Charles Blow: Black Tea Partiers Engaged in a 'Political Minstrel Show'

Charles Blow accused black Tea Saturday members of engaging in "a political minstrel show" for the mostly white movement in his Saturday column, "A Mighty Pale Tea."

Here are some of Blow's observations from attending a Tea Party rally outside Dallas that he had heard would be particularly diverse.

And, on the stage at least, it was. The speakers included a black doctor who bashed Democrats for crying racism, a Hispanic immigrant who said that she had never received a single government entitlement and a Vietnamese immigrant who said that the Tea Party leader was God. It felt like a bizarre spoof of a 1980s Benetton ad.


I found the imagery surreal and a bit sad: the minorities trying desperately to prove that they were "one of the good ones"; the organizers trying desperately to resolve any racial guilt among the crowd. The message was clear: How could we be intolerant if these multicolored faces feel the same way we do?

It was a farce. This Tea Party wanted to project a mainstream image of a group that is anything but. A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Wednesday found that only 1 percent of Tea Party supporters are black and only 1 percent are Hispanic. It's almost all white.

In his lust to portray the Tea Party as lily-white, Blow got his facts wrong: The poll he cited found that 3% of Tea Party supporters were Hispanic, not 1%.

After citing the poll showing some protesters believe Obama was born in another country, and that his administration favors blacks over whites, Blow ended with his inflammatory and highly questionable racial metaphor to accuse Tea Party members of racial "intolerance."

Thursday night I saw a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness and for those engaged in the subterfuge of intolerance. I was not amused.

The idea that Obama isn't a U.S. citizen is false but isn't necessarily racist, nor is the idea that a liberal government is helping minorities.

Michelle Malkin wasn't convinced:

Blow used his column from his hallowed perch at the Times to malign minority conservatives as minstrel tokens and puppets for the movement. How...original. He singled out my friend Alfonzo "Zo" Rachel - the young, delightfully talented conservative comedian - and essentially accused every non-white activist who opposes endless bailouts, massive new entitlements, and Obama's culture of corruption of being incapable of thinking for himself/herself.