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Protesters debate race outside RNC HQ

By Krissah Thompson
Dani McClain stood behind a lectern on the sidewalk in front of the Republican National Committee's Capitol Hill headquarters and demanded that its chairman "stop stoking the hate." It was noon Thursday.

"We're asking the Republican Party's leadership to address the venomous rhetoric coming from their grass-roots supporters," she told a dozen supporters on their lunch breaks and a media scrum gathered for the rally called by ColorofChange.org, an online political organizing group for African Americans. "Republicans have done almost nothing to tamp down this dangerous atmosphere and have even egged protesters on."

She listed the racial and homophobic slurs yelled at members of Congress on their way to vote on a health-care bill and the spate of vandalism against Democrats last week. Then, she cited a series of what her group sees as the Republican leadership's tacit approval of the angry protests of health care and big government by members of the "tea party." "After the health-care vote, Michael Steele told Fox News, 'Let's start getting Nancy [Pelosi] ready for the firing line this November.' Sarah Palin told her supporters, 'Don't retreat, instead, reload."

While the cameras were rolling, Jordan Marks, who was on his lunch break, too, stepped up beside McClain and held up a message of his own. It was on a handwritten sign: "You can't politicize race. Race baiting = racism. Be ashamed!"

McClain, who is a Color of Change staff member, tried to ignore him. Then, he heckled her. "What about the bullet in Eric Cantor's office? Are you going to mention that?"

She glared at him. "Excuse me," she said tersely.

Color of Change supporters stepped in front of Marks and held up signs saying "GOP: Stop Stoking the Hate" and "Steele: Rein in the Hate." They covered Marks's sign and, then, covered his face.

Some in the crowd giggled.

But McClain didn't mention the bullet through Cantor's office, which police determined was a stray bullet, or the arrest this week of a man who had threatened on YouTube to harm the Virginia Republican. GOP leaders have said that they condemn violence and asked voters angry about the passage of the health-care overhaul to direct their emotion into political organizing.

Katie K. Wright, the RNC's deputy communications director, said, "The RNC has long maintained that hate and violence has no place within the political arena."

Those statements are not enough, McClain said. "Our issue is that the Republican Party needs to take responsibility," she said. "They are benefiting from these groups. It's their grass-roots support."

Members of the liberal groups MoveOn.org and Brave New Films backed her up, handing out DVDs, which captured people at tea party protests holdings signs that read "Obama's Plan -- White Slavery" and "Guns Tomorrow!"

Passersby on their lunch hour stopped to gawk.

Marks, who was one of the speakers at the tea party convention in Tennessee this winter, thought McClain was being unfair. "We need to move on," he said. "There are racists in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. A few people does not make the group racist."

The more he listened to McClain, the angrier he got. "This is disgusting!" yelled Marks."They are highlighting only a few incidents. The tea party is not a racist movement."

Undeterred, McClain approached RNC security guards and delivered 341,345 petitions signed by her group's membership and asked for a meeting with the RNC chairman, Steele. He did not come down, so she left the petitions.

"We need to them to acknowledge that this is happening within their own ranks," McClain said before ending the rally.

"We need to move on," Marks said, once his protest of the protest was over. "This event is about playing a race card and promoting people who will use race as a wedge issue."

The lunch hour had ended, and they all returned to work.

By Multiplatform Editor  |  April 1, 2010; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

"Where have you people been? Check the voting record of these repubs for the last 50 years. If they had their way we would all be slaves except for the extreme rich. They have voted against social security, medicare, minimum wage, VA bill of rights and now health care. How could any hourly working man or woman with an ounce of common sense vote for any repub?????

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | April 2, 2010 11:02 PM |"

Unfortunately, reinstating slavery is exactly what some corporations and republicans have done. Most slave owners would feed, clothe, house and even provide some medical attention (substandard at best). Now when a certain percentage of Americans don't make enough to properly feed, clothe, house themselves and can't afford decent healthcare, we're not that far off from 300 years ago.

The Massey mine that exploded recently is a non-union mine. Many non-union miners are convinced that inspectors are the "enemy" because they slowed down production when they were there. The miners put up and shut up or are out of a job that barely pays subsistence wages even though the work is very dangerous.

Don't fool yourselves. Some corporations ARE practicing slavery in 2010.

Posted by: InReasonWeTrust1 | April 8, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"It's funny how much the election of Obama has exacerbated racial tensions in this country."


No- what's REALLY funny is how racial tensions are exacerbated by those whites who FEAR the election of Obama and the "message" it sends....no more rape, rob, pillage for white terrorists at will....

Posted by: logcabnnut | April 7, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Who are you kidding, conservative propagandists and apologists? Go to any Gun(nut) show- think they're a lot of liberals there? Probably not, but confederate flags are not uncommon. See any left-wing militias playing "Revolution" in the woods? As to whether you are racist or not, just let the camera pan over your rallies and conventions- be it GOP or Tea party- pretty monochrome. Why is it "people of color" tend to avoid those gatherings and groups? Kinda like they avoided Selma, Alabama in the 60's. Racists don't flock to the banner of the Democratic party- not with a black president, and an agenda that champions the civil rights of EVERYONE- so WHERE DO THEY GO????

