Disclaimer: In researching my article, Tea and the Media Who Cried ‘Race’, I focused on media coverage of the Tea Party Movement, which led me into the subject of racism. I came across some particularly disturbing accusations against the Tea Party and this is my response. David Bostis’ quotes, of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, can be found at Newsweek.com.
Dear Mr. Bositis,
Newsweek pointed out last April that new demographic data showed minority births are on the rise. I talk about it in my article titled “Tea and the Media.” The Newsweek article says that by 2050, “Hispanics are expected to account for more than a quarter of the American population.” In response, Mr. Bositis, you said the Tea Partiers “feel a loss … like their status has been diminished.”
My jaw dropped when I first read this. Then again when I re-read it and read it again. At first I was just shocked, then offended, then downright ticked off. Then I realized this was Newsweek, so my anger subsided a bit. But are you likening Tea Partiers to Nazis? Or the Klan? Sure, you didn’t say “Nazi,” but you’re implying here that we follow a pro-Aryan race ideology. You think white Tea Party supporters are rallying because they want to be the “dominant” race? You think we want minorities to stop procreating because we’re afraid?
You go on to say, “If you listen to [their] language, it’s always about ‘taking our country back.’ But it’s really not taking the country back as is. It’s taking the country back’—as in time.”
Why don’t you just say what you really mean here, Bositis? I’ve heard this argument so many times now, it’s almost comical. Racism criers like yourself accuse the Tea Partiers of wanting to “take the country back” to a time where slavery was the norm. But what we have here is a pathetic game of semantics. The slogan “take the country back” has NOTHING to do with time. It’s about taking the country back from imposing government rule and placing it back into the hands of the people. No, we don’t want to take the country back to slavery, we want to take it back from being on the path to socialism. We want ourselves to be represented in Washington. We want the freedom to spend our earnings as we choose. We want term limits! I can’t think of a time where these things ever truly existed, so how can we possibly be talking about time?
It seems that some political commentators and overly sensitive, bleeding heart, race-card pulling liberals are just TRYING to find something offensive about the Tea Party, but they’re just grasping at straws.
My point is: There are extremists on each side of the political spectrum. We have no way of controlling them all and neither do you. Lest we forget these little gems?
Op-Ed columnist Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post wrote about the Tea Partiers: “The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction—the right, not the left.”
But the media never focused on the “dangerous, vitriol of the anti-war, anti-Bush protestors,” did they? Um, no. But I digress. My point is who cares about these fools anyway? STOP FOCUSING ON THE SELECT FEW LUNATICS, and let’s talk about the issues.
The Newsweek article goes on: When read the statement that “if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites,” 73 percent of the movement’s supporters agreed, while only 33 percent of people who disapproved of the Tea Party agreed. Asked if blacks should work their way up “without special favors,” as the Irish, Italians, and other groups did, 88 percent of supporters agreed, compared to 56 percent of opponents.
So how, Mr. Bositis, did you get racism from this? What your “analysis” of the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality’s (a.k.a WISER, lolz) study fails to consider, and what Newsweek’s article fails to add, is that Tea Party supporters, unlike liberals, are still hopeful that “The American Dream” still exists. The entire premise of the American Dream is that ANYONE—black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight—can achieve success if they just try hard enough. Just look at the many underprivileged people who came from literally nothing. People of minority races who have risen above societal pitfalls and made incredible successes of themselves: Amancio Ortega, Colin Powell, Antonio Villaraigosa, Oprah Winfrey, Marco Rubio… the list goes on. Most of them grew up in a time where racism was still widespread and blatant, yet they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and took control of their lives and their futures. That’s beautiful. That’s what the Tea Party stands for, because THAT’S what America stands for.
So to say that we’re more likely to be “resentful” toward other races just because we think they can achieve the same successes whites can WITHOUT the entitlement programs is ludicrous. If anything, it’s the complete opposite. True Libertarians and Conservatives believe the government needs to stay out of it. True Libertarians and Conservatives believe policies, like affirmative action, actually hurt minorities rather than help them.
Shelby Steele—a black-American author, columnist and documentary filmmaker, who has become a very prominent voice on this issue—asserts that affirmative action has reinforced a self-sabotaging sense of victimization among blacks by encouraging them to blame their failures on white racism instead of their own shortcomings.
“Blacks now stand to lose more from affirmative action than they gain,” he once told TIME Magazine. This is the view most Tea Partiers hold toward affirmative action, as well as other entitlement programs like welfare, and it’s the same reason they’re also seen as “racist.”
You, Bositis, go on in your pontification, ahem, interview with Newsweek, stating, “I don’t like to be in a position where I’m characterizing people as being racially biased. But when the shoe fits, what do you do? [Tea Partiers] know they can’t use any overtly racist language. So they use coded language”—questioning the birthplace of the president or complaining about “socialist” schemes to redistribute wealth.
Coded language, really? Remember when Democratic strategist Steve McMahon made a cute little guest appearance on the Ed Schultz show last year? He said, “Really, what [Tea Partiers are] doing is not that much different than what Osama bin Laden is doing in recruiting people and encouraging them to hate America.” I think that might be code for: “The cultish Tea Partiers are America-hating terrorists.”
Did it ever occur to you that if Obama was a Conservative or Libertarian, who supported the same ideals as us in the direction of the country, that we would support him? If Obama supported the same ideals as me and wanted for the country the same things I did, I would have voted for him. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t vote for him just because he’s a different race than me, and I certainly never felt threatened by his election. But if I did vote for him, I would only vote for the white half of him…
Now I’m not saying there’s no way that there are some people who might actually hold that belief, God forbid. And I’m certainly not saying that America is completely void of racism. But to brand Tea Partiers as racist just because they’re rallying against a president who just so happens to be black is artificial, unimaginative and just plain inaccurate. We don’t brand all liberals as atheist, crybaby, pot-smoking treehuggers… oh wait…
Why are we still talking about race anyway? Do we really need to keep harping on it? Pulling out the race card at every turn DIMINISHES the true meaning of it. You’re the boy who cried race, Boistis. Crying racism in today’s social context is just a weak diversion in efforts to keep us from talking about the real issues that we disagree on. To me, constantly pulling the race card keeps race in the current dialogue, when aren’t we supposed to be moving on? We’re onto you, Mr. Bositis. We’re not the ones talking about race here, YOU ARE.
Now can we get down to the REAL issues?
P.S. I’d like to make this clear: I voted for Marco Rubio, I would jump at the opportunity to vote for Herman Cain, I’m of Cuban descent, I have a school-girl crush on Denzel Washington, and one of my best friends is a gay man. I am also a LIBERTARIAN, GUN-TOTING, BIBLE-THUMPING, TEA PARTY SUPPORTER FROM THE SOUTH. Eat that, Bositis.