On Tuesday’s broadcast of Thomas Robert’s 11 a.m. MSNBC program, NAACP President Emeritus Julian Bond defended the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party groups, which he described as “admittedly racist.”
“I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party,” said Bond, whose group was audited by the IRS during the Bush administration. “I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who’ve tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can. I don’t think there are correct parallels between these incidents. It was wrong for the IRS to behave in this heavy-handed manner. They didn’t explain it well before or now what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. But there are no parallels between these two.”
Roberts asked Bond if he thought these revelations might revive the tea party, which has seen its influence decline since the 2010 midterm elections.
“I hope not,” he replied. “I hope they don’t get any more air. You know, they are the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them.”
Roberts asked if comparing the tea party to the Taliban was “a little harsh,” but Bond declined to back off his remarks.
“Not at all — the truth may hurt, but it’s the truth,” Bond said.
Maybe I was drunk that day, but I don’t recall the Tea Party admitting they were racist. Anybody got a link on that?
This story is really disappointing. When a prominent civil rights leader endorses denying someone their civil rights it is very disturbing. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are both civil rights. So is the right to equal protection under the law.
I don’t believe that the Tea Party is racist, even if some of their members probably are. Put together a large group of people and you’ll find a few nutjobs in the mix. Even if they were, racism is odious but it’s not illegal.
The government cannot discriminate based on ideology or viewpoint. As long as they break no laws we have to tolerate people and groups whose beliefs we find disgusting. When they break the law we punish those specific offenses and no more.
I am really sick of the notion that freedom and civil rights are only for people we agree with. I hope Bond’s comments do not represent a new, “non-defensive” use of the race card.