Yes, I believe there is a nucleus of folks that are genuinely upset over the policies being enacted- but you've made a deal with the devil, in order to swell your numbers- and now your movement has been hi-jacked by others whom have a different focus with objectives that have little or nothing to do with your agenda- what's more unpardonable, you're not "Cleaning house"- which is the equivalent of tacitly enorsing them. They talk "guns" and talk about "taking back THEIR country" from the administration that was lawfully elected under the democratic and constitutional principles they claim they stand for.

If you stand by, and let this continue, you will reap the whirlwind- do not be mistaken, there are plenty of people on the left prepared to defend the territory gained and the advances fought for the diginity of ALL Americans. It isn't as if we've forgotten The sheet-wearing, jim-crow loving folks that were much more obvious in our childhoods, or the white-anglo-saxon-dominated society that denied others "a place at the table", or a place on television, elected office, a place in certain neighborhoods or professions. If you think you're going to restore that system- then you BETTER arm yourselves, because we are not surrendering OUR FREEDOM, OUR RIGHTS, or OUR place at the table without resisting you at every turn, on every street- from house-to-house.

What's more- you think the professional military officers, or the majority of law enforcement officials- all from institutions which are VERY integrated, will answer the call to race, or the call to country and constitution? You miscalculated in 1861, but a miscalculation now would be disasterous.

Posted by: interactidiomas | April 3, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

ModerateVoter, since you want to talk unemployment check this fact out. Jan. 2008 we were losing over 4,000 jobs per day and in Dec. 2008 we were losing over 28,000 jobs per day. After 8 years of "POLICIES AND CORRUPTION OF THE BUSH ADM>" the snowball was already headed for HELL and it will take some good democrat policies to reverse it.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | April 2, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Where have you people been? Check the voting record of these repubs for the last 50 years. If they had their way we would all be slaves except for the extreme rich. They have voted against social security, medicare, minimum wage, VA bill of rights and now health care. How could any hourly working man or woman with an ounce of common sense vote for any repub?????

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | April 2, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how much the election of Obama has exacerbated racial tensions in this country.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | April 2, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Facing 10% unemployment, did Obama make jobs a priority? No, he chose to spend a year fighting for a healthcare system that takes money and access to medical care away from older, working white people and gives it to young poor minorities. He chose to spend a year fighting to create an even bigger government that exists to redirect the taxes of white working people to poor non-white people.

Forgot about the Stimlus package did ya?

Just white people have to pay? and it only goes to no-whites? Man my Hispanic neighbor must be laughing his butt off..

oh wait your just an idiot nevermind.

Posted by: ModerateVoter | April 2, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Know this; Washington DC, you serve us and did not listen. You have not yet seen the 'hate' we feel for you but you shall. Democrats, your day is done and you shall never again know the power you now have. Republicans, if you are lucky you may survive. Federal government; you may survive. If the grassroots let you. We may decide we no longer need you. I know I don't and never did.

Posted by: OdinsAcolyte | April 2, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not nervous about a bi-racial President, a woman Speaker of the House, or a Hispanic Supreme Court justice because of their race, sex, or ethnicity, all of which are irrelevant to whether they are a good President, Speaker, or Justice. I'm nervous about a far-left President, a far-left Speaker, and a far-left Justice. It's about politics and nothing else. That conservatives backed (and still do) Clarence Thomas for Justice, back Sarah Palin (a woman) for President, and are back Marco Rubio (a Hispanic) for Senate in Florida clearly demonstrate that the vast majority of conservatives don't care about the race, sex, or ethnicity of the people that they support.

Posted by: Question_Assumptions | April 2, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, those magnanimous on the magnanimous and compassionate left have a very clever way of denying that any black people are on the right or support the Tea Party protests. They claim that are not "authentic". It's the equivalent of a white supremacist calling someone a "race traitor" and shares the same mindset, tone, and motivation.

Posted by: Question_Assumptions | April 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

A $10,000 and then a $100,000 reward has been offered for *any* evidence that "racial and homophobic slurs yelled at members of Congress" and despite the fact that many cameras were recording the event and some if the recordings have been reviewed, there is no evidence that any "racial and homophobic slurs" were "yelled at members of Congress" by the Tea Party protesters.

In short, it never happened. It's simply a smear by people who are interested in slandering their opponents to shut them up. And that the mainstream media continues to repeat the slander as if it's true, with absolutely no evidence that it is true, is indefensible.

Posted by: Question_Assumptions | April 2, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"That some white males are nervous about a bi-racial President, a woman speaker of the house, a new Hispanic Supreme Court justice, etc. But for to blame Obama or the Democratic Party for it is pure idiocy. Wake and up and smell the future. Repugs may gain a short term advantage by playing up racial fears but it in the long run they are playing a losing game."
*************************************

Thank you, Dr. Subtle, for helping Mr. Brimelow make his point! You are clearly looking forward to the subjugation of the white middle class.

