The Tea Party movement has been framed as having racial overtones, and this 2010 survey indicates that Tea Party devotees do tend to be racially intolerant.

“The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability”—25 percent, to be exact—”of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters,” says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. “The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.”

Today’s question:  Does Herman Cain’s popularity with the Tea Partiers absolve them of charges of racism?


18 Responses to Monday Question

  1. Brian says:

    More pearls of wisdom from the local version of Glen Beck

  2. griftdrift says:

    There are plenty of places where the irrationality of the “tea parties” should be challenged without going down this road.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I just love that the one person that the tea-baggers point to prove they aren’t racist, Herman Cain, is a totally racist, Uncle Tom-ish person himself, sort of like Clarence Thomas, but Cain talks more and has less blatant conflicts of interest. He said he would be “uncomfortable” having a muslim serve on his cabinet if he gets elected, and if there were any that caught his eye he would make them alone swear an oath to uphold the constitution. Now, call me a crazy, ACLU-loving, pinko, commie, liberal, but that sounds an awful lot like a religious test which is pretty explicitly banned in the constitution.

    • Baker says:

      Agreed on Herman’s Muslim comments. Unacceptable. But please point me to some reason why, other than their conservative politics, Herman or even Clarence Thomas are Uncle Toms.

      • Jonathan says:

        2 reasons for Cain that I have right off the top of my head are that he agrees with the birther conspiracy and believes that the president was born in Kenya, and I could be mistaken, but I think he made mention of that after the “official” birth certificate was released. Some people may disagree with me, but I do not believe for one second that birtherism is motivated by anything but blatant unfettered racism. The second I will admit I may be reading more into it than is actually there, but he was talking in an interview about how he isn’t an African-American but an American who is black, I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but I was sensing some pandering while I was reading it. As if he was trying to separate himself, the American who is black from Obama who later in that same interview he said was an African-American somehow making “African-American” into a pejorative and dog whistling that Obama was some kind of “other” while Cain is just like the rest of them, only black.

        Clarence Thomas I think of in the same vein as any minority be it african-american, hispanic, gay or what have you that continually takes positions completely counter to his/her own best interests. For example, Clarence Thomas has repeatedly been against Affirmative Action, but in many ways his nomination and confirmation to the supreme court was an affirmative action decision. He was appointed by Bush, despite having barely any experience as a federal judge because they needed a reliably conservative vote, and since he would be replacing Thurgood Marshell the president chose to nominate an African-American and Clarence Thomas was the only person they could find who met both of those standards despite the fact that, as we have seen in the last 20 years or so, he just doesn’t seem to be that good at his job.

  4. Drew says:

    No, it doesn’t, any more than Herman Cain is absolved of his own anti-Muslim bigotry when he explains that he “would not be comfortable [with a Muslim-American in his administration] because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us.” The fact that he concedes that there are “peaceful Muslims” does not excuse him for believing, apparently, that the share of “militants” among Muslims is so much higher than the share of “militants” among Christians, Jews, or other believers that one must be more cautious of Muslims than others.

    Similarly, the fact that conservatives might consider Herman Cain worthy of their respect does not change the fact that they are more likely to agree, as the linked article notes, that “if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.”

    Also, this notion that we shouldn’t refer to those who sympathize with the tea party as racist is silly. As the study shows, they are much more likely to be racist than the nation as a whole. So why shouldn’t we refer to them as racist? Because we don’t want to hurt the feelings of racists? Or because we don’t want to hurt the feelings of people who aren’t racist (at least, no more so than the rest of us) but are comfortable making common cause with racists?

    Come on. I mean, some opponents of interracial marriage probably were no more racist than the rest of the country, and some opponents of same-sex marriage are no more homophobic than the rest of the country, but the fact is, those positions are racist and homophobic and the groups that held or hold them are more racist and homophobic than their opponents. No only is there nothing wrong with saying so, there is something very wrong with the alternative: saying nothing about bigotry because you’d rather not hurt the feelings of bigots.

  5. EGaluszka says:

    Every time someone mentions abolishing the two party system I can’t help but laugh. Between the fall of electoral fusion and having such a powerful executive (that requires 270 EVs to elect, mind you), the country was designed for such a system, and the system has been propped up ever since. It’s been around for 200 years, it’s not going to disappear overnight. Nor should it.

  6. JMPrince says:

    Some good thoughts there Rick, only some of which are obviously unconstitutional or ‘quasi’ constitutional, but most of which might take several amendments to put through. I like the ending though & #10. It all makes a bit more sense as a comedy. Perhaps in Canada:

  7. Rick says:

    Let’s face it people, the “two party system” in this country is DEAD. It has devolved, along with the congress, into a worthless, childish, self-serving group of name-calling morons whose only claims to representation are those of rancorous rhetoric and passing legislation favoring their lobbyist lords and the elitist rich. We have NOT a republic, we have NOT TAXATION WITH REPRESENTATION… legislators DO NOT REPRESENT THE COMMON PEOPLE.

