Racism, Tea Party Paranoia Taints Ky. July 4th Festival

July 4, 2010

(ChattahBox)—-This is libertarian tea party candidate for U.S. Senate, Rand Paul’s stomping grounds. So, a very public display of anti-Obama right-wing paranoia and racism at the Lexington, Kentucky July 4th Festival, should come as no surprise. Still, the specter of vendors wearing and selling T-shirts emblazoned with the message, “Yup, I’m a Racist,” gave people pause. When asked by the Louisville Independent Examiner’s Greg Skilling, the booth workers explained the message refers to their belief that “the government” is branding them as racists, because they support the Constitution, the right to bear arms and the tea party, among other policies. If this makes no sense to you—join the club.

But hmm, let’s think this through: Could their racist message and victimization complaints have something to do with the fact that our nation elected our first black president? What they really are saying is: We don’t like that socialist, secret Muslim black fellow in the White House, so “Yup, I’m a Racist.”

On the flip side of the T-shirt is the message, because:

  • I support the U.S. Constitution.
  • I support free speech.
  • I support the right to bear arms.
  • I support the Bill of Rights.
  • I support capitalism.
  • I support no government bailouts.
  • I support closing the border.
  • I support the military.
  • I support the tea party.
  • I support Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Presumably, “the government” (President Obama) is at odds with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? And how does supporting Jesus Christ leave them open to charges of racism? The mind reels.

Greg Skilling interviewed the booth workers and placed the over 7-minute long diatribe of ignorance and paranoia on YouTube.

The T-shirt vendors’ main gripe centered on the completely baseless belief that Obama is going to take their guns away.

Some of their responses, when asked by Skilling to explain the “Yup, I’m a Racist” message:

“I’m tired of being called a racist,” said a male vendor.

“The government thinks we are [racist] because of what we support,” said a female booth worker.

“We have the right to bear arms, but the government says no you don’t,” said the same female worker.

When Skilling pointed out that a recent Supreme Court decision ruled that they do have a personal right to bear arms, she wasn’t convinced, saying the case was just “one step.”

When asked if she was being called a racist because of her stance on immigration, the woman responded, “It doesn’t have anything to do with immigration. Their taking our rights away.” The unidentified woman then proceeded to go on a bizarre rant concerning “illegals,” Pakistani illegals, that she claims are crossing the Mexican border into the U.S.

One bystander interviewed by Skilling in the video, said the T-shirt was fine with him, because of the vendor’s free speech rights, but he admitted he would be “embarrassed” to be associated with the vendor’s wares.

A reporter for the Herald Leader interviewed John Lang, who was managing the booth and he made just as much sense as the woman railing against the non-existent Pakistanis crossing the Mexican border:

“There also was a booth selling right-wing paraphernalia, such as T-shirts that said “Yup, I’m a racist” on the front. That caught the eye of brothers Chris and Michael Barnett, who didn’t like it. “I think it’s horrible,” Chris said. “I appreciate the controversy, because that’s what this country is founded on, but it’s awful,” Michael said. John Lang, who was staffing the booth, pointed out that the back of the shirts explained that the wearer was racist because he supports the Constitution, free speech, closing borders and a long list of similar things. He was asked what those things had to do with racism. “Because that’s what the government’s been telling us,” he said.”

It’s unclear what company or organization was selling the vitriolic right-wing paraphernalia, but a review of the vendors stationed in front of the Court House Plaza, included Lang T-Shirts. Perhaps John Lang’s business?

Despite the controversy, the booth appeared to enjoy a brisk business. Besides the “Yup, I’m a Racist” T-shirt, the booth sold various anti-Obama and gun paranoia bumper stickers, such as “If you know how many guns you own, you don’t own enough,” “Hitler gave great speeches and had his own symbol too,” “Thank God For FOX NEWS,” Guns and religion, Now more than ever!” and a bumper sticker praying for Obama’s death, “Psalms 109.8, Let his days be few and let another take his office.”

The vendor application for the festival requires applicants to provide detailed information about their merchandise. “When completing the application, please be as specific as possible and note that your application must be approved by the Festival Committee,” reads the application.

