A lot of white Americans just can't swallow the idea of a black president. Especially one with Islamic something-or-other in his background, a supposedly uncertain place of birth, and a name that's so un-American it rhymes with that of a world-famous terrorist.
Now that Sarah Palin is no longer winking her way through racist innuendos at
But then this week, along came a chance for the repressed to return, in the form of nation-wide Teabagging Parties. Thousands of right-wing protesters turned out to (cluelessly) protest high taxes, in crowds that were at least 99% white. Not all of them could be fairly called "racists," but such homogeneous gatherings certainly attracted those who proudly wear that label.
America? WAP!! I don't think so!!!
HOMEY DON'T PLAY DAT!!!"
As some intrepid reporters noted beforehand, white supremacists made plans to seize this day. Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times quotes the following note of encouragement, which appeared on a white nationalist web site:
"I think every [White Nationalist] needs to not only attend the April 15th Tea Party nearest you," writes one online boot boy, "but then stay involved and help provide leadership to this movement."
He continues, stating, "I believe that this is the white revolution we've been waiting for. It doesn't look what we expected but this is it...For the first time, white people (a.k.a. the lemmings) are finally awake and taking to the streets...Right now the movement is about taxes . . . but with leadership and guidance we can help turn this movement into a lot more.
"So turn off the computer. Take off the red laces and fold your jeans over your Doc Martins [sic]. Hang the storm trooper uniform in the closet. Take off the robe. Reverently fold your Confederate flag and put it away for now. Become one of them. Join the marches and help organize future events in your neighborhood. Go slow . . . don't hit people with WN philosophy all at once."
Then there were the tone-deaf, ahistorical trivializers of an earlier outbreak of virulent racism, the Holocaust:
When white protesters happened upon the jarring sight of a rare, conspicuous negro in the crowd, most of them probably flashed an approving grin of surprised delight. And then kept moving, of course.
The Tea Party protests got plenty of corporate media coverage--far more, it seems, than the millions more who protested the impending invasion of Iraq, such a long time ago.
Remember those protests, and how little coverage they got? Why did these people think that their protests would get much attention? Oh, wait, they did get attention, a lot of attention . . .
But what didn't get covered much at all was the white elephant in the room, or rather, out on the street. Did you hear any mention on TV--let alone any analysis--of the overwhelming whiteness of these crowds, and of their varied expressions of white racism?
Unfortunately, that's a rhetorical question, since I'm pretty sure you didn't.
And that's sad, and frightening. The racism of the Tea Party "Movement," such as it is, deserves extensive coverage, because it's not a merely marginal phenomenon. And it's not a declining one either. As a recent Department of Homeland Security report notes, "the economic downturn [is] invigorating rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements."
We shouldn't let the anti-taxation message of these protesters override the other forms of resentment they feel. When these folks say they're "not going to take it anymore," some of what they're referring to is their trumped-up, racist fear, of supposedly invading hordes of people with non-white skin.
I'll leave the final word to Jill Tubman, who writes over at Jack and Jill Politics,
My main concern here is that the heated rhetoric around the protests could lead to violence against African-Americans, Jews and Latinos if some Tea Party recruits go from non-violent to violent. That’s why it’s important to drag the masked racism here out into the daylight, so we can deal with it and force denials from their movement leaders before certain elements become more brazen and people start getting hurt.
Most of the images above are from here; more documented atrocities here and here (actually, the supply is virtually unlimited).
UPDATE--A couple of gutsy white folks who also attended the protests--race traitors?
Regarding the whole "Obama's a tax-and-spend Socialist!" canard: