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Palin could lead the way

July 14, 2010 - Jim Anderson

NAACP convention delegates have passed a resolution “to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.”

To which Sarah Palin responds on Facebook:

"I am saddened by the NAACP's claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America's Constitutional rights are somehow 'racists.’ The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.”

But who’s changing the subject?

Does Palin deny that racist signs have been displayed at some rallies? Or does she believe that the offensive Tea Party signs posted at the NAACP Web site are mere fabrications?

Perhaps, yes, the NAACP has used too broad a brush in condemning the actions of a fringe of Tea Party activists. If so, why not defend the Tea Party within that context?

Instead, Palin has tried to characterize the NAACP as condemning the entire Tea Party movement as racist.

On its Web site, the NAACP is careful to describe its resolution as repudiating “racist elements” within the Tea Party. NAACP delegates, according to some press reports, have tried to make it clear that the resolution isn't intended to indict the entire movement as racist.

If Tea Party leaders, in the past, have acted swiftly against racist elements, then those actions should be applauded. Palin could lead the way in citing examples. Her response, however, is that Tea Party Americans have been “falsely accused.”

There is room to criticize the NAACP for a “blanket condemnation” of the Tea Party. There is also room to criticize Palin and others for a “blanket dismissal” of the NAACP’s concerns.

(For those who will inevitably ask why the NAACP hasn’t condemned the New Black Panther Party, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous has offered the following statement: “Our message to them is the same thing. They should not tolerate racism and bigotry in their ranks. Move those people out of your organization.” In the case of the New Black Panthers, such a stance would probably leave that dubious group mighty thin. But at least the statement from Jealous is no look-the-other-way denial.)


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