The University of Washington has just published a multi-state study that offers convincing evidence that members of the Tea Party are far more likely to be racist than average Americans. Their results agree with a recent NY Times / CBS News survey that found similar racist attitudes. But Tea Partiers know they should not use overtly racist language, “so they use coded language”. Like about “taking our country back” … but from whom?
If you doubt this, here’s a simple exercise you can do. Imagine the Tea Party doing and saying the same things it does now, but its members are black (or Arabic, or Latino), and the president is white.
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.
Because Tea Partiers did that.
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.
White gun enthusiasts and Tea Partiers did that.
Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.”
Yup, Rush Limbaugh said all that.
Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?”
Michael Savage said those things, and Texas Congressman John Culberson praised him for it.
Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.”
Rocker Ted Nugent said that about President Obama.
Tim Wise sums it up nicely:
This, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.