Talking Race at the Tea Party Convention

A unique challenge faces advocates for meaningful dialogue on racial inequality and injustice in America. As people of color have made even modest gains in education, economic security, and professional opportunities over the past few decades, some Americans have increasingly insisted that racial discrimination is largely a thing of the past. Today that sentiment is more widespread and vocal than ever, with the election of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president.

A shocking example of remaining racial inequality took place at the first ever National Tea Party Convention. Former Representative from Colorado, Tom Tancredo decried "the cult of multiculturalism," and argued that President Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."

Mr. Tancredo had to know that literacy and civics voting tests with impossible answers were notoriously used to prevent African Americans from voting during segregation—and were banned by the Voting Rights Act of 1964.

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