We're not racist, you racists

by Dave Weigel

The backlash to the NAACP's resolution calling for the tea party movement to renounce racism ended pretty much as I expected -- with the tea partiers grabbing back the megaphone as the NAACP decided not to press the issue. (Indeed, the organization isn't making the full text of the resolution public.) Mark Williams, a former spokesman for the Tea Party Express whose string of extreme statements about the president (he calls him a Muslim) only stopped being a problem when he quit to run for office, calls the NAACP a "racist organization." Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots -- the latter was named one of the "Time 100" this year -- go a bit further.

The NAACP has long history of liberalism and racism. If you are a conservative including a conservative African-American there is no room for you at the NAACP. If you have opinions that differ from the NAACP and the liberal establishment, and if you are African-American, you are an “Uncle Tom,” a “negro,” “not black enough” and “against our people.”

When I said the NAACP's move would backfire, I meant things like this would happen. I didn't mean they were wrong to go down that road. It's just that they should know that calling out a group for "racism" is pointless -- whoever's been targeted will simply claim to have been attacked unfairly and had his free speech threatened. Remember what happened when Eric Holder said that America had been a "nation of cowards" in discussing race. Boom: Backlash. Anger. Debate over why he said it, but not what he meant. A year and change later we have a ridiculous national debate over whether Holder's department hates white people because it won't draw and quarter the New Black Panther Party. This stuff is what he meant, of course. But saying it isn't actually starting the debate. It's pretty obvious that the NAACP failed here.