*The NAACP says the tea party movement provides a platform for “anti-Semites, racists and bigots.”
“The Tea Party movement has unleashed a still inchoate political movement who are in their numerical majority, angry middle-class white people who believe their country, their nation, has been taken from them,” reads the report, posted Wednesday on a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-sponsored website, Tea Party Nationalism.
The movement is “permeated with concerns about race,” the report finds, and has “given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.”
NAACP commissioned Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights to write the study, reports Politico. The report includes numerous pictures of signs at tea party rallies using racial rhetoric. It also uses maps and other data to show the growth of the movement – though one map cites Wikipedia as its source of information.
The civil rights group and tea party organizers have been in frequent conflict since NAACP condemned the conservative movement as “racist” in a resolution passed in July. In his introduction to the report, NAACP President Ben Jealous asserts that tea party supporters are “sincere, principled people of good will.”
The report also notes that several tea party leaders have been expelled after making controversial racial statements.
“I hope the leadership and members of the tea party movement will read this report and take additional steps to distance themselves from those tea party leaders who espouse racist ideas, advocate violence, or are formally affiliated with white supremacist organizations,” Jealous wrote. “In our effort to strengthen our democracy and ensure rights for all, it is important that we have a reasoned political debate without the use of epithets, the threat of violence, or the resurrection of long discredited racial hierarchies.”
Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo called the report “ridiculous.”