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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will propose a resolution this week condemning racism within the tea party movement.
The resolution, scheduled for a vote as early as Tuesday by delegates attending the annual NAACP convention in Kansas City, calls upon “all people of good will to repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.”
NAACP leaders said the resolution was necessary to make people aware of what they believe is a racist element within the tea party movement.
“I think a lot of people are not taking the tea party movement seriously, and we need to take it seriously,” said Anita Russell, head of the Kansas City chapter of the NAACP. “We need to realize it’s really not about limited government.”
Russell said she was “pretty certain” the resolution would pass.
Tea party leaders deny that the movement is racist and said the resolution is unfair.
“I just don’t see racism in the tea party movement,” said Brendan Steinhauser, director of campaigns for FreedomWorks, which organizes tea party groups. “Racism is something we’re absolutely opposed to.”
“The NAACP has more of a political agenda now, but I would hope that they would appreciate the fact that the tea party movement has a lot in common with the civil rights movement. I’m personally inspired by what the civil rights movement did, and I want them to know that.”
Among the charges lodged against the tea party in the resolution:
•Tea party supporters have engaged in “explicitly racist behavior” and “displayed signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically.”
•Tea party activists have used racial epithets, have verbally and physically abused black members of Congress and others, and have been charged with threatening public officials.
Tea party supporters also have a distorted view of race relations, the resolution says, citing poll data that found that 25 percent believe that the Obama administration’s policies favor blacks over whites, and 52 percent believe that “too much” has been made of the problems facing black people, compared with 28 percent of the general population.