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Sarah Palin rebuts NAACP charge of Tea Party racism

July 14, 2010 |  1:22 am

Sarah and Todd Palin

Using her favored and unorthodox means of communicating with nearly 2 million followers via her Facebook page, Sarah Palin Tuesday night expressed sadness over an as yet unpublished NAACP convention resolution accusing Tea Party activists of tolerating racist elements in their midst.

The former Republican governor of Alaska, who appears to be positioning herself for a possible run at the 2012 GOP presidential nomination using the disgruntled Tea Party's concerns over expanding and fiscally irresponsible government as a major portion of her base, said:

I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow “racists.” The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.

Earlier Tuesday at its annual convention, the NAACP passed a resolution after mostly closed debate that a spokesman described as calling "on the Tea Party and all people of good will to repudiate the racist element and activities within the Tea Party."

Such a hot-button statement was certain to insert the old organization into the week's news flow as it seeks to stay relevant among numerous looming economic and Latino issues. And Palin's unsolicited response had the same effect for her.

Normally, The Ticket would publish the text of the controversial resolution here. But the group ...

... will not release it until its board passes on a final version in October. The complete text of Palin's statement appears below.

However, Ben Jealous, the association's newly elected president (see photo below), was an outspoken critic of the political protest movement this week, saying it divides the country and "represents a small and dying demographic."

Jealous added: 'It's time for the Tea Party to be responsible members of this democracy and make sure they don't tolerate bigots or bigotry among their members."

Late Tuesday, Tea Party favorite Palin posted her response. Among other things, she said:

It seemed that with the election of our first black president, our country had become a new “post-racial” society. ... We, as a united people, applauded that sentiment. We were proud of that progress. That’s why it is so sad to see that 18 months later, the NAACP is once again using the divisive language of the past to unfairly accuse the Tea Party movement of harboring “racist elements. ...

The only purpose of such an unfair accusation of racism is to dissuade good Americans from joining the Tea Party movement or listening to the common sense message of Tea Party Americans who simply want government to abide by our Constitution, live within its means, and not borrow and spend away our children’s futures. Red and yellow, black and white, this message is precious in all our sights.

Palin said she had just returned from a few days of visiting a remote Alaskan village with the family of her husband, Todd, who is a Yupik Eskimo.

"In the decades that our families have blended," Palin wrote, "I have never heard one proud, patriotic member judge another member based on skin color. Both Todd and I were raised to measure a person according to their capacity and willingness to love, work, forgive, contribute and show good character. We’re joined by the vast majority of Americans in this belief."

Full text of Palin's statement below.

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The Charge of Racism: It’s Time to Bury the Divisive Politics of the Past

I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow “racists.” The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.

President Reagan called America’s past racism “a legacy of evil” against which we have seen the long struggle of minority citizens for equal rights. He condemned any sort of racism, as all good and decent people do today. He also called it a “point of pride for all Americans” that as a nation, we have successfully struggled to overcome this evil. Reagan rightly declared that “there is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country,” and he warned that we must never go back to the racism of our past.

His words rang especially true in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 presidential election. It seemed that with the election of our first black president, our country had become a new “post-racial” society. As one writer in the Washington Post stated: “[Barack Obama’s] election isn’t just about a black president. It’s about a new America. The days of confrontational identity politics have come to an end.”
NAACP President Ben Jealous
We, as a united people, applauded that sentiment. We were proud of that progress. That’s why it is so sad to see that 18 months later, the NAACP is once again using the divisive language of the past to unfairly accuse the Tea Party movement of harboring “racist elements.”

Having been on the receiving end of a similar spurious charge of racism (in a recent frivolous lawsuit which was finally dismissed by a federal judge), I know how Tea Party Americans feel to be falsely accused. To be unjustly accused of association with what Reagan so aptly called that “legacy of evil” is a traumatizing experience, and one of which the honest, freedom-loving patriots of the Tea Party movement are truly undeserving.

On this subject, I can recommend the statement issued by a man I was proud to endorse, Tim Scott, the GOP candidate from South Carolina’s First Congressional District. Tim, poised to become the first African-American Republican Congressman from the former Confederacy since Reconstruction, is himself a sign of a hopeful, truly post-racial future for our country. It gives added meaning to his warning that “the NAACP is making a grave mistake in stereotyping a diverse group of Americans who care deeply about their country and who contribute their time, energy and resources to make a difference.”

The only purpose of such an unfair accusation of racism is to dissuade good Americans from joining the Tea Party movement or listening to the common sense message of Tea Party Americans who simply want government to abide by our Constitution, live within its means, and not borrow and spend away our children’s futures. Red and yellow, black and white, this message is precious in all our sights. All decent Americans abhor racism. No one wants to be associated with any organization that is in any way racist in sentiment or origin. I certainly don’t want to be. Thankfully, the Tea Party movement is not racist or motivated by racism. It is motivated by love of country and all that is good and honest about our proud and diverse nation.

Like President Reagan, Tea Party Americans believe that “the glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past.” Isn’t it time we put aside the divisive politics of the past once and for all and celebrate the fact that neither race nor gender is any longer a barrier to achieving success in America – even in achieving the highest office in the land?

I just spent a few beautiful Alaskan days with some beautiful Americans in my husband’s birthplace – they are Todd’s family and they are Yupik Eskimo. In the decades that our families have blended, I have never heard one proud, patriotic member judge another member based on skin color. Both Todd and I were raised to measure a person according to their capacity and willingness to love, work, forgive, contribute, and show good character. We’re joined by the vast majority of Americans in this belief whereby we measure a man by his character, not his color. Because of amazing efforts and accomplishments by those who came before my generation, it is foreign to us to consider condemning or condoning anyone’s actions based on race or gender. Being with our diverse family in a melting pot that is a Native village just days ago reminded me of that.

So to leave that remote village and return back to “modern civilization” only to hear of the NAACP’s resolution today suggesting that we Tea Party Americans don’t respect equality makes me sad for those who choose to divide these great United States. It is time to end the divisive politics. -- Sarah Palin

Photos: Getty Images; Lawrence Jackson / Associated Press (Jealous).

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