Black Caucus Blast Tea Party as Racist, Offensive to Minorities
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, frustrated with high unemployment in the black community, accused the Tea Party of harboring racist intentions in its efforts to recommend cost-cutting measures in the federal budget.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), speaking at a town hall meeting in Florida, accused the Tea Party of inhibiting meaningful change for African Americans and minorities and attributed their effort to a racist mentality.
"This is the effort we are seeing of Jim Crow,” a frustrated Carson said. “Some of these folks in Congress would love to see us as second-class citizens; some of them in Congress right now - of this Tea Party movement - would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree. Some of them in Congress are comfortable with where we were 50 and 60 years ago."
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) also told the crowd "all of us know racism" as he spoke of how the Tea Party has redirected the Republican Party's agenda.
Carson and Hastings' comments are only the latest in a succession of racially-tinged remarks against Tea Party Republicans. Prior to his remarks, fellow CBC member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) told the Tea Party to "go straight to hell."
Rep. Allen West (R –Fla.), a black member of the Tea Party, condemned Carson's language stating, "When you start using words like lynching – I was born and raised in Georgia; my folks were from southern Georgia, born in 20s and 30s – that's a very reprehensible word and I think we should move away from that kind of language."
West is not the only black Tea Party member to call foul.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a member of South Central Los Angeles Tea Party, has demanded that CBC members apologize for their rhetoric.
He has also blasted the CBC for using its "For the People" Jobs Initiative tour to cast blame rather than offer a fix for the black community's problems
"The CBC's town hall meeting[s] have been nothing more than political pep rall[ies] to motivate the Democrat's base by blaming the tea party for President Barack Obama's failures," said Peterson.
West agreed. "I think what you see is a desire to not recognize some of the serious problems in the black community," he told Fox News.
The unemployment rate within the African-American community is currently at 15.9 percent. West said the unemployment rate among black teens is nearly 40 percent.
West accused caucus members of scapegoating the Tea Party in order to avoid the real problems troubling many black Americans.
"The Tea Party really stands for some basic, core constitutional principles and that means efficient, constitutionally-mandated government, fiscally-responsible national government, national security and our free market and free enterprise," he said.
Carson's spokesman, Jason Tomcsi, told The Washington Post, "The congressman used strong language because the Tea Party agenda jeopardizes our most vulnerable and leaves them without the ability to improve their economic standing."
He added, "The Tea Party is protecting its millionaire and oil company friends while gutting critical services that they know protect the livelihood of African-Americans, as well as Latinos and other disadvantaged minorities...We are talking about child nutrition, job creation, job training, housing assistance, and Head Start, and that is just the beginning. A child without basic nutrition, secure housing, and quality education has no real chance at a meaningful and productive life."
Peterson, however, believes the CBC's comments are little more than rhetoric meant to deflect blame and rally African Americans to their side.
He said of Water's "straight to hell" remark, "Maxine Waters helped cripple the U.S. economy by pushing home loans to people who couldn't afford them. Water's rant damning the Tea Party is an attempt to fire up her base and shore up support."
Peterson went on to say, "Rep. Carson, Waters, and other members of the CBC don't care about the black community or the nation at large. They are using the town halls to directly lie to the black community so that they will remain in a hypnotic trance and stay on the Democrat's plantation."
West said during the Wednesday broadcast that he would reconsider his membership in the caucus. His congressional office would not respond to The Christian Post's inquiry regarding his statement, but said they are considering submitting a letter to the CBC this evening.