Monthly Archives: May 2010

The “Racist Tea Parties” debate

My RealClearPolitics.com column, Tea parties racist?  Not so fast, has drawn not one but two responses on Salon.com.  The first is from Prof. Christopher Parker, a political scientist at the University of Washington and the lead investigator on the study of the racial attitudes of Tea Party supporters on which my column was largely based.  The second is from Salon.com editor Joan Walsh, whose article based on Parker’s findings, “The Tea Partiers’ racial paranoia,” I  mentioned and criticized in the column.

When Prof. Parker’s study was first released, it was widely discussed as evidence that the Tea Party movement was driven in large part by racism.   The proof was in the numbers: as Salon.com’s David Jarman summed it up, in a “Who are the tea partiers” article that for some reason can no longer be found at its original URL,

Among whites who approve of the Tea Party, only 35 percent said they believe blacks are hard-working, only 45 percent believe blacks are intelligent, and just 41 percent believe that they’re trustworthy.

Salon.com editor Joan Walsh, whose article also seems to have disappeared but is cached here, sarcastically inquired,

And Tea Party supporters don’t like it when anyone notices the racists in their midst?

As I found when I obtained a fuller set of numbers from Prof. Parker (by now, all the data are on the UW website), the actual picture was far more complex.  Continue reading

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Filed under conservatism, race, U.S. politics