Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are Part of Black History Too

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

It might surprise you to hear me say this, but I believe this statement to be fundamentally true: While most of us think of Black History as a celebration of black achievement and the recognition of meaningful historical figures, the reality is that the Tea Party Express, Sarah Palin and other peculiar figures in the Right Wing are a part of black history as well.

Black History is not just a collection of names, dates, places and faces. It also tells stories of triumph for people of color as we've worked to achieve equality in a society that was trained to hate us. In order for us to have heroes, there must sometimes be a deadly villain.

In the past, those villains have been the Ku Klux Klan, slave owners who didn't want us to learn how to read, men like Bull Connor and even the federal government itself. As black people have had to fight for what is ours, we've often had to confront those who worked overtime to sabotage, distract or even kill our greatest heroes in the struggle for Civil Rights. The Tea Party and their associates, for right or wrong, are perceived by millions of African Americans to be a continuation of the legacy of Civil Rights villains who will be written about in Black History textbooks for many decades to come.

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