NAACP President Condemns Tea Party’s “Tolerance For Racism” On Hardball


The attacks on the Tea Party on racial grounds continue, with the NAACP drafting a resolution this week condemning the movement for tolerating racist statements made by its members. On today’s Hardball, Chris Matthews had NAACP President Ben Jealous on to explain what has the group so upset, and what instances of racism convinced them to draft the resolution.

Jealous opened by explaining that the NAACP did not have anything against the political statements of the Tea Party– it was the affiliates of the Tea Party movement that made racist statements that offend them, and they have no seen enough of an effort by the Tea Party to distance itself from those groups:

“We aren’t taking issue with the Tea Party itself. What we’re taking issue with is the perpetual tolerance for racist and, you know, and racist statements by their own folks. And they, you know, they need to just come out and say once and for all that there’s no place for bigots or– bigotry in our ranks and then back it up.”

Matthews asked Jealous about signs found in Tea Party movements with racist puns and illustrations, which Jealous agreed were a part of the reason for the NAACP’s attack, as well as the Tea Party’s relation with the Council on Conservative Citizens who say, according to jealous, that “black people are not genetically equipped to participate in democracy,” and similar groups.

He also noted Sen. David Vitter‘s recent declaration of support for conservative groups willing to question President Obama’s citizenship status in court, and the continued presence of the birther movement. “They use this rhetoric,” Jealous explained, “‘take back our country’– as if nobody else belongs to the country… they question the nationality of people of color from the president all the way down. And it’s deeply, deeply disturbing.”

Watch the discussion below:

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