Black Public Scholars

March 23, 2010

News: Michael Steele Bows to the Tea Baggers

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

The Tea Party Protesters might need a little bit of brand management to overcome the growing perception that they represent a racist, homophobic, extremist fringe of disgruntled voters. The most recent incident of very bad PR came this week, as a small group of Tea Party protesters gathered on Capitol Hill and yelled "n*gger" and "f*ggot" at members of Congress as they walked past the crowd. The group has taken heat for the actions of those who don’t know how to be cordial in their discourse, and it’s not good for the Republican Party.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was put in yet another awkward position, trying to defend that which is not defensible. A man who appears to be disrespected at every turn by his own party, Steel dismissed those using the n-word within the Tea Party group as "idiots out there saying stupid things." Of course, Steele was not in a position to dismiss the Tea Partiers themselves, likely because they would have put him in a pile with the other black people they hate the most.

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