several sources is that the leftist organization Think Progress has been knowingly using signs brought to Tea Party rallies by liberal plants as evidence to show that the Tea Party movement is racist. Not that this is a surprise since Think Progress is well known for its deceitful nature. As for the Maryland connection, remember that District 30 Delegate candidate Judd Legum is the founder of Think Progress, and I cannot imagine that the residents of District 30 want to be represented by somebody like Legum is associated with such bigotry and such lies.

Both sides of the aisle should condemn racial bigotry when it is present and when it is seen. However, little evidence has been presented that the Tea Party movement is in an of itself racist. It looks like, however, the left is creating racial fronts in an effort to discredit the Tea Party movement. I eagerly await the condemnation of these groups from the Sun and the NAACP.

(Crossposted)

2 comments:

Eludius said...

I think The Sun and the NAACP like to throw the race card at the Republicans and the Tea Party movement now and then just to see if it sticks. I think most people are smart enough to know better. At least I hope so.

Bruce said...

I would be surprised to learn that the TEA Party is representative of Maryland as a whole. Maryland is 1/3 African-American and my bet is that the Maryland TEA Party is about as diverse as Carroll County. This does not lead to the conclusion that the movement is a racist one, only that it lacks appeal to the overwhelming majority of Black Marylanders.

I would be curious to see whether the TEA Party movement ultimately supports Southern secessionist activities or starts promoting racist groups like white nationalist talk radio, in the general manner of a recent Constitution Party presidential candidate. If I see overlap between TEA Party activities and VDARE, Councils of Conservative Citizens, the Klan, Stormfront.org, American Renaissance, paleo-conservative race-baiters, the American Nazi Party, neo-Confederate Southern nostalgists, etc., I will be sold.

The other possibility is that a small subset of TEA Partiers are not racists but do enjoy peeving liberals and are willing to race-bait not out of racist animus but to get liberals hot and bothered. I find this very plausible. I do get the impression that TEA Partiers reject modern modes of politeness when talking about racial politics, but this is mere rudeness, not racism per se.

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