    It is time for a MAJOR reset of our “system” of government. Time for us to get control of the incredibly dysfunctional form our government has devolved into and hit the “reset button.” Until we have common people in the legislature and running the government, you are just going to change the faces but NEVER SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. You may think these are unrealizable goals, but then, how realistic was it when the Colonial Army took on the British in the war for independence? We won that one, too, in case you’ve forgotten….

    Congressional Reform Act of 2012

    1. Term Limits.
    8 years only, one of the possible options below..
    A. Two 4-year Senate terms
    B. 4 Two-year House terms
    C. One 8-year Senate term and Two 4-Year House terms
    D. One 8 year term for Supreme Court Justices
    If term limits are requisite for the President, Vice-President, and State Governors, then they most certainly are equally imperative based on the same principles for ALL of our legislators and even the judicial high seats.

    2. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

    9. Make all lobbyists and special interest groups illegal. They have no basis or rights for their existence except the greed of the oligarchs they represent. This is the heart of our dysfunctional government system. This is “legal bribery” in America and the Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

    10. All campaign contributions, corporate or private, cannot exceed $250 max. No candidate can use their OWN money to campaign with. This violates the constitutional principles of equal opportunities for ALL people in the nation. If candidates qualify for federal campaign monies, then that is what they can use. Otherwise, they hit the campaign trail like everyone else for the last 200 years.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    • CatherineAtlanta says:

      Some great ideas there, Rick. I’d like to hear more about your strategy to get it done. Go ahead and post it here and if it looks good I will promote it to the front page. Always happy to help out someone with a plan!

    • Jonathan says:

      I agree with and understand your sentiment, but most of your proposals I see more of as window dressing than addressing the root of the issue. The vast majority of senators and congressmen are already independently wealthy so taking away their congressional health care plans and retirement plans won’t really do much to convince them, though I guess it would be an incentive for some of the members of congress who rely on those services to make our health care system better and to fight harder to convince their colleagues (cough cough Sherrod Brown cough).

      One thing I do think is absolutely necessary for any real change and progress to happen is major campaign finance reform. Politicians are elected by taking money from wealthy special interests, and so naturally those wealthy special interests are the ones whose demands are met by our congress. We should have public financing of campaigns and politicians and the members of their staff should be banned from working as lobbyists or “consultants” or any of the other euphemisms they put on the revolving door.

  8. David says:

    Racism in America in 2011 is not a black and white, but very complex gray thing. I don’t think every tea partier is racist by default, and I don’t think all tea partiers are supporting Cain.

    2 things I am a little clearer on are:

    1.) that truck stop in Villa Rica doesn’t have that kind of service
    2.) people at that truck stop in Villa Rica are not likely to have deep long discussions of race and politics at a table with a checked table cloth.

    If you have know idea what I am talking about download past episodes of the Kudzu Vine:

  9. Lothar says:

    Racism is an action against a person of a different of race when there is a perceived conflict of interest and when racial prejudice is a motivating factor for either the action itself or the level of hostility in the action. If Cain’s politics are the same as the average Tea Partier, then no conflict of interest exists, and hence racism would not have an opportunity to manifest in the first place.

    Likewise, opposition to Obama by itself is not racism, but the level of hostility against Obama (e.g. “Where’s the birth certificate?”, “Terrorist Muslin”, ad nauseum) compared to other political figures is indicative of racism. The cartoon is more of a statement of the artist’s lack of understanding racism than on Tea Party opponents.

  10. JMPrince says:

    It’s likely a bit more complex than the usual simplistic cartoonish understanding.

    In Cain, many folks can suggest their own relative lack of crass racial bias or hope to present some sort of indemnity from same, but actually, they need not. Cain himself will offer plenty enough reasons for the TP to like him. He shares many of their views, and is not afraid to voice them on the campaign trail.

    So again not really an ‘either or’ question here, but a ‘both/And’. But we’re not really going to get the press to understand that now. And as far as unconscious motivations, it’s a question that may not need to be asked. Just listen, the proof’s in there. JMP

  11. Ed says:

    Far be it from me to defend Tea Partiers (and I’m not) but it is, from what I understand, a very loose association of a number of groups representing all stripes of conservatives, and they all have their own views of what ought to be achieved and how.

    So yeah, I find it pretty absurd to ascribe anything to Tea Partiers writ large.

  12. EGaluszka says:

    We shouldn’t be debating the tea party on race to begin with. There are tea party members who are racist, there are Democrats who are racist, there are Republicans who are racist. That has very little to do with how a country is run. We should be debating the tea party on their proposed governing strategy of breaking every valuable piece of our government.

  13. Julez says:

    No, it’s just that Herman’s policies and politics are just as thin and weak as the Tea Parties understanding of how government should and could work.

    They are the perfect match of slogans and ideology.