NAACP releases study linking Tea Party to racism

October 20, 2010 5:35:41 PM PDT
The NAACP backed up its earlier claims that there are racist elements within the Tea Party Wednesday with a new 94-page report that it says documents links between Tea Party factions and white supremacist groups.

The report titled "Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of Its National Factions," was written by Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart of the Kansas City-based Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Click here to read the report (.pdf)

"This is based on sound research and it's a call to action," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

"These groups and individuals are out there, and we ignore them at our own peril," stated NAACP national president Benjamin Todd Jealous in a news release that accompanied the report.

The wide-ranging report examines everything from what it calls examples of racism and extremism within the tea party movement to its origins.

"The Tea Party movement has unleashed a still inchoate political movement who are in their numerical majority, angry middle class white people who believe their country, their nation, has been taken from them. And they want it back," says the report's introduction.

Tea Party leaders have strongly denied NAACP claims about racism within its ranks in the past - calling it a smear campaign.

ABC11 spoke with Laura Long with Triangle Conservatives Unite Wednesday.

"The tea party movement is not about racism. It's about restoring America to her constitutional values and that's it," she said.

"I think that it is a tactic used by the NAACP. I think that most Americans, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, don't like the idea of socialism, which is kind of where our country is headed," she continued.

But the NAACP said Wednesday that while it's appropriate for the Tea Party and the NAACP to disagree and debate about political goals, resorting to hate speech is not.

"I hope the leadership and members of the Tea Party movement will read this report and take additional steps to distance themselves from those Tea Party leaders who espouse racist ideas, advocate violence, or are formally affiliated with white supremacist organizations," said Jealous in his foreword to the report.

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