UPDATE: We may have identified “Chris” and will be updating as the story develops…
On Larry King the other day, Ben Jealous, president of the national NAACP, stated the following:
“I had a black tea party member from Texas, who is also an NAACP member, come up to me after my speech, put his arm around me and say “Thank you. I know there’s space for me here. I’ve been active in the tea party. In recent months I’ve begun to feel uncomfortable. I’m glad somebody like you is speaking out so I can stay active in the tea party and there’ll always be a good space for me.”
In the interview, Jealous continually calls out Dick Armey for his “silence” on the matter, as though Armey were the Commander in Chief of the movement, a movement that actually operates with many leaders rather than one national figure. It’s easy to understand Jealous’s confusion; it’s difficult to speak intelligently about a subject when one knows little about it. Has Jealous attended any events, and seen the movement for himself? We humbly point Jealous to any number of analyses of the problem with that argument, but we also decided to focus on the more pressing issues.
Jealous’s charge that tea parties do not “speak up and speak out” about racist members and state “there’s no space for racism in the tea party” are just absurd. Here at Houston Tea Party Society, we’ve dealt with our own pet “nutjobs” from Day One. DAY ONE. Yes, at our very first tea party event in February of 2009, this piece of work strolled in with his awful sign, attracting the lone media camera and sentencing us to an eternity of disassociation. We dealt with him on that day, expelling him from the event. We dealt with him again when he bought up all manner of DBAs to “corner the market” on local names of organizations. We dealt with him yet again when he started agressively billing himself as the Founder of the Tea Party. We couldn’t create more “space” between us if we tried, and this has been documented time and time again.
In the interest of tracking down the truth, members of tea parties from around the nation started tracking down the details of the story. If indeed a member of one of our groups had concerns, we were eager to hear them, and work with them to air the differences and find a solution together.
So some investigation by Texas tea party members elicited from the NAACP national office that the name of this person was Chris, and that he was from Houston, but a call to the Houston NAACP resulted in their obvious confusion, and an admission that they had not heard anything about the issue, nor did they know the individual’s identity.
Calls to some other local groups in the Houston area were met with the same report; none were able to report the existence of an active, or even formerly active, African-American member named Chris in any of their ranks. To be fair, not every group in the area has had a chance to respond, so the search goes on.
This is getting to be more difficult than Where’s Waldo. Eventually you DO find Waldo.