“Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black”

(A state representative behaving like a two year old. What a surprise. - promoted by Bob Neer)

Anti-racist writer Tim Wise crystalizes it:

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters – the black protesters – spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester – these black protesters with guns – be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Many more fine examples in the full post. Read it.

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38 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Are you kidding?

    Would these protester - these black protesters with guns - be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic?

    You just absolutely must be kidding.  


    You know what!  I am just damn offended.

    • Well.....

      It seems to me that this quote demonstrates the pervasive and implicit racism that still exists in our culture.

      I agree with you that the phrase "most whites" is offensive. I strongly suspect that most Americans — of all persuasions — would view such behavior as a danger to the republic.

      But let's not kid ourselves about the point being made here.

      Such behavior would almost certainly be viewed as dangerous to the republic if it was perpetrated by any minority group (whether African-American, Muslim, gay and lesbian, whatever).

      Yet this behavior is, disgustingly, not being viewed that way when perpetrated by angry whites (the teabagger protesters are overwhelmingly white).

      The point we should not lose sight of, in my opinion, is that this behavior is a danger to the republic. The tolerance of this dangerous behavior when exhibited by whites, coupled with the certain intolerance of the same behavior when exhibited by minority groups, is racist.

      It simply is.

      • Black Panthers

        I haven't spent any time shifting through the charges and countercharges regarding the violence or supposed violence of the Black Panthers, but they did specifically try to take advantage of a law allowing one to carry firearms openly in public provided they were aimed at no one. That, at least, is little different from what the "Don't Tread on Me" "Water the Tree of Liberty" folk today seem to be saying and doing today.

        There's always a danger, of course, with the sort of thought experiment tblade proposes here. We don't have a Black Tea Party. We can't poll white responses.

        From crosstabs in polls, we do know that whites are more conservative than the country at large. If only whites voted, we'd be looking at a lot of Republicans in every part of government. This seems to be born out in almost every poll I come across. Given that, tblade's prediction might not be wrong.

  2. $quot;armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition$quot;

    ANY evidence TEA Party protestors were ARMED?  Or is this just more fantasy from this guy?

    BTW - when I saw the headline, I did imagine.  If the TEA PArty were black, it would look a lot like the Million Man March.

    • PPs that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

      Here's just one of the literally hundreds of articles on the subject:

      Across the Potomac River, in Virginia, another group of protesters are defending the Second Amendment with a show of arms -- holding an "Open Carry Rally." Signs in the crowd pointed to the role of government, with one reading, "My rights come from God, not from the government." Protesters had large rifles and other weapons strapped to their bodies. Restore the Constitution Rally event organizers said they chose certain areas in Virginia -- like Gravelly Point Park and Fort Hunt Park -- because they are "firearms carry-legal [locations] as close to D.C. as possible."

      • Ah. So they weren't at the rally.

        • Because DC gun laws

          would have seen them all arrested. If they had been allowed to carry their weapons at the rally, they would have.

          In Virginia, it is legal to openly carry certain weapons. But it is illegal to openly carry a weapon in the District of Columbia.

          Tim Wise is not the only one to raise questions about a double standard: Are 'tea party' rallies given preferential treatment by police?

          Alarm around tea party protests cropped up last year when tea partiers began showing up armed. One much-publicized incident involved a man who carried a high-powered rifle to an anti-Obama rally close to where the president was speaking in Phoenix.

          Here's one of the many other rallies huh referred to where Tea Partiers did bring firearms.

          The Otero Tea Party Patriots and the  newly formed Alamogordo Second Amendment Task Force held an anti-Obama protest rally on Saturday in Alamogordo New Mexico.

          Several hundred people, many carrying rifles and handguns, attended the 2-hour event.

        • Sooner or later

          Sooner or later, the teabaggers will start killing people they disagree with.

          You encourage such violence with comments like this. I don't want to hear any whining, evasion, or excuses from you when that tragedy happens.

    • Read the damned article

      He didn't claim that they were teabaggers in this AK-47 paragraph.  He specifically pointed out that they were 2nd Amendment folks.

      And no, the Million Man March wasn't about black men wanting to contribute less to society and get more from the gov't.  The Million Man March was a call for black men to step up and contribute more to their nation, their community, their family, and themselves.

      Good grief.

    • Sarah Palin = Louis Farrakhan?

      I remember the conservatives being sooo friendly to the idea of the Million Man March back in the 90s. /sarcsm

      One thing the MMM and the Tea Party has in common is their affinity for leaders with extreme and often bizarre religious views. The MMM having Louis Farrakhan and the Tea Party with Sarah Palin.  

