Andy Barr, Politico, July 15 2010
NAACP President Ben Jealous said Thursday that the resolution passed by the group on Wednesday does not call the tea party “racist.”
The resolution the NAACP approved Wednesday at its annual conference in Kansas City, Mo., alleges that the tea party has used racial epithets against President Barack Obama and has verbally and physically abused African-American members of Congress.
A portion of the resolution does indeed characterize the behavior as “racist,” but Jealous said Thursday during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the resolution was not intended to condemn the entire movement as such.
“We aren’t saying that the tea party is racist,” Jealous said. “What we’re saying is that with their increasing power comes an increasing responsibility to act responsibly . . . and to call out when they see those things on those signs.”
Jealous argued that racist groups have embraced the tea party movement and said that what the NAACP would like to see is one of the movement’s leaders–whether it be former House Majority Leader Dick Armey or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin–denounce those elements of the tea party.
“These sort of KKK-type groups saying they like the tea party and want to be a part of it, it would just seem someone would call out and say we don’t want them to be a part of it,” he said.
Asked if he thought members of the tea party are racially insensitive, Jealous responded: “No, not at all.”