Charles Blow went to a Tea Bagger rally where there was an expo of non-white tea baggers.
I found the imagery surreal and a bit sad: the minorities trying desperately to prove that they were “one of the good ones”; the organizers trying desperately to resolve any racial guilt among the crowd. The message was clear: How could we be intolerant if these multicolored faces feel the same way we do?
It was a farce. This Tea Party wanted to project a mainstream image of a group that is anything but. A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Wednesday found that only 1 percent of Tea Party supporters are black and only 1 percent are Hispanic. It’s almost all white.
And even when compared to other whites, their views are extreme and marginal. For instance, white Tea Party supporters are twice as likely as white independents and eight times as likely as white Democrats to believe that Barack Obama was born in another country.
Furthermore, they were more than eight times as likely as white independents and six times as likely as white Democrats to think that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites.
Thursday night I saw a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness and for those engaged in the subterfuge of intolerance. I was not amused.
Note: Blow’s use of word minstrelsy is being seen by some as Blow intimating that their political views negate their blackness. I don’t see it that way at all. I think Blow is saying these people of color are in a movement that publicly manifests itself with messages of xenophobic and racist hatred. You can believe in no gun laws, tax cuts to the bone, no stimulus and no health care reform and not run out on stage on behalf of a bunch of people who condone and/or promote ethnic hatred while supporting these views.
Minstrelsy depicted blacks happy to be slaves, the individuals Blow saw on stage are happy to depict tea bagging as a politically focused phenomena regardless of racial slurs and appeals to anti-government violence that regularly appear at Tea Bagger rallies.