Members of the Project 21 black leadership network strongly disagree with President Barack Obama's contention, as reported in the new book "Family of Freedom: Presidents and African-Americans in the White House," that the tea parties are motivated more by the color of Obama's skin than the content of his agenda.
"As a keynote speaker at numerous tea party events around the country which has allowed me to meet tea party activists from all walks of life, I know it is Obama's progressive politics and not his race that motivates these patriotic Americans to protest our nation's slide toward socialism," said full-time Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. "By engaging in race-card politics, Obama shows he is willing to follow the lead of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to ignite racial tension as a means of maintaining power and furthering his agenda."
In "Family of Freedom," by Kenneth T. Walsh, it is written that Obama, responding to a private dinner guest in May 2010, agreed there is a "subterranean agenda" in the opposition to his presidency that is rooted in race.
Project 21's Borelli added: "By stooping to this level, Obama is discrediting his position as our nation's leader."
"Repeating the discredited assumption that race rules the tea parties is the action of a scoundrel and not befitting of a president," said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie. "For him to wallow in the gutter with charlatans who spurn honest debate for scurrilous name-calling is demeaning to all Americans and sends the wrong signal to all those who aspire to free and open political debate. With so much of the world embracing open discourse, it is a shame our President seemingly wants to cling to the discredited tactics that offended so many abroad."
On Feb. 28, Massie engaged in an "empty chair debate" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to refute similar allegations about the tea party movement and race made by establishment civil rights lobbyists Al Sharpton, Marc Morial and Walter Fauntroy.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research
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