A wide spectrum of black conservatives expressed outrage Wednesday at Rep. Andre Carson’s remark that tea party members would like to see black people “hanging on a tree” — and some even called on Carson to resign.
During a speech at a recent caucus event in Miami, the Indiana Democrat said conservative members of Congress would “love to see us [blacks] as second-class citizens,” and “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me . . . hanging on a tree.”
Carson, the whip leader of the Congressional Black Caucus responsible for organizing the black vote in Congress, also alleged that tea party activism stems from Jim Crow racism.
“Some of them in Congress are comfortable with where we were 50 or 60 years ago. But this is a new day with a black president and a black congressional caucus.”
Carson spokesman Jason Tomcsi confirmed that Carson made the remarks. Tomcsi told USA Today: “People are frustrated by the inability of Congress to do something about the economy and get people back to work."
Carson’s choice of words provoked a strong backlash.
GOP Rep. Allen West, the only Republican member of the caucus, blasted Carson’s remarks as “reprehensible” during an interview on “Fox and Friends.”
“I think I’m reconsidering my membership in the Congressional Black Caucus,” West told “Fox and Friends” host Steve Doocy.
Underscoring his objections, West sent a letter today to Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver in which he said, in part: "It is unconscionable when a fellow CBC Member, Congressman Andre Carson, comes to South Florida and claims that some in the Tea Party would love to see black Americans 'hanging on a tree.' It is appalling to hear another CBC colleague, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, say 'The Tea Party can go straight to hell.'
"As Chairman of the CBC, I believe it is incumbent on you to both condemn these types of hate-filled comments, and to disassociate the Congressional Black Caucus from these types of remarks. Otherwise, I will have to seriously reconsider my membership within the organization," West wrote.
"As a member of the CBC, I look forward to working with you to help end this practice. All of us, especially Congressman Carson, Congresswoman Waters and others who have engaged in racially motivated rhetoric, should follow the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not the example of Reverend Jeremiah Wright."
And Timothy F. Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, said Wednesday that the civil rights abuses and crimes of the Jim Crow era were carried out mostly in regions controlled by the Democratic Party. He decried Carson’s comments as “outrageous, hateful, and desperate,” adding in a statement: “When some Democrats can’t win a political disagreement, they normally resort to race-baiting, which is in itself racist.”
Deneen Borelli: Carson "absolutely should resign,” Borelli said. “This is very dangerous, the comments that he made."
Deneen Borelli, an African-American tea party speaker and a fellow with Project 21, a network of black conservatives under the auspices The National Center for Public Policy Research, called for Carson to resign.
“This is absolutely outrageous for him to say these kinds of comments, especially considering what position he holds in the Congressional Black Caucus,” she told Newsmax. “This is someone who is supposed to be showing a leadership role, and instead he is inciting racial tension in our country.
“With these harsh economic times, high unemployment, and especially in the black community where unemployment is much higher than nationally, this is the last thing anybody in his position should do . . . it is grossly irresponsible on his part.
“He absolutely should resign,” Borelli said. “This is very dangerous, the comments that he made. We should also be looking for [Rep.] Maxine Waters to resign, the comments she made as well. I find it grossly irresponsible for these individuals to make these charges, these claims. What they’re trying to do is keep blacks on their liberal plantation. They don’t want individuals to learn about free market and personal responsibility, because what else would these people be doing?”
Other reaction to Rep. Carson’s remarks:
Kevin Jackson, author of “The Big Black Lie” and founder of TheBlackSphere.net, tells Newsmax that Carson’s remark will give him “street cred” in the black community. “Of course, if you walk around in the black community and say ‘the tea party can go to hell,’ you get cheered,” Jackson says. “Now, any reasonable person would say if a group has been around for three years, and you’ve been experienced what you’ve had in the black community for decades, you shouldn’t be blaming the tea party . . . That’s the level of absurdity that we have, where these guys can point the finger at some obscure specter, some notion: ‘They’re the reason for the demise of the black community.’ As if the tea party is going secretly at night and doing drive-bys in the black community, impregnating black kids, and foreclosing on black homes and kicking people out.”
Singer/songwriter Lloyd Marcus, who performs at tea party events and describes himself as a “proud unhyphenated American,” wrote to Newsmax in an email: “I am a black man who has been embraced as a brother, a fellow lover of freedom, liberty and America. These rallies have nothing to do with race. Many tea party attendees even voted for Obama. They are not opposing Obama's skin color. They are simply saying ‘no’ to his socialistic agenda. The CBC knows this to be true. Obama's record is so horrendous [that] false charges of racism is their desperate tactic to re-elect Obama. Sacrificing national black/white race relations is considered acceptable collateral damage to these vile, evil people. Absolutely despicable.”
The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the South Central L.A. Tea Party, demanded that both Carson and Waters apologize immediately. “Carson and the CBC want black Americans to forget about the racist legacy of the Democratic Party by falsely portraying the tea party as 'racist,'” Peterson told Newsmax in a statement. “Let us not forget that most of the segregationists of the past like Sen. J. William Fulbright, Gov. George Wallace, Sen. Robert Byrd, and Al Gore, Sr., were all Democrats. The CBC's town hall meetings have been nothing more than political pep rallies to motivate the Democrats’ base by blaming the tea party for President Obama's failures. 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 Democrats’ plantation."
Tea party speaker Rev. C.L. Bryant, the founder of OneNationBacktoGod.com and the creator of the forthcoming documentary “The Runaway Slave Movie,” which is scheduled for release later this year, tells Newsmax of Carson and the CBC: “This is the only card that they have left to play. And that is a very sorry and tragic card they’re playing right now. Not only are they trying to divide the country along racial lines, but they are also trying to divide the country along class lines. And when you divide the country along those two lines, the result is usually violence. And violence usually leads to some type of chaos. The design of the [Saul Alinsky book] “Rules for Radicals” is to create chaos, and that’s exactly what’s going on.”
Johnson, of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, recalled how Democrats protested vitriolic rhetoric following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“Thusly, Rep. Carson and CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver should swiftly denounce these hateful statements and following through on what they advocated for back in January.”
Borelli said she sees Carson’s comments as part of an ongoing, “desperate attempt” on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus to “cover for President Obama’s failed economic policies, and also the failure of their leadership.”
Grass-roots leaders beyond the black community criticized Carson’s remarks as well. Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo, for example, told Newsmax: “We know that we are winning the battle against the liberals when they have totally stopped addressing the issues and resort to outrageously false and negative attacks.
“There is no political or moral justification for the excessive spending and skyrocketing national debt. That’s why you hear the Democrats tell conservatives to tone down the rhetoric, but [they] have no intention of silencing the vicious attacks from their left wing allies.
Tea Party Patriots co-founders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin called Carson’s remark a “hideous slur,” and called for him to step down.
“Rep. Carson should immediately resign from Congress,” they wrote in a statement. “He is clearly not fit to serve. This type of disgusting, hateful rhetoric has no place in our political discourse. At a minimum, he should be removed from leadership in the Congressional Black Caucus, and censured by his colleagues.”