And if a vendor’s booth is found to violate the committee’s standards, festival organizers reserved the right to shut it down. “Lexington Festival Committee reserves the right to close any booth selling products unsuitable for a family festival.”

Apparently, proudly donning and selling T-Shirts with the message “Yup, I’m a Racist” is what passes for family entertainment in those parts.


8 Responses to “Racism, Tea Party Paranoia Taints Ky. July 4th Festival”

  1. Humorless Liberals on July 4th, 2010 6:46 pm

    You humorless liberal neanderthal. Racism taints? I don’t think so. The slogan is an OBVIOUS to anyone with a brain, a sarcastic reference to the fact that you and your ilk have so overused the phrase where it doesn’t apply, including regarding Rand Paul, that you are now the source of MUCH RIDICULE and not to be taken seriously anymore.

    Anyone who cries ‘racist’ is similar to the boy who cried wolf.

    Please talk about the issues if you can, and I suspect THAT is what this is about, YOU CAN’T.

    There was also nothing there about anyone’s ‘death’, no matter how you exaggerate it.


    Remember it is YOU who are the party of Robert Byrd esteemed KKK member and those who attempted to block civil rights in the 60s… oh we remember!

    November 2010 can’t come fast enough.

  2. Vanessa on July 5th, 2010 12:51 pm

    “There was also nothing there about anyone’s ‘death’, no matter how you exaggerate it.”
    The very next part of that, Psalms 109:9 ‘May his children become fatherless and his wife a window, may his children wander as beggars and be driven from their ruined home…’

    I would like to invite John Lang to come and set up a booth here in Memphis…maybe next to the Lorraine Motel…a lot of foot traffic!

  3. Sue on July 5th, 2010 1:01 pm


    I really hope you are trying to sound snarky, however misguided.

    For those of you not-in-the-know, the Lorraine Motel is the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.


  4. mr. me on July 5th, 2010 1:55 pm

    typical “in your face” response from the typical “in your face” tea party type…

    ya know, you have every right now, that you did b4 obama was elected. you know this, but you lie. you keep harping about the dreaded future, when they take away all of your rights, but if you are going to blow smoke up peoples *****, you are only motivating your own.

    most all americans realize your talk is ridiculous. you are all a bunch of paranoid worriers, or else you are obstructionist haters. either way, your concerns are totally unfounded, therefore, the message on the tshirt says it all. youre racist.

    keep talking your lies to those who believe them, the very few and th most hateful. in the end you will be sitting alone stewing in your hatred, while the rest of America grows and becomes better.

    i suggest you buy an island where you can start a new racist country. bon voyage!

  5. Ed on July 5th, 2010 3:51 pm

    If you are confused about the events that have preceded these shirts, if you are unaware of the instances of bogus reports of racism at Tea Party rallies or the orchestrated claims of Emanuel Cleaver being spit upon at a health care protest or the $100,000 reward issued by Andrew Brietbart for anyone who could produce a video of said event…CLEARLY YOU WAY TO UNINFORMED TO BE WRITING ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

  6. majii on July 5th, 2010 4:41 pm

    The president has never called anyone a racist. This is more of the Glenda Beck nonsense. These folks don’t seem to examine anything beyond a far rw talking point coming from people like Rush, Beck, and Hannity who don’t have one college degree among them. If President Obama is racist towards white people that would mean that he hated his grandmother. If this were true he would not have raced to her side to see/speak to her in 2008 before she died. It would also mean that he hated his mother, grandfather, aunts, and uncles, even the uncle who accompanied him to honor fallen servicemen/women in Europe on D Day in 2009.

