Many believed that the election of Barack Obama brought to a close the long, painful, and ugly history of race and racism in the United States. But as the incident with Henry Louis Gates last summer, and the more recent outbursts of the Tea Party activists suggest, racial divisions remain. Which is closer to the truth? A recent survey directed by University of Washington political scientist Christopher Parker, finds that America is definitely not beyond race. For instance, the Tea Party, the incipient movement that claims to be committed to reining in what they perceive as big government, appears to be motivated by more than partisanship and ideology. Approximately 45% of Whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy. Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different. While 54% of White Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them intelligent, and even fewer, 42% of Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy. When it comes to gays and lesbians, White Tea Party supporters also hold negative attitudes. Only 36% think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17% are in favor of same-sex marriage.
Glad to see the poll confirms the other evidence of teabagger racism. You know, the constant drumbeat of racist slogans, signs, and e-mails. Plus the laughter and praise for these examples of racism. And the almost complete lack of disgust or condemnation of them.
For more on the subject, see Teabaggers = Hatemongers, Klansmen, Militias, and Teabaggers, and Teabaggers Want Doddering White Guy. For a historical overview of the subject, see Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, and Christian Patriots.
Below: Some of the teabaggers' greatest hits.
Are Tea Partiers Racist?
Ever since the Tea Party phenomenon gathered steam last spring, it has been plagued by charges of racism. Placards at rallies have depicted President Barack Obama as a witch doctor, denounced his supposed plans for "white slavery," and likened Congress to a slave owner and the taxpayer to a "n----r." Opponents have seized on these examples as proof that Tea Partiers are angry white folks who can't abide having a black president. Supporters, on the other hand, claim that the hateful signs are the work of a small fringe and that they unfairly malign a movement that simply seeks to rein in big government. In the absence of empirical evidence to support either characterization, the debate has essentially deadlocked.
Until now, that is. A new survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality offers fresh insight into the racial attitudes of Tea Party sympathizers. "The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability"—25 percent, to be exact—"of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters," says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. "The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race."
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