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Just as NAACP delegates were debating a resolution Tuesday afternoon condemning racist elements within the Tea Parties, one NAACP member complained that there were reporters in the room even though it was supposed to be closed to the press. At this point, a live webcast broadcasting the event (which I was watching) was cut off.
When I contacted the NAACP press office earlier in the day, a spokesman at first insisted that I wasn’t watching a live broadcast, but in fact a rerun from last year, or the night before. After the webcast got cut off, I called again, and a spokeswoman was startled that anything would have been broadcast online, reiterating that the resolutions process was supposed to be closed to the media. They seemed genuinely caught offguard, and promised to get back to me while they investigated what was happening.
Before the webcast got cut off, I was able to get some sense of the working language in the draft resolution. To be clear, a lot of this language was being debated before the webcast got cut off — one reason, no doubt, that the NAACP prefers to wait until it has the final language before releasing any details on resolutions.
But from what I saw on the screen, one provision said that “Some Tea Party members have used racial epithets and verbally and physically abused African-American congressman and others, and have been charged with making dangerous threats against duly elected public officials…”
Another line of the resolution called the Tea Party movement a “threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all.”
The working draft concluded:
“BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP call upon all people of good will specifically but not limited to all political parties and human rights organizations to publicly repudiate the racism and expel the racial instigators of the Tea Party, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.”
One delegate raised objections to the word “expel,” arguing that it would violate free speech rights, while others debated whether they should use the singular Tea Party or refer to Tea Parties plural. There was also an effort to include the language “some,” to prevent people from interpreting it as an attack on all Tea Party groups.
I’ll update this post when I have more.
UPDATE: The Kansas City Star reports the resolution passed.
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