Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Are Tea Party Conservatives Racists?


Posted on Friday, March 26, 2010 by Deb Phillips | 2 Comments 

FOR THE LAST TWO DAYS, I’ve wrestled with what to write about the latest charges of racism and bigotry being leveled at the Tea Party movement. If you’d like to read more on those allegations, please search online for the alleged racial and homophobic epithets made by a few Tea Party protesters on March 20, 2010 toward Congressmen Lewis, Cleaver and Frank.

A Few Thoughts on the Allegations

I decided not to spend time recounting those charges, for two reasons:

  • Oddly, there is no video or audio corroboration of the racial epithets, even though video cameras were rolling during those moments.
  • More importantly, if those incidents did indeed occur, it’s still wrong to misconstrue a few isolated incidents to the entire Tea Party movement, which has clearly proved to be a peaceful, cordial, yet spirited movement involving hundreds of thousands of Americans — if not millions — from all walks of life, of all ages and all colors.
A Capitol Hill policeman engaged in crowd control at the 3-20-10 Washington, DC Kill the Bill Rally

A Capitol Hill policeman stands on alert during the March 20, 2010 Washington, D.C. Kill the Bill Rally that was attended by various Tea Party groups. Despite some isolated, though uncorroborated accounts of racial epithets being directed toward several black congressmen, the Tea Party rally was peaceful, yet spirited.

A Few Words of Precaution for Tea Party People

During the time that I covered the March 20, 2010 D.C. Tea Party, I came across a man and woman from Code Pink who were clearly there to stir up things. Unfortunately, they succeeded in drawing the unruly reaction they were looking for — in this case, “the finger” — from one Tea Party attendee, a young woman. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to occur to the Tea Party woman that she was being set up.

When I later reviewed my photos of that encounter, the Code Pink lady was looking directly at me with a smile on her face at the very moment the “emphatic gesture” occurred. She probably thought she’d just scored a big photo in a publication. But fortunately for the Tea Party woman and the movement, I wasn’t part of the mainstream media and would not be using that photo as propaganda against the Tea Party.

Hence These Precautions for Tea Party People:

  • SETUPS: Be alert to possible setups during Tea Party events by those who wish to paint the Tea Party movement in a bad light. At the minimum, allow any such conspirators their right to free speech, and simply ignore them. If possible, alert event organizers of the presence of such individuals.
  • SIGNAGE: Tea Party people should also be mindful that much of the mainstream media are looking for protest signs that can be construed as racist, vulgar or “extreme” in some way. Express your views, certainly, but try to avoid signage that will only be used against you and the Tea Party movement.


I’ll close today’s article with an audio slideshow. Because I was busy taking photographs during the March 20, 2010 Tea Party, I unfortunately did not capture much audio. Nevertheless, I put together an admittedly short audio clip that contains about 30 photographs that capture some of the spirit of the event.

Yes, some loud chanting can be heard, but it’s “family friendly.” Enjoy!

Audio Slideshow

[NOTE: If you’re reading this article from a FEED READER, you may need to CLICK on the following link in order to view the slideshow directly from the website: Are Tea Party Conservatives Racists?]

Visit the Photo Gallery

The edited collection of 145 images is available for online viewing in the 03/20/10 Washington, DC Tea Party photo gallery. Just CLICK on the “Slideshow” link on the gallery’s menu bar, and then sit back and enjoy a view of the Tea Party movement that has been denied by the mainstream media.

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About Deb Phillips
Deb Phillips is a freelance photographer and writer based in Lewisville, NC (USA). In addition to reviewing Deb's documentary coverage here at, check out her inspirational photo blog at and her personal photo portfolio at Deb Phillips Photography, where Art & Life Converge.


2 Responses to “Are Tea Party Conservatives Racists?”
  1. Jone Reid says:

    Deb, thanks for pointing out traps that can be set when large groups gather. I was there and didn’t hear any racial comments. If it happened, obviously it was a very few people. I think fellow protesters around those who supposedly made the racial slurs would have come to the defense of the one attacked. The people I saw at this rally were very polite and respectful of others. We were there to say ‘No” to the healthcare bill, not physically attack a person.

  2. Deb Phillips says:

    You’re right, Jone. Tea Party people are focused on the issues that are of great concern to them. We’re not the ones who include name-calling as a strategy for “winning.” That would be the “progressives” who need to shut down legitimate debate in order to force their Constitution-shredding agenda upon America.

    I’m glad you made it to the DC Tea Party rally — plan for more. Thanks for your comments.

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