Politics & Government

Texas Tea Party takes issue with NAACP's racism resolution

As the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People debated a resolution denouncing alleged racism in the Tea Party movement Tuesday, North Texas Tea Party members — and a local civil-rights leader — spoke against the NAACP's actions.

Konni Burton, with the NE Tarrant Tea Party, said the NAACP resolution is simply a diversion.

"The NAACP wants to make the narrative about race so that everyone starts arguing about that and takes their eyes off of the real issues, thus preventing a landslide of conservatives being elected in November," she said. "It won't work."

The Rev. Kyev Tatum, a local organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who fights for civil rights, said he doesn't agree with the position the Tea Party takes on some public policy issues. But he said he doesn't believe that its members are racist.

He said he has been a Democrat and a Republican — even serving as a GOP precinct chairman about five years ago — but now he is an avowed independent who casts votes for candidates, not their parties.

"Some of my friends are members of the Tea Party, and we have decided to agree to disagree on many issues and many positions," said Tatum, a member of the NAACP since 1999. "However, I know without a doubt that they are not racist. They wouldn't be friends with me if they were. ... This is a dangerous position for the NAACP to take."

But state Rep. Marc Veasey said he supports the NAACP's efforts to address what some believe is racism within the grassroots conservative movement.

Veasey, D-Fort Worth, said he does not think all Tea Party members are racist. But he believes that the group's growing frustration and recurring themes — such as "take our country back" — are directed toward the nation's first black president.

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