      I guess using your analogy, Sarah Palin : Tea Party :: Louis Farrakhan : Million Man March

  3. We tolerate a lot in this country.

    We tolerate it because it is within their rights of free speech.  If it was any other race protesting in such a way we would tolerate that as well. Would we be more afraid?  No.  No matter what race, the fear rises with the escalation of violence, not because of the race doing the escalating. If there had been gunshots at any one of these tea party protests, we would all be afraid - even Fox News.

    The horrendous beating of Rodney King, which ended in the acquittal of his attackers, was then followed with the LA riots of 1992.  They were frightening as they were being carried out, but did it change my opinion of the black community as whole? No, of course not.  Did it teach me that some police officers pass the bar in what is appropriate behavior when trying to arrest people?  Yes!   Do I blame the entire black community because a few decided to single out Reginald Denny and beat him to near death as a way of handling the outcome of the trial that acquitted the police officers. How were the LA Riots handled?  I watched some video of it to try to determine if these rioters were handled within the context of the law.  I think most people were outraged by the acquittal of the police officers.  I know I was. I think most people of all races were frightened by the riots that ensued. They would have been just as frightened if it had been white people rioting.  

    Guess what. It's 2010.  I don't see  "pervasive and implicit racism" existing in our country. I see cultural camaraderie.  Gun lovers hang out together, knitters hang out together, children hang out together, women hang out together, men hang out together, blacks hang out together, whites hang out together,  bird watchers hang out together, etc.  Is there still racism in this country? I believe there is, but not to the extent that it is portrayed sometimes.    

    I guess my point is - what are we white folks suppose to do.  Someone can stand right in front of me and call me a racist and what can I say?  According to Tim Wise, there is a good chance that I am.  So are his efforts at explaining his views helping to bring our races together, or do they just reinforce the notion that - in general - white people are racists.  Will it ever end.


    • You were going pretty good there...

      until you wrote

      Someone can stand right in front of [white] me and call me a racist and what can I say?  According to Tim Wise, there is a good chance that I am.  So are his efforts at explaining his views helping to bring our races together, or do they just reinforce the notion that - in general - white people are racists.  Will it ever end.

      He writes absolutely nothing of the sort.  He does consider the idea that as a society (note: not as individuals) we treat the white angry folks differently than we would were they black.

      Not the same thing.

      • Exactly

        He does consider the idea that as a society (note: not as individuals) we treat the white angry folks differently than we would were they black.

        So he is promoting the notion that we are a racist society.

        We are not.

        • Wanna back that up with some evidence?

          Where were all the protestors demanding Bush's birth certificate? Or Clinton's? Or McCain's for that matter, since he actually was born outside the US.

          Actually, there were people back during the campaign challenging McCain's eligibility for the Presidency based on his birth, but it never caught on, and no politician would've been caught dead endorsing that movement. Any idea why?

          • You know

            I'm really not that in touch with the birther thing. I've heard it mentioned and I know it has something to do with Barack Obama maybe being born in another country or something like that.  I've always thought it was nonsense so I never really paid attention to it. I didn't know there are politicians who also believe that Obama is not a citizen. Maybe I will go google it now and enlighten myself. Thanks.

        • We are not a racist society?

          Really?  So the fact that comparing groups on every scale from life expectancy to income to drug use to political and commercial representation to imprisonment, African-Americans are worse off than whites is...coincidence?

          And it's "Imagine if the Tea Party were Black"...use the conditional, people, the conditional...

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • We are not a racist society because as a country we support

            and encourage equal opportunity for all people. EEO HUD etc.

            I think that there are areas of discrimination and racism that can and should be addressed.  In this first clip by Tim Wise, he explains that our police force will often profile when they decide to make arrests.  I believe that this does happen, and it's really disturbing.  I don't think the majority of Americans think this is fair or acceptable.  If most Americans thought racial profiling was fair and acceptable, then we would be a racist society. Do you think most Americans support and accept racial profiling?

            • Hmm

              I guess it depends on how you define society.  Insofar as "society" means "government", it is true that we have largely race-blind laws, and yes, laws that ban racism in many ways.

              However, if you take "society" to mean "the persons of a community" I believe my point still stands.  I would ask if profiling is so prevalent, yet against many people's beliefs, why does it continue in a democratic society?

              sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
              • Good question.