Posted by: pmendez | April 2, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Nicely written. For once, I cannot obviously tell the sympathies of the Washington Post writer. A fine bit of writing that provokes thought, in part, because it is so balanced.

And I, for one, enjoy mocking zealots on both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | April 2, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Will people stop saying "tow the line." Where are you towing it? The phrase is "toe the line," and it comes from footraces--to get your toe up to the restraining line.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | April 1, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh brave protesters. Your sacrifice of your lunch break to tow the democratic line of dissent = racism is truly inspiring.

Posted by: FrancisMacomber
---------------------------------
It does inspire the vast majority of Hispanics to not vote GOP.

Posted by: Emmetrope | April 1, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

These black people are not in the Tea Party either, misewicz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcsnWLLdl70

Posted by: EowynR | April 1, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

This is comical.

First, GOP has nothing to do with tea parties.

Second, you should see what 'progressives' are doing to smear and spread hate, especially in states like NH.

Third, when are they going to apologize for all the violence they have perpetrated on tea partiers?

Democrats = the new Taliban... they want to make rules but not follow them themselves. That's retaliation my friend. Redistribution of the wealth is just wrong no matter who is the beneficiary or the victim.

We are all victims of Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: username | April 1, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

So now Krissah Thompson is spreading the lie about racial slurs.

Hey, Krissah, want to be a big shot and get $100,000 reward for the United Negro College Fund? Because there IS a reward offered for proof of anything occurring with those congressmen. Heck, they even brought their OWN cameras and can't prove anything.

There is no evidence, other than what was erroneously reported by your paper.

You have the audacity to link to Paul Kane's article, when the "spitting" he puts in his headline definitely did NOT happen either.

Posted by: EowynR | April 1, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

To the last poster- I was not on a lunch break and took several hours to be at the RNC. But even those who gave up a lunch hour did more than someone like you who scoffs from a computer.

Posted by: silverspring25 | April 1, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Look it seems that the Tea Party is the Al qaeda of political parties, a bunch of loosely affiliated individuals dedicated to bringing down this administration. Furthermore, judging from the price of a ticket one must admit that it is no real grassroots movement, but rather a hijacked movement. I saw this article that demonstrates why this movement will fail to accomplish its goals, I think if you are a tea partier you should read:


http://bit.ly/bMdX8e

Posted by: republicanblack | April 1, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

To the last poster- I was not on a lunch break and took several hours to be at the RNC. But even those who gave up a lunch hour did more than someone like you who scoffs from a computer.

Posted by: silverspring25 | April 1, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The only black person in the Tea Party movement is SCOTUS Just Us Clarence Thomas and he's kind of under the radar screen cause he's married to one of the leaders. But it's questionable if he is an authentic black person.

Posted by: misewicz | April 1, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

let's see, the bullet at cantors office was a ricochet.. and the guy arrested was after Jews, not republicans.

Not that the author of this dribble would mention both things

Posted by: newagent99 | April 1, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

@pmendez, who wrote, "As Peter Brimelow has said, the TEA Party Movement is not a "racist" movement, but it is a "racial" movement."

You forgot to mention that Peter Brimelow is an immigrant from England who opposes immigrant of people of color into the US. Talk about double standards and racism. Shame on you for quoting such a bigot.

That some white males are nervous about a bi-racial President, a woman speaker of the house, a new Hispanic Supreme Court justice, etc. But for to blame Obama or the Democratic Party for it is pure idiocy. Wake and up and smell the future. Repugs may gain a short term advantage by playing up racial fears but it in the long run they are playing a losing game.

Posted by: DrSubtle | April 1, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@pmendez, who wrote, "As Peter Brimelow has said, the TEA Party Movement is not a "racist" movement, but it is a "racial" movement."

You forgot to mention that Petr Brimelow is an immigrant from England who opposes immigrant of people of color into the US. Talk about double standards and racism. Shame on you for quoting such a bigot.

Posted by: DrSubtle | April 1, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

As Peter Brimelow has said, the TEA Party Movement is not a "racist" movement, but it is a "racial" movement.

The election of Barack Obama and his heavy-handed, blatantly race-based agenda of redistributing wealth and power from the white majority to non-white minorities has finally awakened the white middle class.

Facing 10% unemployment, did Obama make jobs a priority? No, he chose to spend a year fighting for a healthcare system that takes money and access to medical care away from older, working white people and gives it to young poor minorities. He chose to spend a year fighting to create an even bigger government that exists to redirect the taxes of white working people to poor non-white people.

White working class people have a REASON to be fearful. When whites become a minority in 2050, they know that there will be no affirmative action for white people, no set-asides or quotas. Not even "White History Month."

Given this bleak outlook, who can blame them for being angry, being scared, and refusing to submit to their disenfranchisement and impoverishment?

Posted by: pmendez | April 1, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are sealing their fate.

Every year the American population becomes less white. Go ahead Republicans, pretend who you are and what you do is just fine with the rest of the country. You have your base, but your base is getting smaller and smaller.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 1, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh brave protesters. Your sacrifice of your lunch break to tow the democratic line of dissent = racism is truly inspiring.

Posted by: FrancisMacomber | April 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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