Keith Olbermann Calls Out Teapartiers on Racism
February 16, 2010
(ChattahBox)—During Monday’s show Keith Olbermann pointed out the obvious: that the anti-Obama, anti-government anger exhibited in the tea party movement, is not based on reality, it’s based on racism and fear of our first black president. If there was any doubt, the racism and xenophobia displayed by the speakers at the tea party’s first national convention in Nashville, brought the stark racism of the mostly white middle aged teapartiers front and center. When former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo railed against “the cult of multiculturalism,” while invoking the insidious specter of Jim Crow literacy tests to deprive blacks of the right to vote, the room of nearly 1000 teapartiers cheered him on. And Joseph Farah, birther and right-wing fringe conspiracy theorist attacked the legitimacy of President Obama, asserting that he is not a natural born citizen, and the tea party members applauded his offensive racist slurs. Sarah Palin, the keynote speaker and perhaps, a 2012 Republican presidential hopeful, shared the stage with birther Joseph Farah, whom announced that Jesus had a clearer lineage than Obama, and no one even blinked.
During Kieth Olbermann’s special comment on racism in the tea party movement, he pointed out the lily white membership of the tea party and called out the tea party movement to explain the absence of minorities.
Olbermann also noted that the many reasons cited by teapartiers for their anti-government anger are simply not grounded in reality. They are angry about the federal deficit, but they were silent when the Bush administration racked up one of the largest deficits in history. And they claim they are overburdened with taxation, but the Obama administration cut the taxes of 95 percent of Americans.
So, Olbermann correctly points out that the tea party movement’s fears and attacks on President Obama as a Socialist, Marxist and Nazi stem from racism:
“Fatal racism, passive racism, self-rationalized racism. It all blended together for me yesterday, and it led me to think about the Tea Party group, who they are, who they aren’t, and what they’re afraid of. The whole of the “anger at government” movement is predicated on this. Times are tough, the future is confusing, the threat from those who would dismantle our way of life is real (as if we weren’t to some extent doing it for them). And the president is black. But you can’t come out and say that’s why you are scared. Say that, and in all but the lifeless fringes of our society, you are an outcast.
And so this is where the euphemisms come in. Your taxes haven’t gone up, the budget deficit is from the last administration’s adventurer’s war, Grandma is much more likely to be death-paneled by your insurance company, and a socialist president would be one who tried to buy as many voters as possible with tax cuts.
But facts don’t matter when you’re looking for an excuse to say you hate this president (but not because he’s black). Anything you can say out loud without your family and friends bursting into laughter at you, will do. And I know, if I could listen only to Lincoln on this of all days — about the better angels of our nature — I’d know that what we’re seeing at the Tea Parties is, at its base… people who are afraid.
Terribly, painfully, cripplingly, blindingly… afraid.
But let me ask all of you who attend these things:
How many black faces do you see at these events?
How many Hispanics? Asians? Gays?
Where are these people?
Surely there must be blacks who think they’re being bled by taxation.
Surely there must be Hispanics who think the government should’ve let the auto industry fail.
Surely there must be people of all colors and creeds who believe in cultural literacy tests and speaking English.
Where are they?
Where are they?”