NAACP may rip tea parties over racism
WASHINGTON — The NAACP is expected to approve a resolution at its annual convention condemning the tea party movement for harboring “racist elements that are a threat to our democracy,” a spokeswoman for the civil rights organization said Monday.
The proposed resolution says the “movement is not just about higher taxes and limited government but something that could evolve and become more dangerous,” said Leila McDowell, a spokeswoman for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Delegates gathering in Kansas City will consider the resolution as early as today.
The resolution would be the latest, and perhaps the most pointed, denunciation of the tea party movement, which has pushed back against recurring accusations of racism since its inception 11⁄ years ago.
Critics have pointed to signs carried by tea party supporters that mock President Barack Obama and his Kenyan ancestry.
The accusations intensified after reports that a tea party protester directed a racial epithet at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a longtime civil rights leader, during a rally in March.
Tea party leaders have distanced themselves from what they described as the work of fringe elements. In response to the NAACP resolution, two tea party leaders said Monday that any racism in the party was the responsibility of a few bad actors and not the larger movement.
Also at the NAACP’s convention Monday, first lady Michelle Obama said a child obesity epidemic fed by fast food, sugary drinks and too much television threatens to create the first generation of American youths who live shorter lives than their parents. She spent much of her half-hour keynote address discussing her “Let’s Move” initiative to combat child obesity.