The NAACP’s Role in “Restoring Honor” to the Tea Party Movement

A month ago, we called for the Tea Party to repudiate the racist elements within its organization. While some members of the Tea Party initially decried the resolution, a number of its leaders have taken steps toward to isolate and eliminate its extremist elements:

• In a national television appearance with NAACP President & CEO just days after the resolution passed, spokesman David Webb announced that the Tea Party Federation had expelled the Tea Party Express, one of the most politically powerful organizations within the movement, from the larger federation. Noting that a racially-charged blog post by TPE leader Mark Williams was “clearly offensive,” the announcement effectively split within Tea Party leadership, and underscored the fact that the movement has the mechanism to police itself when it wants to.

• After the NAACP resolution focused media attention on the widespread use of racist imagery on signs and banners at Tea Party rallies across the country, Fox News personality Glenn Beck instructed his followers to leave all signs at home in the lead-up to a conservative rally on the National Mall scheduled for August 28.

• The Tea Party Express held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on August 4 to explain their efforts to reach out to people of color.

We are satisfied that on August 28, there were few overt signs of racism – however, we remain committed to holding the Tea Party to their word. Our coalition watchdog website, TeaPartyTracker.org, will serve as evidence of this ongoing vigilance of extremism within the Tea Party movement.

The NAACP has always believed in the promise of America – a promise built on mutual respect, common civility, and hope for a better tomorrow. Together, we will continue to do our part to ensure that the Tea Party reflects these values as well.