Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What if the Tea Party were black?

Anti-racist writer and activist, Tim Wise, once again demonstrates why is "One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation," according to Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. In this recent CNN interview Wise asks a relevant and thought-provoking question: "What if the Tea Party were black?"

As noted on

If the Tea Party was Black they would be assassinated by police and infiltrated by COINELPRO. Fox News would demonize them as anti-American radicals and their leaders would be arrested. If Black people would spit on white lawmakers and started forming militias, the right wing would call for Apartheid type laws.


vavaughn said...

april 5th Gallop poll:
6% of the tea party supporters are Black and 21% are non-Black "others". Tim Wise's question is the same raised often by the same Whites who are prone to talk about someone "pulling the race card". It redirects folks attention from the "what" to the "who". If the reality of the who is obfuscated, then the motives can be more easily questioned and the issue totlly lost. The "who" according to the Gallop/USA Today poll looks a lot like us. We are not spitting on anyone and neither were the vast majority of the people at the party including the minorities who have not been shown (it just isn't good tv). That being the case, is it possible for us to hear the message and adress it, accepting or rejecting it based on it's merit or lack of merit?

Sylvester Brown, Jr. said...

The poll is interesting, Van but I think deviates from the point Tim tried to make. I believe he's talking about perception. Although, I haven't seen the poll numbers reflected in any of the Tea Party rallies or marches, I don't doubt that some blacks and "non-minorities" are involved. But keep in mind, there were whites involved with SCLC, CORE and other civil rights groups that met vicious resistance from police officers. In other words, the group that is perceived majority black will receive slanderous coverage in the media and sometimes violent resistance from government authorities. Since the it's perceived that the tea party group is majority white, the media's coverage is more balanced and there is has been no over-aggressive reaction from the police. I think Tim was pointing out how white privilege is at play (once again) in this movement. Respectfully, Sylvester

vavaughn said...

I see your point. White privilege continues to be ubiquitous and more subversive than the days of Stokely and Martin and the Selma/Montgomery march because it has become more subtle. I do not believe that Mr. Wise is advocating calling in Jim Crow with his dogs and fire hoses as a response to the tea parties and there is no way back machine to erase those things from the past. My point is what if we have civil discourse as we pray for and follow our elected leaders.
With great mutual respect,

Sylvester Brown, Jr. said...

Actually, Van, I recognize your point. I must remember to practice civil discourse as I hope for sanity and brotherhood. As much as I preach about not giving in to stereotypes and fear of the unknown, you remind me that I must follow my own advice. As I recognize familiar rhetoric between the tea partiers and those who staunchly defended segregation and white privilege in the past, I must also remember that these people grapple with their own levels of fear,paranoia and misunderstanding about our commonalities. Thanks for the humble reminder. -- Sylvester