Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Republican Racism Example #49: Making Fun Of "The Coloreds"

Still not convinced that the Tea Party – with all its Birthers and its signs that depict Obama as a monkey and a traitorous secret Muslim – harbors racists?  

Consider one major former Tea Party leader: Mark Williams.

The San Francisco Bay-area hate radio host called President Obama an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug."  In a July 2010 blog post Williams said that African American slavery had been a “great gig.”

 Mark Williams: Right-wing radio host and Tea Party Express leader who suggested that "coloreds" should have been grateful because slavery had been "a great gig."  (Photo from http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-07-18/news/27070288_1_mark-williams-mosque-ground-zero).

Williams served as spokesman for the Tea Party Express. a powerful national movement that has poured millions into the campaigns of right-wing Republicans. He made his comments regarding slavery in a blog post after the NAACP passed a resolution asking Tea Party groups, which formed in opposition to President Obama's 2009 stimulus package and his efforts to reform health care, to expel racists from their organization. Williams wrote his post as a “satirical letter” from “coloreds” to Abraham Lincoln.  As the New York Daily News reported:

“In the voice of slaves, Williams wrote: ‘Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house.
‘We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!’
‘He went on to say blacks don't want taxes cut because "how will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn?’” Williams became a leader of the Tea Party Federation, an umbrella group that aimed to coordinate the actions of 65 different Tea Party organizations across the country.  His Tea Party Express group was kicked out of the federation when the Express organization refused to fire Williams.

The Tea Party Express was founded in California in 2009 by Republican political consultants Howard Kaloogian and Sal Russo.  The group contributed about $250,000 to the failed Delaware Senate campaign of Christine O'Donnell in 2010 and more than $500,000 the same year to support Sharon Angle in her unsuccessful bid against Democrat Harry Reid.  (See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/us/politics/19russo.html)

After his "slavery letter" became news, Williams would not even issue the standard non-apology apology where someone says they are sorry if “anyone is offended.”  Instead he dismissed the controversy as much ado about nothing.   He accused those making an issue of his blog post of “grandstanding.”  Williams later resigned from the Tea Party Express.

Williams also instigated much of anger against the opening of a Muslim community center in Manhattan - the falsely labeled "Ground Zero Mosque." (See http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-07-18/news/27070288_1_mark-williams-mosque-ground-zero). He labelled the proposed center a "temple to terrorists" and said it would be used so Muslims could worship their "monkey god." (See http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-now/2010/05/mark_williams_the_monkey_god_a.html).

(For more on Birthers, see  http://republicanracism.blogspot.com/2012/02/republican-racism-example-29-that-whole_28.html.  For more on right-wing Republican depictions of Obama as an ape or monkey, see http://republicanracism.blogspot.com/2012/03/republican-racism-example-40-new-york.html.  For more on the right-wing perception that Obama is a secret Muslim, see http://republicanracism.blogspot.com/2012/03/republican-racism-example-35-those.html). 

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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