    As a retired educator, I was too busy with my career before I retired last year to witness how unhinged and gullible a certain segment of the American population is to accept any statement on face value without digging a little deeper to determine whether it is true or not. The issue of these shirts and the people who purchase and wear them would seem to indicate that they think they’re making a point. They are, but it’s the wrong one. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be associated in any way with something one claims to not embrace. I’m African American, lived under segregation in this country, lived through the civil rights era, and I’m a Christian of the Baptist sect. The one thing I never embraced was racism, hatred, and discrimination. My parents didn’t allow it. If someone who is white ever called me a racist, I’d never stoop so low as to buy a shirt or any other object with the word on it as a joke, a form of satire, or to promote the interests of a certain group of individuals. Why? Because I have principles and as a Christian, I’m supposed to be an example of Christ’s glory on earth, and I can draw non-believers to Him because they can see Him reflected in how I live my life. In light of the current situation in our country I will continue to ask God to look out for, and bless, our nation.

  7. Bill on July 5th, 2010 5:29 pm

    @majii “The president has never called anyone a racist. This is more of the Glenda Beck nonsense”
    well no, it is more of the Janeane Garofalo thing, and liberal cable political pundit thing, and campaign advisor thing, and liberal blogger thing, etc.

    I think the idea for the T-shirt was a poor idea, and for the same reason you gave. I don’t want to be associated with ideas I don’t embrace.
    But I believe I understand the point they were trying to make. I am not a racist. Yet I am amazed at the number of times I have heard others insinuate I am when I voice my opposition to unsustainable borrowing and spending, or to basing public policy on junk science, or to Congress passing any number of bills for which there is no authority given in the Constitution, or opposition to just about anything else which this administration supports. I know that at least some of the people who play the race card KNOW it is not true about me. And yet they imply it anyway, I think, because it chills speech they don’t like. No one who is not a racist wants to be seen as one. And it makes me angry when it is said about me. It also forces me to defend against the charge. I am sure it causes many people to remain silent rather than have such a thing said about them. And I am sure that is the desired effect.
    So while I cannot read their minds, I think I understand the point they wanted to make.
    I think the point can be summed up this way: “I hold strongly principled positions regarding the basic rights and freedoms garaunteed by the Constitution, and several political positions the present administration holds. I believe in the traditional values I learned in my church. And these have nothing to do with racism, yet many prominent liberal media spokespeople, and liberal politicians falsely claim my principled positions indicate me to be a racist. And I want everyone to know how absurd this is.”
    I do believe it would have been better to have stated it differently on a T-shirt than the way these people decided to do. Something more along the lines of “Loving America, and her founding principles is not racism” would have been better. Or, “My Latin Friends and I Support Border Control Before Reform”, and other such phrases.
    I am not very gifted at creating snappy slogans, and those don’t express the lengthy thought above very well, but I would have gone that route.
    Nevertheless, It is a nasty and stupid thing to wrongly accuse people of racism. These people have plenty to be angry about.

  8. Bill on July 5th, 2010 5:58 pm

    I just read “mr. me”
    Wow, no sir, I think you allow yourself to be blind to that you don’t want to see.
    The Left spews a tremendous amount of invective, insults, and false allegations against conservatives who speak out according to their very real concerns.
    And sometimes they do much worse. Kenneth Gladney, a conservative vendor who was selling political buttons at a Town Hall Meeting was beaten and kicked on the ground by a group of SEIU thugs, and he was called a “ni**er” also.
    What was the response to this incident by the liberal media, on cable television and liberal blogs? He was ridiculed as a “tea bagging drama queen”. It was said that he didn’t get hurt that bad, and it was implied that he deserved what he got.
    His civil rights were abused, but because he is a conservative, the Left pracitcally cheered about it.
    Think about that.
    I have never heard a conservative cable show host spewing such hatred, and gleeful celebration about a racial attack, or any abuse of another’s civil rights, no matter what his political affiliation or ethnicity. Nothing close.
    This particular attack included a racial element as well, and no one on the Left spoke out about it on any of the liberal shows I watched, nor did any of the liberal bloggers I read criticize the attack. They were much freer in their celebrations about it. There are a great number of accounts of this sort concerning the attitude and speach and actions of the Left toward conservatives.
    We on the right are appropriately concerned about this situation.
    The left seems to feel that any means at all is fine for them, since their ends are so “noble”. Don’t you realize that the nature of your means create the end you arrive at?
    And after an event such as the one involving the beating of Mr. Gladney, we hear from the Left that we are racists.
    How would you feel?

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