Wednesday, May 05, 2010

And they said we wouldn't make it. My experience with a White Male Tea Party Member.

Loyalty to country, always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. ~ Mark Twain

A few weeks ago I met a member of the Charlotte NC Tea Party. It was by accident because I don’t randomly go around meeting Tea Party members. I always thought I would meet a porn star before running into a tea party member. I actually didn’t realize he was a tea party member until after I met him. Let’s rewind it back to how we met.

I was at a Crossroads Charlotte event concerning the state of our city. I was making an attempt to get out and meet people. In retrospect, I should have kept my behind at home. It was a downer of an event. No offense to Crossroads Charlotte because they put on a good event. It was the subject matter that bothered me. I spent my night listening to Charlotte officials telling us how broke we were.

Side Note: Top officials in education and local government have either taken raises or decided not to cut their salaries.

So after all the presentations, we sat around in groups coming up with solutions. I went on my usual rant about politicians being on the take……blah blah blah blah. I know they said they wanted solutions but screw that. I think we need to put a foot up in someone! Or we can just vote people out of office (for the non-violent types). The Politicians in my group (i.e. all of the Republicans) liked that kind of talk. They were big on cutting taxes and holding people accountable. And to be truthful, I like the sound of that as well. We also had the HWIC (Head Woman in Charge) of our local Public Broadcasting Station in our group. She was soliciting signatures to help save her station. Yep! We are so broke we can’t even keep PBS open.

So the rest of the group consisted of my wife and some crazy cat lady. She looked like she slept in a clothes basket, woke up and put on whatever was in it. She kept talking out of turn and pissing everyone off. And she looked like she combed her hair with pine cones. But I digress…. We didn’t come up with any solutions but I met people that I normally don’t come in contact with. I signed a petition for PBS (I’m a sucker for Ken Burns Documentaries). And I took a card from Corey Thompson, candidate for Mecklenburg County Commission At Large. He told me to call him so we could talk about the issues. He seemed like a nice guy and he was a school teacher in the hood so he couldn’t be too bad. Two weeks later I checked his website and that’s when I learned about his Tea Partying (is that even a legitimate word?). Citizen Wifey didn’t like that at all. She is a registered Democrat and I am an Independent. I use to be a Democrat but if you read previous posts………….well that’s another subject for another time. Anyway, I wondered why a nice guy got hooked up with a group like that. I only really knew about the tea party from what I saw on television. When most black people think of the tea party they think “CRAZY IGNORANT WHITE FOLKS.” And it doesn’t help when they have racist signs and crazy people on the tell-lie-vision.

But recently we have found out that the Tea Party members aren’t as crazy as they appear. It appears they are educated and make a good bit of change. Lex Luthor was also educated and paid so they are in good company. I have been debating on whether or not to call Thompson. I have some questions regarding his membership with the them.

1. Why are they so upset with the Government now when we have been on a downward spiral since the last president?
2. If they are a legitimate organization, what’s up with all of the racism?
3. What do you co-workers think about your Tea Party affiliation?

Sometimes I get curious and I want to know more about this dude. Finding a tea party member is like discovering a Yeti. But on the flipside, I might talk to him and want to punch him in his face. Oh, okay…it probably wouldn’t be like that. But I don’t want to get involved in a Rush Limbaugh type conversation. I dislike when racists try to convince you that they aren’t racists. They will say something like “I have plenty of black friends!” My response - “Your maid doesn’t count dummy!!!!” Or maybe I might find out this guy isn’t as bad as his group is advertised? He might have reasoning to show why his cause is just and true. I just wonder where was this party when Dubya “The Decider” (he of the “wire taps and debt to China” set) was in office? It could go either way because you really never know a person. People can tell you what you want to hear and if you are dumb enough you’ll believe it.

As of Today, Thompson was in 3rd place after 100% of the precincts reported their votes. It looks like he will make it to November’s General Election. Now he will really be under the microscope. If people don’t know about his tea party affiliation they will now. And his Democratic challengers will make sure everyone knows.


Quintessence said...

the one thing in common these people have is extreme benightedness. what belief system do they subscribe to? absurdism?

Citizen Ojo said...

Quintessence - Thanks for coming by. You are getting ready to see come November when they rally around their candidate. It should be real interesting.

Freckles said...

Why not have a conversation after all what doyou have to lose. You may gain some valuable insight that you may not have seen otherwise. One conversation will allow you the opportunity to step outside of yourself. So, why not?

Citizen Ojo said...

Freckles - You are always so thoughtful. I'm still thinking about it....

Freckles said...

thoughtful, Thank you and since you are still thinking what are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow…I really don’t know where to begin.

I guess I’ll start by stating that I’m the guy that you wrote the article about.

I’d like to offer a DISCLAIMER that I AM NOT the person in the picture you decided to attach to your article (above). Talk about trying to use imagery to paint a picture. That is not me, and to be quite honest, I highly doubt it’s even a picture from a Tea Party.

My friend, it was very nice meeting you at the meeting that night. I’d agree, the discussion in our group was a little bland, but I enjoyed sharing a few laughs with you. We seemed to hit it off well, and my offer to grab a cup of coffee still stands. I never realized that offering you my card would result in an eventual accusation of racism.

