Columnist Charles Blow is officially obsessed with "racism" in the Tea Party movement. His latest attack, Saturday's "Trying to Outrun Race," comes an entire three weeks after "A Very Pale Tea." At the time he was ripped by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and black conservative comedian Zo for the column, where he accused Tea Party minorities of participating in "a political minstrel show."
Blow's latest is an unusually vague hit piece, with a headline and subhed that the text can't match: "Obama, Prejudice and the Opposition."
Racist. Tea Party.
Are those separate concepts or a single one? Depends on whom you ask.
According to an article accompanying a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Wednesday: "About 61 percent of tea party opponents say racism has a lot to do with the movement, a view held by just 7 percent of tea party supporters."
This gulf of perception has left Tea Party organizers struggling to scrub the stain of racism from its image, but those efforts may fly in the face of the facts.
Blow's line of attack begged the question: Who was it that put the "stain of racism" on the movement in the first place? Race-baiting comments like "minstrel show" by liberals like Blow, of course. Blow provided no actual evidence for his case for a racist Tea Party movement, but relied on a rival paper's loaded poll about how people perceive the Tea Party. A perception fueled by a hostile media that has fruitlessly searched for patterns of widespread anti-black racism among the movement.
It has attracted hordes of the disaffected with differing interests, including some who've openly expressed their dark racial prejudices and others who polls suggest harbor more subtle and less visible biases. Opposition to President Obama triggers a political Pavlovian response among some of these people, and they want to ally themselves with others around a common enemy.
It's unlikely that appeals from the top, however earnest, will expunge them.
Blow, who is black, admitted there's no way to catalog anti-black "racism" among the Tea Party, but that doesn't stop him trying:
There is no way to know how many Tea Party supporters - or supporters of any group - are motivated by racism, or to what degree. For instance, one could legitimately ask: to what degree is African-American support of the president motivated by racial pride, and when does that pride cross over into prejudice?
There are no easy answers, but blanket accusations and denials are worthless and disingenuous.
Blow's hit piece is itself a "blanket accusation" that's "worthless and disingenuous."
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