Race And The Tea Parties

Upset by Charles Blow's characterization of race relations at a tea party event, Conor Friedersdorf has sparked an extended discussion about the tea partiers and racism. Conor:

I am hardly blind to Confederate History Month, or the subset of Southern conservatives whose ideas about race in America are quite wrongheaded. I just think its nonsense to invoke those conservatives in order to defend a New York Times column that Mr. Serwer himself calls “unfair” and “reductive,” or to call someone oblivious because they don’t include in every blog post on race a paragraph that says, “To be sure, it is understandable for a writer to pen a wrongheaded, reductive column attacking conservatives as minstrel show managers given the fact that some other conservatives who are completely uninvolved in this particular controversy hold problematic views on the subject of race.”

Here's part of TNC's response:

A serious campaign of diversity would have to open itself not simply to blacks who are worried about the deficit, and think that health care reform was a bad idea, but those who also think that birtherism is insane, that the notion that Obama favors blacks says more about the beholder than Obama. And then it would have to actually broaden its policy reach--the Drug War and incarceration rates seem like a natural fit. Or even representation for Chocolate City.

Bernstein's take:

I haven't seen too many Tea Parties or Sarah Palin rallies among border Latino communities, or for that matter among "black folks in Mississippi or Hmong in Wisconsin."  I have, however, seen people at Tea Parties and Sarah Palin rallies waving signs that sure looked racist to me, and we've seen rank-and-file conservatives who persist in believing and spreading racially-coded lies about Barack Obama.  From this, I conclude that perhaps at least some Palin and Tea Party fans hear ethnicity when conservatives talk about "real Americans" or talk about "taking back America."  Second of all, those "coastal dwelling white liberals" in places like Hollywood, San Francisco, and New York (all places attacked by name by conservatives)...well, it ain't only about race, now, is it.  Not to mention that there are an awful lot of blacks, Latinos, and Asians in those areas, along with the Jews and the gays and others who don't quite fit into "real America."  Does Friedersdorf really believe that New York is attacked because it's rich, and not because it's...er...um...I think the word I'm looking for is cosmopolitan?  Really?