                I don't think the issue is being ignored. It's been discussed often and everyone knows it's a concern. There needs to be more emphasis on it in Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice courses.  Are police officers required to take continuing education courses?  If not, they should be, and a course on racial profiling should be mandated, maybe even once a year. All police departments should be required to maintain statistics on who they arrest and for what, then those statistics should be passed out to all officers on a regular basis.  There should be regular meetings within the departments to discuss the issue.  I really do think that the awareness of racial profiling is going to do a lot in helping to reduce it.  That is a very good thing.

                • All well and good,....

                  ... but I think this is beside the point.  The need to get good data is certainly evident, but the data we already have tells the story.  The question is about racism and its existence generally.  Don't the statistics on wealth, incarceration, and employment generally bear out that there is a problem?  Doesn't the fact that these statistics cut across so many geographies and areas of society indicate that this problem is general in nature to our society?  If this problem exists and it is general, what do you call it other than racism.  Certainly, at a minimum, it is an indicator of generally racist outcomes (results that ought not pivot on race, do), yes?  Is it possible that we live in a society with such racist outcomes, but isn't racist?

                  • Racism does still exist.

                    But certainly not to the extent it used to.  My main gripe about this post is that the author is doing some racial profiling himself, by proclaiming that a protest by armed black Americans would be viewed by "most whites as a danger to the republic."  He is profiling whites as racists, which is something we have been trying for decades to overcome.  Everytime we get closer to losing that label, someone applies it once again, and gets applauded for it.  I'm really sick of it.  It's just not true that the majority of whites are racists.  I think the majority of Americans across the racial spectrum want all people of all races to lead a happy and successful life.

                    A few tidbits of info:

                    Study: More whites, fewer blacks going to prison for drugs

                    Good, incarcerate all criminals.  Although I do think the drug laws need to be changed, and maybe some rehabilitation would be a more suitable solution.  This would drastically reduce the prison population with regard to drug offenses.

                    Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age

                    White 9.3% Black 16.6% Asian 7.5%

                    It's true that the unemployment rate for black Americans is way to high; it's interesting to note that Asian Americans have the lowest unemployment rate of all.  That is an interesting piece of date that never seems to be reported.  

                    • It's also irrelevant

                      As I recall, Asians were discriminated against, but never held as property.

                      Additionally, most Asians in the country now are recent immigrants or descendants of immigrants within a few generations. They've come to America without the shackles of systemic poverty holding them back. Additionally, the stereotypes about Asians aren't quite so destructive. If you're a child experiencing peer pressure to conform to stereotypes, which one is going to help your chances of doing well in school and someday having stable employment: being the "model minority" or being part of a group everyone assumes is stupid and lazy?  

                    • I empethize with...

                      ... your sentiments, but I think my examination of the evidence leads me to many conclusions that disagree with your sentiments.  I can understand taking offense at being painted with a broad brush, especially if it is so inapplicable.  Nevertheless I don't think the writer was accusing individuals but making a comment about us generally.  That necessarily means he's talking in broad strokes.  He ran what I think is a reasonable thought exercise in order to illustrate some broad brush issues.  I think our aggregate statistics, as I indicated above, show that at least in a broad brush sense we are in a racist society.  In the context of such a society it doesn't seem to me to be a huge leap that a gathering of African Americans as described by the author would ignite racial fears.  I think you're absolutely right that we've made enormous progress, but while I take encouragement from it I can't let myself get too distracted from what the statistics we've been talking about are telling us.  I actually have heard very convincing arguments, for example, that our national disposition on race may have arrived at a point where race-based affirmative action is less effective as class-based.  This may be an indication that while we are functioning collectively in such a way that is perpetuating certain racial inequities, as individuals we appear to have made much progress.  This may be owing to a situation that much individual racism may express itself more subconsciously than before.  Certainly something must still be going on to explain our societal problem, whatever the progress that has been made.  

                      Also, in regards to that data, I've seen it reported.  It's also a problem IMO in that it is an indication of a disparity where there shouldn't be one because it pivots on an irrelevant criterion.  I'd also not that raw rate is only part of the story.  The types and salaries also deepen the story, both for race and gender.  The data indicate that we are still a sexist society as well, although we seem to have made much progress there as well.  I would never put forward the proposition that we are not sexist nor would I take personal offense to an assertion that we were.

                    • Agree

                      That statistics don't tell the whole story and that there are certainly underlying problems including racism that are causing our societal problems.  In the case of Katrina, corruption in government does not help to lift up those who need lifting. Corruption in government has many negative implications for many people, however I do believe that video evidence of such incidents as Katrina and the beating of Rodney King can only help to stop the abuse that still occurs in this country.

