Monday, October 11, 2010


I have had an interesting set of comments on my observation that the Tea Party meetings are racist.

Mayberry (a daily read) and Russell (same) took exception.  Since these folks have my ear, I sat down and thought about it for a bit.  Unfortunately, I can't quite bring myself to looking at things their way in light of my personal experience.

I will freely allow that the Tea Party has no official racist doctrine anywhere around.  I can even live with the idea of shipping back illegals and their children to the country of origin (though we would first have to implement some changes in the laws, and there will necessarily be some legal ambiguity about the children born in the USA prior to the changes). Ex post facto is not a legal idea to be toyed with.

But there is a difference between the pubic platform of a movement and the tenor and hopes of the people within it.  The leaders of the Tea Party might be smart enough not to mention any racist doctrine, but a lot of the rank and file folks that I have met are not hampered by any such nicety.   As I stated earlier, I have never been to a public meeting where Spic, nigger, and other such words have been bandied about freely.  This was not the case in the Tea Party meetings that I attended.   While the Confederate Battle flag may have an marginally appropriate (emphasis on marginal) subtext in the South, the same flag being displayed on pickups in Washington State really has only one meaning.

I grew up a non-Mormon in rural northern Utah, the scorn and petty spite against Mexicans, Italians, Polacks, and Catholics was palpable, as there were almost no blacks, this wasn't really an issue.  I learned to fight often and well (the Mormon boys in Northern Utah tended to go after you in packs).

The experience of going to a Tea Party meeting was eerily similar to the constant racism and self-righteousness that characterized my happy youth in crackerville.

Now you guys at least know where I am coming from.


russell1200 said...

I would like to hear more about Utah. It has always sounded like an unusual place.

I didn't disagree with you strongly. I just think arguing about their racism takes away from the more fundimental problems of their cause.

I am seeing more and more tea-party fringe types. They would never go to a meeting or rally, but get their news from the conservative radio folks, and Fox news. Since that message is filtered through the media, they are not likely to see much overt racism.

The Confederate Battle flag is a symbol that means so many things to so many people it is almost useless as a symbol anymore. I know many people who view at as more of an anti-authoritarian symbol than a racial one.

Mayberry said...

Maybe it's a regional thing. All I know is that my personal tea party experience was a positive one. But then again, this is a heavily multicultural place. We're used to "making nice", on the surface at least... And I agree with Russell's thoughts on the Confederate flag.