Moral Low Ground

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Arkansas Conservatives Cheer Ozark Tea Party Leader Inge Marler’s Racist Joke

Conservatives gathered for a meeting of the Ozark Tea Party cheered a member of the party’s board after she told a blatantly racist joke on Saturday.

The Baxter Bulletin reports that Inge Marler, a board member of the Ozark Tea Party, addressed Saturday’s rally in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She opened her speech with this racist joke:

“A black kid asks his mom, ‘Mama, what’s a democracy?’

“‘Well, son, that be when white folks work every day so us po’ folks can get all our benefits.’

“‘But mama, don’t the white folk get mad about that?’

“‘They sho do, son. They sho do. And that’s called racism.’”

Marler’s joke was met with hearty cheers and applause. No one spoke out against it in any way.

Ozark Tea Party founder Richard Caster said Marler’s joke was in “poor taste.”

“I was caught off-guard,” he told the Baxter Bulletin after the rally. “I wish she [Marler] hadn’t said it. I am sorry about Miss Marler’s joke.”

Marler also expressed regret when pressed by the Bulletin, saying she found the joke on the internet and should have focused on everyone who “bleeds red” when slamming what she calls “welfare abuse.”

Although many Tea Party leaders have tried to convince America that their movement is not rooted in racism, there have been many overtly racist signs seen at Tea Party events. While these may represent a small fraction of the movement of millions, there is also evidence of widespread racial resentment among Tea Party supporters.

A 2010 survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality found that Tea Party supporters were 25% more likely to harbor racial resentment. For example, fully 73% of the survey’s respondents agreed with the statement that “if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.” Only 33% of those who oppose the Tea Party believed this.

And a 2010 New York Times/CBS News poll found that white Tea Party supporters– nearly all of them– were more likely to believe that “the Obama administration favors blacks over whites” and that “too much has been made of the problems facing black people.”


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