Tea Party Decries Allegations of Racism

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Charges of racism have the Tea Party defending itself against allegations from the country's oldest civil rights organization.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People claims the Tea Party has continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements.

Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at the NAACP conference admonishing the organization to make healthy choices.

Now, the NAACP has its own admonition for America's newest political movement.

For more on these allegations, CBN News spoke with Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition.  Click play for his reaction to accusations from the NAACP.

Racist Leaders?

"We have no problem with the Tea Party. We have a problem with the Tea Party tolerating racists in their ranks," NAACP Chairman Todd Jealous.

Two thousand delegates unanimously passed a resolution, calling for the repudiation of racist Tea Party leaders.

The NAACP points to last year's heated health care debate in which some protestors carried questionable signs and accusations that someone yelled the "n-word" at members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Tea Party activists want the resolution withdrawn. They say their main issue is fiscal conservatism, which draws a diverse cross section of Americans.

"I've been involved with the Tea Party with awhile, and I have not known or seen anyone within the Tea Party advocating this kind of behavior. We are totally against racism," Tea Party member Leah Herron said.

Palin's Defense

The resolution caught the attention of former Alaska Governor and conservative queenmaker Sarah Palin, who called the charge false and appalling.

"The NAACP is once again using the divisive language of the past to unfairly accuse the Tea Party movement of harboring racist elements," she wrote on her Facebook page. 

Even some African Americans are coming to the Tea Party's defense.

"They're not racist. I like tea partiers. Do you know why? Because they're a group of American citizens with no leader except their own conscience," Congressional candidate Charles Lollar said.

"To dismiss or somehow discredit the Tea Party as being a bunch of racist kooks is a losing hand because the Tea Party represents mainstream Americans upset with politics at this moment," news analyst Juan Williams said.

But the the NAACP disagrees. Jealous said after his speech a black member of both the Tea Party and the NAACP thanked him for speaking out.

"He had begun to feel uncomfortable in the Tea Party and wants to ensure there will always be a space for him in both organizations," he said of the member who spoke aout. "I assured him there will always be a place for him in the NAACP. Dick Armey and the leadership of the Tea Party need to do the same.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.