Tea Party Follower Defends Movement

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A Columbus follower of the Tea Party is defending the movement from charges that the group tolerates racist behavior. The NAACP’s charge against the Tea Party comes as the civil rights organization is taking heat of its own for supporting the resignation of a federal official for alleged racial comments.

Driving park resident Alicia Healy stands by the Tea Party and the group’s position on less government and lower taxes.

“The tea party movement is not a racist movement. The tea party movement is a movement that wants to get government back to what it’s instituted to do. To stop the spending, you know it’s just spending, spending money that we don’t have,” explained Healy.

Healy has been a Republican for 20 years. She admits there are not many other African Americans like her within the party, but she insists she has not seen any Tea Party followers make racist comments at rallies.

“The Tea party has always since I’ve supported it. I’ve never had any evidence or seen any evidence of racial slurs or anything since I’ve been attending,” defended Healy.

President of the Columbus Branch of the NAACP, Noel Williams last week attended the organization’s convention and voted along with all of the other delegates to pass a resolution asking the Tea Party to repudiate racism.

“There are factions within the Tea Party or that align themselves with the Tea Party that spew racist remarks. And what the NAACP is saying is look you really need to come out publicly and denounce that,” Williams said.

Ohio State University history professor , Hasan Kwame Jeffries says television coverage shows some Tea party followers hold prejudiced viewpoints.

“You can look at any of those Capitol Hill rallies that various members of the Tea Party movement were participating in and look at the vitriolic language that was being used. The signs featuring Obama dressed as some mythic witch doctor,” explained Jeffries.

Jeffries says the few numbers of minorities shown at the rallies illustrate that the Tea Party is not attractive to non-whites.

“If this was a Democratic movement, if this was a movement that did not appear to be racist in any way, shape or form or appeal to the racist instincts, racial insensitivity, racial hostility, you would have far more African Americans supporting it,” added Jeffries.

While the Tea Party confronts controversy, the NAACP is fighting some of its own. A black employee of the U.S. Agriculture Department, Shirley Sherrod who resigned Monday over remarks that were labeled racist by a conservative blogger. It turns out the comments were taken out of context; The NAACP admitted the clip did not tell the full story and the White House has apologized.

The NAACP’s Noel Williams says the voters in November will have the last say on who they support- candidates who stand with the Tea Party or those with the NAACP.