                      Please forgive me for being hypersensitive to the broad brush stroke racism charge.  I am still having post traumatic stress syndrome from the Hillary Clinton campaign. All of her supporters were eventually collectively labeled  racists.  At the time, I was reading and commenting at the Huffington Post.  Hillary Clinton was being promoted as a racist there with such posts as:

                      Clinton Gave Voters Permission to be Racist and others.

                      Hillary Clinton wasn't giving anyone permission to be racist.  But everyone had permission to call anyone a racist if they did not support Barack Obama.  It was the most ridiculous campaign there ever was, on both sides.  

                    • Not by me...

                      I labeled her supporters man-haters.

                      Feel better?  :)

            • The fact that we have (and still need) EEO, HUD, etc

              is evidence that while we as a society don't want to be a racist society, we still are.

              I think we've been on a steady trajectory of our society becoming less racist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise bigoted.  We've still got plenty of work to do.

    • Open your eyes

      I don't see  "pervasive and implicit racism" existing in our country.

      That's like saying "I don't see crippling poverty existing in this country".  

  4. Somewhat different context

    ...but I posted here about hypocritical reactions to a public Muslim pray-in on the Capitol grounds from the same crowd who would like to Christianize this country.  I do suspect that many involved in the Tea Party would be horrified if nonwhites were doing the same as they were.


    There's method to the madness of the Tea Baggers in electoral terms.

    The Tea Baggers, who are mostly white, go and have a demonstration. A few of them have signs that are both bigoted and insane.

    Liberals go after the people with these signs on the basis of being bigoted rather than on the basis of being insane.

    If Obama is to be opposed, it ought to be on the basis of policy and on the basis of something that's true.

    Like it or not, "hunnies", Barack Hussein Obama is a natural born United States citizen and a Protestant. And he has lived his life as "Barry Dunham", even if he is named after his father.

    Going after them for bigotry lets Baggers make the following moves:

    1. They say that the crazy sign people were infiltrators or were not like most people there.

    2. To PROVE that it's about tax cuts and all of these economic issues, they run non-white, even non-Christian candidates as Republicans. The candidates will support right wing policies, but will soften the image because of their background.

    An example of #2 is Sam Meas (R-Haverhill), a Cambodian Buddhist running for Congress against Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell).

    It would be better to take the Baggers at their word that it's about economics and not race, and then destroy their economic arguments, showing that it's just the same old "rich man's bunk", jazzed up for sale.

    And, remember, you do not live a candidate's BACKGROUND; you DO live under a politician's POLICIES.

  6. About us mixed-ethnicities folks

    I have always thought it strange that Obama is always referred to as "black" with a white mother.

    I suppose, given that I have a Kazakh and a Tatar amoung my ancestors, I could go around calling myself or being called "Asian" albeit the percentage is way way less than half.  I have never done that.  I wonder if now everyone here will do so?

    Am I Russian?  Lithuanian?  Bylorussian?  Ukrainian?  Jewish?  Turko-Ugraic?  If I am some of every one of these, what does that make me?

    In my opinion, it makes me an American.  No more, but certainly no less.

    To me, calling someone "black" if they have "one drop" of African or other so-called "black" ethnic ancestry/genealogy seems like racist thinking, frankly.

    • Bah.

      It's convention.  More to the point, Barack Obama has self identified himself as black.  Why wouldn't you call him black if that's what he calls himself, given that his father was indeed African.

      Now, the "one drop" isn't really one drop.  Once you get into 1/8 or 1/16, your culture and your skin tone is almost certainly not African American.

      Really, you want to call yourself Asian American, knock yourself out.  I for one have always been puzzled by the term "African American."  For one thing, Africa includes Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco -- and their skin is generally not the tone to which we attribute "African American".  Furthermore, the second part of that -- the American part -- creates further confusion when the dark skinned person hails from some other nation, majority dark skinned or otherwise.  With "African American" we don't attribute the moniker to people who genuinely are American and of African descent, and we incorrectly attribute the moniker to people who are decidedly not American.  I dunno -- is black an offensive adjective or noun when used to describe skin tone?  And yes, this does cause confusion with Asian American too... Pakistan is in Asia, as is Russia.  Somehow "Asian American" generally means "Southeast Asian American".  Go figure.

      • Not to mention...

        ...Theresa Kerry, who was born and grew up in Africa (Mozambique).  Yet she's not African-America.

        What happens, it seems, is that old attitudes adhere to terms, and in eagerness to throw out the attitudes, the terms are ejected as well.  We're getting increasingly creative/metaphorical/confusing in our labels...

        sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM

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