Al Sharpton on Tea Party: "There Clearly Are Some Racial Leaves In Their Tea Bag"

Race hustlers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson jumped into the NAACP-tea party controversy today.
Sharpton told reporters, “There clearly are some racial leaves in their tea bags.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, addresses the media during a news conference at the 101st annual NAACP convention as NAACP President Ben Jealous, left, and Rev. Jesse Jackson look on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP/Ed Zurga)

The AP reported:

The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton sought Wednesday to steer attention away from an NAACP resolution condemning racism within the tea party movement, saying focus should remain on jobs and an upcoming march in Washington.

Jackson deflected questions about the resolution at a news conference during the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Kansas City.

“We will not be diverted or otherwise distracted by any other message except putting America back to work,” Jackson said a day after convention delegates approved the resolution. “We want jobs and justice and peace.”

Sharpton was a little more direct, saying issues surrounding the tea party go beyond claims of racism. He said the civil rights movement sought to pressure the federal government to step in when states were enforcing segregation laws, and the tea party’s focus on states’ rights puts people at risk.

“They talk about restoring dignity. They are really talking about restoring a time before the federal government intervened and protected the rights of people,” Sharpton said.

He noted Arizona’s new law that directs local and state law enforcement to take on federal duties by questioning people about their immigration status, after they’ve been stopped for another crime, if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the U.S. illegally.

“There clearly are some racial leaves in their tea bag,” Sharpton said. “But this is not just about race. It is about how you see government.”

…Mark Williams, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express, said Wednesday it was unfortunate that the NAACP has chosen to “profiteer off race-baiting and fear mongering” when it could be doing so much to help the black community.

He also questioned the motives of Sharpton, Jackson and NAACP officials, suggesting they were taking advantage of the publicity the resolution generated.

“I’m not surprised they are jumping into the fray here because the NAACP just tapped a Gulf oil well full of cash contributions that will arrive from this resolution,” Williams said. “And I know Al and Jesse want their piece of it. The slave traders of the 16th century should have been as good at exploiting Africans as these people are, because it’s just disgusting.”

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