Let’s begin with a question: why would I ever offer you my handshake, my card, or my good name if I were the awful person that your article paints me to be? It really doesn’t make any sense. Think about it.

Your article also leaves out some very important facts about me…and the Tea Party movement.

First, I never once used any phrase about “teaching in the hood.” My EXACT description to you was that “I PROUDLY teach at an inner-city school,” where I have been for the past 4 years, and where I have built a very solid relationship with my students, their families, and the surrounding community. My students and their families represent a multitude of races and cultural backgrounds. I have consistently been recognized by the faculty, staff, and student body for my commitment to servant leadership. I head up the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and I was selected by the students last year to spearhead the school’s Diversity Council. I’d bet that my kids and colleagues know me a lot better, and would be willing to stand with me against your insinuation.


Anonymous said...


Next, I’d like to introduce you to a few good friends of mine, who will also be happy to vouch for me in defense of your defamatory article.

First, there is Lenny McAllister ( Lenny and I have gotten to know each other quite well over the past 18 months. He is one of the premier up-and-coming black leaders in America, and I am humbled to call him friend. Give him a call and ask…also ask him if he has ever spoken at a Tea Party (hint, he has…at SEVERAL of them). A black speaker at a Tea Party? I guess you didn’t find any pictures of that.

Then there is Dr. Tim Johnson, Vice-Chairman for the NC Republican Party. He too will happily stand with me against your claim. Send him an email, he’ll tell you what he thinks about me…and trust me, it’s nothing like what you claim. He too has spoken at the Tea Parties, and yes, he is also black.

Or maybe, how about my good friend Chris Hailey? ( Contact him.

If those aren’t enough, feel free to contact these:

Dr. Ada Fisher (A very dear friend of mine)

Representative Pearl Burris-Floyd (Another good friend who will happily set you straight on where I stand)

Here’s something ironic…most of them have spoken at Tea Party rallies before. McAllister and Johnson gave stirring speeches here in Charlotte at some of our Tea Party events, and you can add Mason Weaver to the list as well.

I tell you this to discredit your claim about the Tea Parties and racism. Come on, do you really think that’s what they are all about? Seriously?


Anonymous said...


Perhaps now would be a great time to let you in on a few secrets…

One, in addition to being a Tea Party guy, I am also a proud member of “The Frederick Douglass Foundation.”

Furthermore, had you done your homework on me before posting your blog, you would have realized that although I am a member of the Tea Party, I was recently endorsed by Charlotte’s Black Political Caucus. Here’s a link to that endorsement:

Let me be clear, your blog post, while it's your opinion, constitutes a slanderous attack on my character. You paint me as a racist because I am involved with the Tea Party movement. You could not be further from the truth.

Let me ask, have you ever been to a Tea Party event to see with YOUR OWN eyes what goes on? Or, do you just trust Google images to help you get material to write about?

The Tea Party is not a racist movement. It never has been. Sure, you probably get one or two whackos in EVERY crowd, but couldn’t the same be true for other groups as well? Think about it.

Yes, there is a lot of anti-Obama sentiment that goes on at Tea Party events, but they never stoop to any form of racism like your article implies. There is your answer to question #2. There is also anti-Nancy Pelosi, anti-Harry Reid, and even anti-George W. Bush sentiment in those crowds.

As for question #1, most Tea Partiers (myself included) are fed up with how all of our leaders (Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama), along with the Congress, etc have led our nation down the path to where we find ourselves today.

On question #3, most of my coworkers only know about the Tea Party by what they see on TV (like you). They’ve asked questions, and some remain skeptical. However, they see me every day, and they know what kind of person I am inside and out. And despite the Tea Party guy that I am (ooohhh, scary), we are very close friends and colleagues. I believe that speaks volumes.

My friend, your blog post is misguided, and your assumptions are wrong.

Making wrong assumptions about someone (or even a group of people) without knowing all the facts, or truly knowing the person/people…hmmm…you just can’t get any more bigoted than that.

You have my phone number. I look forward to that cup of coffee…and to happier discussions when my credibility isn’t trounced on the blog posts you have written for all the world to see, leaving me little chance to defend myself against false accusations and misguided assumptions.

Let’s get to know each other. I think you’ll find out that I’m nothing like the whacko your “Google” picture above implies.

All best,

Corey Thompson

Anonymous said...

Mr. Thompson:
I read this blog post (not a news article) twice. And I don't see you as being painted as a racist.
I felt as if the author of this blog post (not an article) was surprised to meet a Tea Party Member who wasn't what the mass media portrays them to be.
Your offense at this blog post and need to pull all your black friends out of your pocket, shows me that you may have some issues you need to work out.

Tiffany said...

Most of the people that we see on tv use the movement as a way of being allowed to hold up there stupid signs. The news media focuses in on the oddball and we then they are "red neck cousins to themselves". It the same thing when black folks are protesting something and the media hones in on mister ignorant, which makes us cringe when watching the 6 o'clock news.

Peace, Love and Chocolate