Talking Race at the Tea Party Convention
by The Opportunity Agenda, Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 12:16:57 PM EST
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.
Although this is a blatant and particularly despicable example of racism, discrimination and unequal opportunity does continue in more subtle ways. The Opportunity Agenda has created a memo setting out 10 principles that can help facilitate productive communications on racial justice problems and solutions. Read it here.
Equal opportunity is a core national value, and Americans strongly believe that it should not be hindered by gender, ethnicity, race, or other aspects of who we are. While the election of President Obama marks an incredible milestone in the progress we’ve made as a nation, we still have miles to go.
Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.