Martin Luther King III, the son of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., declared Friday it's important to keep the dialogue open with political opponents, including the tea party.
But his inclusive point of view appeared to visibly shock MSNBC's "The Cycle" co-host Touré Neblett, a video of the interview posted on Mediaite showed.
Story continues below video.
Appearing on the program as it was shot on location in Atlanta as part of the network’s "Growing Hope" series, the co-host asked King if he thought "the moderate Democratic Party does enough to earn the overwhelming support that it gets for black people?"
"Is it taking black people for granted in a way?" he asked.
King said that the answer to Touré’s question is "yes," adding "the party does not do enough. We're not a monolithic people."
King said it’s also the black community’s "responsibility to hold the Democratic Party accountable."
"While I happen to be a Democrat, I think it’s important for African Americans to be Republicans," King asserted. "I think it’s important for African Americans to be independent. Uh, I’ll say this kinda — I also think it’s important to be engaged with the tea party."
"Why would it be important for us to be engaged with the tea party?" a baffled Toure asked.
"Because the only way you can change — the only way you can change is you have to be at least communicating," King answered. "If there’s no communication, you just let someone have an agenda."
He also explained his father would often meet with white people who were opposed equal rights for blacks to make sure there was a dialogue.
When another host asked if the tea party’s problem with President Barack Obama is based on his policies or "something else about him," King said, "It’s probably a combination of things. But certainly the policies are the mask."
"Right now, we are dealing with race issues constantly in this country," King said. "And why we choose to run from them as opposed to confronting them head-on is always a mystery to me."
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